After reading my post on Gift Wrapping Alternatives, a reader asked me where I kept all of my wrapping stuff, which reminded me of a post I had thought about writing a long time ago and forgot about. I first started thinking about it when reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette which talks about this very thing.
I talk a lot about how you’ll spend less money if you reuse ziploc bags, save old clothes for rags, keep boxes for shipping packages and reuse gift bags, but some may wonder where the saving of stuff stops being a good idea and turns into hoarding. As any of my regular readers know, I live in an 8 by 32 foot travel trailer with just a small shed outside. Space is a big (or rather little) issue. I used to try to keep most containers that came in our house. I liked to use them for all kinds of things. I have popcorn kernels in a Sam’s Club Parmesan container, tacs and paper clips in baby food jars, and I kept glass salsa and pickle jars in case I ever made gifts in a jar for Christmas. But it didn’t take me long to realize I couldn’t save every single yogurt and salsa container that came into our home. Most of the things I was saving were just in case I needed them some day, and in the meantime my shed and cupboards were getting fuller and fuller. I finally decided to be pickier about the jars I saved.
I also had this problem with cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes are great to have on hand. I like to use bigger boxes for storing things and usually have a box in our shed that I fill with items for Goodwill. I like smaller boxes for shipping with, it saves money not having to buy a new box every time I need to send a package. But it didn’t take long for our shed to get way too full. We already had boxes of winter clothes, tools and our washer and dryer in there, then when I started adding mountains of empty boxes it just got cluttered and harder to work in. So now I only keep bigger boxes if I need one at the time and small boxes are only kept if they’re in really good shape.
As far as gift bags, ribbons and wrapping paper, if it’s in bad shape I will throw it out, but on the other hand they don’t take up that much space, especially
if you lay the bags flat.
I have a little drawer where I keep scrap paper. Paper that we printed something only on one side, junk mail with something only on one side, ect… I like to have this paper handy for Gracia to color on or for me to make lists with, however I have personally drawn the line at saving old envelopes to write lists on because I have enough scrap paper without them, and don’t want my scrap paper drawer to overflow.
So I guess the moral of the story is do what you think is best for you, with the amount of space you have and the likely hood that you’ll actually end up using whatever it is you’re saving.
How do you decide what to save and what to toss?