Do you have a present cupboard at your place? Over the years I have developed a whole present “system”! Today I’m going to share this with you.

Yes, I do have the present cupboard alive and well over here but it’s changing a bit as the kids get older.

First of all, though, your present cupboard doesn’t have to be a whole actual cupboard.  Mine is a cupboard but it’s also used to store other things, not just presents.  You could use a box or a shelf. I store (among other things like sewing gear and backpacks) the wrapping paper, ribbon, scissors, sticky tape, etc, in with the presents.  So it becomes a whole present station!

Present cupboard

When our girls were in Kinder and early Primary School, I would keep an eye out for toys and even clothes (eg, nice tops or skirts) on sale. I would buy a few things that I thought would make good presents and stash them away in the present cupboard. Whenever the girls were invited to a birthday party I would select some appropriate items from the present cupboard and set them out on the floor. Then my daughter would come in and go “shopping” for her friend. This worked so well because it allowed her the freedom to choose things for herself within the boundaries of suitability and budget!

Now that my girls are older, they don’t get invited to as many parties…usually just their closest friends.  It has become more difficult for me to buy gifts in advance because my girls have ideas of their own about what they would like to give each friend. So now it is more cost effective for me to just buy the presents as required and take my daughters shopping in the actual shops! We brainstorm gift ideas together and it turns into a fun afternoon out and about at the shopping centre for us.

If I find things on my travels, I do still buy gifts for family and put them in the present cupboard for birthdays and Christmas. So the present cupboard is still a happening thing. When I buy something for someone specific, I put it in the present cupboard and then write the item on “the present list”. This present list is the secret to keeping the present cupboard under control.

The present list

I keep a present list. This is simply a piece of white A4 paper. At the top of the page I write the year. Then I write the names in order for every birthday and anniversary present in the year (I just go through the calendar). I try to remember to add new occasions and babies each year. Upon buying a present for a specific person I write it on the list next to the relevant name and then put it in the present cupboard with a little label on it (so that I don’t accidentally give it to someone else! ). After the birthdays I have a section for Christmas where I list everyone I need to buy for so that I can fill in the presents as I buy them. This list has been very helpful in a number of ways.

Let me give you an example:

My niece’s birthday is coming up. I start to wonder what to get her…..maybe new pyjamas? But then I get the funny feeling that I might have given her pyjamas last year,or perhaps for Christmas. Well, I don’t need to wonder for long. I just go into the present cupboard and consult my list. I can look back at the present list from last year, even the year before to check what I gave her.

Another handy use for the present list:

Now that my girls are past the stage of playing with little kid toys, it is amazing how quickly I forget what they were into at what age. So my God-daughter is turning four. What should we get her for her birthday?  I consult my present list and go back to when my girls were four and look at what we gave them at that age. I know all kids are different and toys change over time, but it’s a good rough guide.

Present list

I find boys super hard to buy for (simply because I have girls!). The list is a great help for guiding me in buying for boys. I just look up what I bought for other friends or family boys at the relevant age.

The present list is also good inspiration for when I just can’t think of what to buy someone. To see what I have bought other people in the past is sometimes enough to give me a few ideas.

If you have a present cupboard at home I hope I have given you some new ways to stay on top of things and keep it organised. It’s easy for the present cupboard to get out of control. And if you don’t have one already, you really must have a present list to go with your present cupboard.

Trina xx

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2 thoughts on “The present cupboard

  • October 8, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Love hearing about how you do this type of thing, Trina! I don’t have a lot of presents I have to buy, as both sides of the family do big family presents. On one side, each adult is given a niece or nephew to buy for and then they spend $50 in one go, so the present is more worthwhile. On the other side, each couple says at the start of the year how much they can give per child. As each birthday approaches, we just designate someone to buy the present, and then at the end of the year, we sort out any discrepancies (people who underspent or overspent over the year).
    Oh, and that god-daughter of yours sounds amazing! 😉

    • October 9, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Your transferring of funds system sounds pretty good to me! I know lots of families do this sort of thing and I like it because good presents are expensive! Thanks for your feedback Katrina.


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