How to Organize Wrapping Paper Supplies

Unorganized gift wrapping supplies can take over a room.
Unorganized gift wrapping supplies can take over a room.

Clutter is one of those things that can sort of creep up on you. You might not even notice it until you look around and suddenly realize you can't see the surface of any table, desk or bookshelf in your home. Wrapping paper supplies can be some of the main culprits -- especially during the winter holidays. Rolls of paper, tape, tags, pens, bows and ribbon can take over a table, a closet -- sometimes even the floor of a whole room -- in less time than it takes to say "Ho Ho Ho!"

There are many potential benefits to getting your wrapping paper supplies in order. For one, you may feel more relaxed. It can be stressful to wade through a bunch of half-used wrapping paper rolls every day to get to your closet. Also, getting organized might save you some time. Instead of digging around in the mess for awhile to find what you're looking for, you should be able to go directly to the supplies you need to wrap a gift. A couple of minutes saved when you are already running late to the holiday party can make a difference.


Additionally, getting that wrapping paper out of the way could help make your house cleaner overall. After all, it's a little difficult to dust a cluttered surface or vacuum a covered floor[source: Life Organizers].

Organizing your wrapping paper supplies can potentially save you money, too. Every time you buy a roll of wrapping paper or tape because you can't remember what you already have or where you put it, you're spending money unnecessarily.

For ideas on how to start organizing your wrapping paper supplies, read on to the next page.



Taking Inventory of Wrapping Paper Supplies

Many organizing projects begin the same way -- by playing a little game of "keep or toss."

Here's how you play. First, clear all the wrapping supplies out of their various hiding places. The basement, closets, the attic, garage, the cabinets over the washing machine, desk drawers, dresser drawers -- you get the idea. Make a pile of all the supplies you've gathered [source: Constable].


Now, take a minute and assess what you have. Start removing anything that is unusable, like wrapping paper that is too crinkled, bows that are unraveling and tape dispensers that are out of tape. Either throw these things away or put them in the recycling bin. This is the "toss" part of the game. Consider every item in your pile. Is it a keeper? If not, toss it.

If you find items you used while you were wrapping one time but they really belong somewhere else (those sewing scissors you've been missing, maybe), return them to their proper place.

After you've purged your supply pile of the things that don't belong, try taking inventory of what you have. It might help to make a list. How many rolls of holiday wrapping paper do you have? How many other types (birthday, wedding, graduation)? Make another list of things you need to buy. If you have 20 rolls of holiday paper, but no birthday paper, you may end up wrapping your kid's next birthday party gift in paper that says "Joy to the World." The supplies you typically need are wrapping paper, clear tape, bows, ribbons, pens and markers, gift tags, gift bags, tissue paper, and scissors. If you are low on any of these, add them to your list. When they go on sale, you can stock up [source: Constable].

Keep reading for ideas on how to sort and store all your wrapping supplies.


Sorting Wrapping Paper Supplies

Now that you've taken inventory of the wrapping supplies you have and made a list of things you need to purchase, you can think about how you want to sort them.

For example, you could sort your supplies by how you want to store them. You may want to keep a minimal supply including generic wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, tape and scissors in an easily accessible place, such as a bedroom closet. This will make life easier when it comes time to wrap gifts for occasions such as weddings, baby showers, birthdays and graduations. Then, you can keep the holiday-specific wrapping supplies in a different, perhaps less accessible, place, like a basement or attic. Another idea is to purchase holiday gift wrap that can be used for several occasions. Solid colors work well. Red can be used for Christmas as well as other holidays, such as Valentine's Day. Gold and silver can be used for nearly any occasion, especially holidays, weddings and anniversaries. Blue paper with a silver ribbon may feel like winter, but with red ribbon it could be perfect for your nephew's first birthday, too [source: Thomas].


You also may want to sort your wrapping supplies by their use. For example, place all the rolls of tape together, all the bows together, and all the tissue paper together. It is a good idea to store similar items together so you can reach for just the one you want, without having to hunt through a random assortment.

Once everything is sorted, you'll be ready to pack it into a container of some kind. There are several options to choose from. For some practical ideas, read on.


Storing Wrapping Paper Supplies

Now that you've sorted through your wrapping supplies, the next step is to choose a container or containers for them. Whether you store your holiday supplies separately from your other-occasion supplies depends on how much wrapping you typically do at the holidays. It may not be practical to keep all of your supplies on hand, especially if you've already stocked up for next Christmas with many rolls of clearance sale gift wrap. Keep that in mind as you choose the perfect container option for your supplies.

One style of gift wrap organizer is the type that hangs in a closet. These have a hook at the top and zippered pockets for the different types of supplies you will need. This is an excellent idea if you wrap a lot of gifts during the year. Just keep it in the back of your closet, and move it to the front when you need it. Scissors, tape, paper, gift bags and ribbons can all be kept there for your convenience. A similar option is to use a hanging garment bag. Rolls of paper fit inside, and smaller pockets can be used for the ribbons, scissors, tags and tape [source: Thomas].


A variety of tall and skinny or long and flat plastic organizers are also available. The tall, skinny type may fit nicely in a closet, while the long, flat type usually can slip under the bed without much trouble. Many products have inner compartments in which to keep smaller items [source: The Container Store].

If you do a lot of wrapping, you may want to store your gift wrapping supplies near your "wrapping station." A travel toiletry bag can hold your smaller items such as tape, scissors and tags, while a tall trash can works as a home for your larger items, such as rolls of paper or large gift boxes. When you're not using them, you can keep these things in a nearby closet. When you want to set up your "station," you can pull them out [source: Good Housekeeping].

For more tips on organizing your home, visit the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Links

  • Chua, Jasmin. "Reuse Leftover Wrapping Paper." Planet Green. (Accessed 1/19/10)
  • Constable, Paula. "Wrap It Up! How to Organize Your Wrapping and Gift Supplies." Self (Accessed 1/19/10)
  • Good Housekeeping. "Create a Gift-Wrapping Station." (Accessed 1/19/10)
  • Life Organizers. "10 Little-Known Benefits of Getting Organized." (Accessed 1/19/10).
  • Shipshape Organizing. "Benefits of Getting Organized." (Accessed 1/19/10)
  • The Container Store. (Accessed 1/19/10)
  • Thomas, Geralin. "How to Organize Holiday Gift Wrap." Fine Living. (Accessed 1/19/10),1663,FINE_1404_5739850,00.html