Special Request: Christmas present storage
A college friend and follower of this blog requested a post on Christmas present storage, both for your own children and others. I've never done a special request, D, but here goes:
First of all, congratulations on having this problem! We also buy presents early; in fact, we shop all year long, both for specific occasions and just to have on hand for the next birthday party invite. We tend to save a lot of money when we aren't under pressure, and the gifts are better also. I have a shelf of one closet dedicated to "in stock" presents. I just use recycled cardboard boxes to hold the gifts, and if it is a specific present for someone I label it (usually just a post-it pinned to the gift or stuck to it's container) with the person it's for and/or the occasion. For my own kids, I keep a separate box for each of them on the shelf. They are really good about staying out of spaces that aren't theirs.
But Christmas is a unique challenge, because I am assuming that the gifts you have bought won't fit on just one shelf. You can't really dedicate a space to holding large gifts one time per year, but you don't want those gifts to be strewn all over every room of your house. Here is what I have done in the past. I hope one of these works for you.
For my kids: Obviously, I want these presents out of sight. Like I said, my kids are pretty good about sticking to approved play areas, and for us, that means out of mom and dad's closets. So, I use the floor of my closet a lot. My floor is usually empty, so I end up just putting the presents behind my hanging clothes. I do sometimes wrap the gifts early so that if they are accidentally discovered, the surprise won't be ruined. I occasionally keep shoes on my closet floor, so if that is the case, I move my shoes to a temporary bin, either by the front door or just out in my bedroom. I have also stored medium sized gifts in the linen closet. Towels make good hiding places, and no one ever goes in there except me and my husband. I once stored a bicycle in our guest bedroom/computer server area. I kept the door locked, and Sam never thought to ask why. My parents once kept a puppy at a neighbor's house, but I doubt the neighbor was too thrilled about it.
For everyone else: I am once again making an assumption on the size of these gifts. I imagine that the individual gifts aren't too big, but there are a lot of them. We are always traveling during Christmas, and the gift giving usually extends over several days. This is where I become proactive. As the presents are bought, I separate them by destination or date of delivery. If they are getting mailed, you can do the same thing. Once again, I apply the labels (after all, it's only September - are you going to remember what goes where in a few months?) and find a different container for each destination/date. Size depends on number of items it will hold, but I tend to use recycled cardboard boxes or extra rubbermaid bins. If I have closet space, I put the storage containers in there, but who has empty closet space waiting for temporary storage? If I don't have closet space, I rope off a little used area of a room or garage. Just make sure it is warm and dry.
I have been known to wrap and package up presents weeks in advance just so they are ready to go. If I just do a couple at a time, it takes away the stress and paralyzing nature of having mountains of presents to wrap.
If you don't have storage boxes or bins, try duffel bags or old luggage that won't be used any time soon. Maybe you won't be needing the 3 foot tall rolling suitcase until Christmas when you travel to see family with all of your presents. In which case, all of those gifts will already be packed. You can roll up your socks and underwear and stuff them into the spaces between the gifts so they won't break during travel. Who needs clothes anyway?
Good luck, D! I haven't said anything earth shattering, but I hope something has sparked an idea in your head. Let me know if you have any questions or if this was helpful at all or a total waste of your time. Also, if anyone else has a specific request for a blog post, this is the part where I tell you to send it to me and I'll post about it. If I have any ideas on the subject, of course.