Organizing gift wrapping supplies

Tubes of gift wrap are cumbersome and always find a way to cause a mess. If you don’t already have a designated storage system for your gift wrap, then you may want to consider putting one together or purchasing a pre-made system.

I use the Gift Wrap Organizer (pictured), which has served me well over the years. I hang it in my office closet and only pull it out when I use it. I purchased tape and scissors specifically to be stored with the gift wrap so that everything is in one spot when I need it.

I keep five tubes of wrapping paper in the storage sleeves: One roll of heavy, plain white (for wedding and anniversary gifts), two rolls of holiday paper (one with a snowman print and the other a solid gold), a conservative stripe (for father’s day and male birthdays), and a neutral with polka dots (for mother’s day, female birthdays, and baby showers). If I had children, I would probably have a sixth tube of printed, youthful paper. In the front pockets I have stored bows, ribbons, and clear scotch tape. The side pocket holds a pair of scissors. The top back pocket holds white, cream, pink, and blue tissue paper. Finally, the bottom back pocket holds 10 gift bags in varying sizes (most of these are recycled from gifts people gave to me).

I found other pre-made systems that would work well, too:

Keep gift wrap from causing a mess in your home with a self-made or purchased organization system specifically designed for this purpose.


This post has been updated since its original publication in October 2007.

49 Comments for “Organizing gift wrapping supplies”

  1. posted by SpiKe on

    Some thoughts:
    1) Gift wrapping supples are cheap, why not – where possible – just buy what you need and bin the rest?
    2) Depending on your space, choose rolls or folded up packs of wrapping paper. I personally can place rolls in the corner of my storage cupboard. However folded packs of paper are perfect if you only have drawers for storage.
    3) Pay someone else to do it! There are plenty of companies that will wrap your gifts for you now.

    Organize IT

  2. posted by Nora Rocket on

    1. because that’s wasteful, and some of us try to avoid wasting for reasons including but not limited to making better use of our money, being environmentally thoughtful, or just hating to waste. And…
    3. No, because that’s bougie.

    I wrap in old newspapers, comic books, paper sacks with stamps on them. Mere minutes more than wrapping paper, more personal, and re-use to boot. I know that not everyone’s gift recipient is okay with getting less formal paper–but sucks to them, I say!

  3. posted by Tamer on

    Why not skip the wastefully wrapping entirely?
    Buy/re-use gift bags. I keep a bunch of them, most given to me with gifts, folded flat in a box.
    It’s also much quicker also!

  4. posted by Marie on

    All the time I was reading this, I was thinking, “Isn’t it a bit early in the week for Unitasking Wednesday?”

  5. posted by Anna on

    here’s someone who made their own…check it out!


  6. posted by Anna on

    All I could think about after reading this post is “you have got to be kidding me!”

    Buying storage for storing things that clutter up your home to being with? Isn’t it easier to have your item gift-wrapped in the store? Do you really need 5 tubes of gift paper?

    This post should be published in the separate blog with a name like “clutter-up” or something. 🙂

  7. posted by Erin at Unclutterer on

    @Anna — I make most of my gifts. I’ll knit a pair of socks for my grandmother or a baby blanket for an expecting friend, and unfortunately there isn’t a store that wants to wrap what I didn’t purchase there.

  8. posted by Jon King on

    I have conducted a lot of in home research and encountered a variety of ways to deal with this issue. Based on all of that, this solution appears to be a fairly innovative way to deal with the left overs and extra’s. Especially in apartments and smaller footprint scenarios. People buy a lot of wrapping supplies when they are on sale or when they see something that just strikes them as a “must have”. I have also seen things sorted by event (Christmas, birthday, his, her, etc.) Again, I think this is a easy way to “contain” the tools need for the task in a portable kid friendly fashion. Thanks for highlighting it!

  9. posted by Jenny on

    Is it just me or is there a whole lotta judgement going on with the giftwrap storage?

    Lighten up, people. Some of us are actually into the ritual of wrapping (and unwrapping) gifts we’ve put thought into buying. What’s not to like about efficient storage for the things we choose to have in our lives?

  10. posted by Jeri Dansky on

    At the risk of enraging those who are anti-gift wrap, here’s another option:

    I’m not much of a gift wrapper myself – I use reusable bags more than anything, and they can be stored pretty simply. But even I have a container for the few rolls of gift wrap I do have.

    And some people really enjoy creating beautifully wrapped gifts. I have a friend who is a master of this, often using recycled items like the fronts of beautiful cards. I’ve been the recipient of some of these wrapping masterpieces, and I love getting them; I’ll delay opening the boxes for days so I can just have them around to admire.

  11. posted by JB on

    I really enjoy making beautifully wrapped gifts. I don’t have time to make hand-made gifts, but I feel that if I spend a little time on the presentation, I’ve put a little bit of myself in the gift than just buying it. This is especially true at Christmas, when gifts are left out for longer periods of time, and my family (and me) can really appreciate the beauty of a pile of lovely coordinated gifts.

    I actually own an old Rubbermaid Wrap and Craft standing organizer, and while I like that it protects my wrapping paper from dust and dents, I find everything else about it annoying. The lid is hard to manage, the accessory compartment is too small to be useful beyond a pair of scissors and some tape, and it tips over easily. If it was something I used more frequently (I usually wrap a lot all at once, and then nothing for a month or two), I’d get something else.

  12. posted by Joyful Abode on

    Honestly, my solution for gift-wrap clutter is this: I only use brown shipping paper to wrap presents. I jazz it up with satin ribbons… which only take up one shoebox in my closet.

  13. posted by Anna on


    I understand a need for this if one of your hobbies happens to be giving hand-made wrapped-up gifts. We all have hobbies that create some amount of clutter.

    But it’s still somewhat surprising to me to see a post about how to organize it all neatly (with a SEPARATE scissors bought just for the occasion of gift-giving) rather than a post about how to have less of wrapping-related stuff to begin with.

  14. posted by thisisbeth on

    I agree with JB. I own the rubbermaid Wrap and Craft, and find it annoying. It actually is too short to handle some longer rolls of wrapping paper I own, so they’re currently sitting in my vaccuum cleaner box. And there’s not really enough room for bows and labels and stuff in the top compartment.

    I like wrapping presents when I have time and space to do it. I think this is an excellent solution. (I’d like to narrow down my wrapping paper to two or three rolls and use ribbons and bows to make things prettier. That’s a goal, but for now I’m going to try to use up what I have, which has been purchased during after-holiday clearances. I try to get the non-Christmasy stuff, so I can use it either all winter or all year.)

  15. posted by Erin at Unclutterer on

    @Anna — Unclutterer’s motto is “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Instead of having all of the items strewn about, why not have a place for gift wrapping? One of the benefits of an organization system is that it can help to keep clutter in check and numbers in control, too. If your organizer only holds six rolls of wrapping paper, then you aren’t tempted to buy seven even if there is a sale on wrapping paper. I like to wrap gifts, so I use a small amount of storage space for organized gift wrap. Conversely, I have no love for fingernail polish, so you can’t find a single bottle of it anywhere in my home.

    My ownership of the separate scissors is a personal choice. I am really bad about putting things away if there is more than 30 seconds of effort involved. If I get scissors out of my desk drawer to use to wrap gifts, the odds that those scissors will make it back to my desk drawer are not favorable. However, can a pair of scissors make it back into a little pocket on the side of the gift wrapping organizer? Yes.

    Have you read our website’s philosophy statement? It will probably do a better job of explaining what I’m trying to say about honoring the things you choose to keep in your home than what I’m doing in this comment …

  16. posted by jehb on

    What about instead wrapping your gifts in reusable lengths of cloth, which are far easier to store, can be multipurposed in the future, and as a result, are more environmentally friendly?

    In reaction to some of the comments above, I should state my bias: the reason I read this blog regularly is that I’m interested in organizing my stuff in order to use fewer resources. Being a disorganized horder for much of my life has been directly related to my consumerism, and I’ve found that a great way to combat both is to evaluate what you’ve got and truly decide if you need more. Want to help your friends and family reduce their gift wrapping clutter? Try asking for handmade food goods which don’t need wrapping, or better yet, a donation in lieu to your favorite charity.

  17. posted by Natasha on

    I love this! I might need to invest in this before the holidays. It’s hard to store all kinds of gift wrapping supplies in a way that is organized. This seems to do the job.

    I don’t think this would quite qualify for Uni-tasker Wednesday, considering it is used for organizing AND it doesn’t take up unnecessary space- it hangs! It will fit perfectly in my hall closet. Then I don’t have to lug a bin of gift wrapping stuff from the attic to my kitchen every time I need to wrap a gift. Much more efficent. Thanks!

  18. posted by Debbie M on

    I wrap gifts with brown grocery bag paper, tie them with cloth ribbon, and tape on weeds from my yard–ahem–flowers from my garden. This is well received, but requires waiting until the last minute to wrap something, which isn’t always possible. I store most of my “wrapping paper” with the paper bags, and then I have ribbons, stickers, and gift bags I’ve received that can be reused in a drawer.

    I like the way Erin has figured out a way to have just a few rolls of wrapping paper for all purposes. When one is running low, you can buy a new role and wrap the remainder of the old roll around it.

  19. posted by Nat on

    I’ve used a hanging organizer system for years. It does keep me from buying more than I can store as well as trying to “reuse” more than I’ll ever need (ie. the occaision specific wrapping from our wedding). Also, having store bought all occassion gift wrap doesn’t mean that I don’t do something creative like use hand decorated brown or butcher paper, newspaper pages. We have rolls on hand so that either me or my husband who is less creatively inclined can wrap things in a hurry. Sorry, I’m not a fan of gift bags (even though they fit in the organizer) unless they’re plain brown or white paper shopping bags with handles or wine bottle size. I’ll never spend money on them, and the ones people give me are always sooooo uglyyyyyy.

  20. posted by Glenda on

    The thing I noticed is that the selection of gift wrap saves a lot of shopping time–you have specific wrap for each type of recipient and don’t waste time there. The idea of just using using brown paper is good too. Sometimes I spend more on the wrap than I did on the gift. I think I’ll get some brown craft paper and satin ribbon.
    It seems that trying to decide where to put things is the main cause of clutter in my house, and this is a great way to cut down on that–to reduce the need to decide. Or perhaps, to make the decision just once in advance.

  21. posted by Karen on

    I don’t give a lot of gifts, so I find that one roll is enough for me. I find that plain gold paper (a dull gold, not too shiny) is great for all occasions, including Christmas, and it works for kids and adults, men and women.

  22. posted by AnnaL on

    I wrap everything in white and dress it up with ribbon. One roll. Also, freezer paper works in a pinch, is cheaper than wrapping paper and comes in its own storage box. The only storage requirement: a small basket for various ribbons.

  23. posted by helix on

    Do yourselves a favor and get your gifts wrapped at the store!

    Also, re-use the fancy gift bags that you receive– don’t even worry if you give it back to the person that you got it from, NO ONE pays attention to that stuff anyway.

  24. posted by MissRae on

    What a great item to have if you are a wrapper like me. I wrapped the entire families worth of gifts one Christmas Eve at the inlaws. I think there were around 103 gifts….this deffinately would have come in handy.

  25. posted by Sheri on

    I have to comment on the Portable Gift Wrap Organizer listed in this post. It is NO good! When you try to stand it up or don’t keep it completly sideways, everything slides all over the place and it just does not hold the rolls of paper well either unless they are packed in there!

  26. posted by Jenny on

    @Sheri — I have the Portable Gift Wrap Organizer (which zips closed) mentioned in this post and I have to disagree with you to an extent. First of all, it’s softsided, so it’s not supposed to “stand up” (unless you lean it against the wall or something). It’s actually supposed to lie flat, so keeping it completely sideways shouldn’t be such an issue. The store description says it holds up to 24 rolls, but those are thin rolls. I’ve been able to keep about 6 regular width rolls comfortably strapped inside without trouble. Normally, 3 Xmas rolls, 2 birthday rolls, and 1 all-occasion roll. Now, I will agree that the rolls can slide around, but only if you don’t strap the rolls in so there’s no extra space between where the Velcro meets and the roll itself. Still, rolls are going to loll about no matter how you organize these things — personally, I’d rather have them lolling about inside a bag than running loose in the closet.

    For me, it’s perfect — I don’t have any closet doors to hang stuff on (they’re all folding doors) and I have precious little storage to begin with. But in one of my apt’s 2 closets I have a top shelf that was put up so high that only flat things can live up there. This softsided organizer is a perfect fit — out of the way until I need it and it holds everything I need.

    Btw, @Anna, I too have a separate pair of scissors that I keep specifically in the organizer for giftwrapping, along with separate tape and separate pen. For me, it’s a huge timesaver. Everything I need is together in one place, so not only do I NOT have to hunt and gather my accoutrements from elsewhere in the house, I also don’t have to make the circuit to put them away either. Like Erin said, if it takes more than 30 seconds to do (actually more like 10-20) it’s likely not getting done. Or, more accurately, it doesn’t get done until much later by which time things have migrated without forwarding address via creative kid, sprouted legs, etc. So, Anna, before you continue upbraiding others for not being you, try accepting that what constitutes “organized” or “uncluttered” is different for everyone.

  27. posted by karry on

    Like many here, I am a wrapper. I bought plain white craft paper from a craft store that I stamp before wrapping a gift and then tie an outrageous bow with wire-edged ribbon on the package. I also keep 2 types of Xmas paper on rolls (one for my family and one for his so when we deliver, there is no checking of labels). I bought a gold club bag from a garage sale for $5 that holds those tubes of paper and wrapping tools. It also has the advantage of being portable if I’m going to a ‘wrapping party’ not hosted in my house. I keep my ribbons separate, as I buy them by the spool from Sam’s or CostCo. They have their own bin, as do the doo-dads that I tie in the bows.

  28. posted by karry on

    edit: GOLF club bag Sheesh. Sorry about that.

  29. posted by teri on

    to avoid storing several different patterns of gift wrap, i keep it simple. i use either white or brown craft paper, which i keep on hand for other uses. i jazz up the gift with pretty ribbons. a few rolls of ribbon on easier to store than rolls of gift wrap. i watch for good sales on ribbon or recycle ribbon from other gifts.

  30. posted by mk on

    i use 2 of these to hold all my rolls of gift wrap (purchased from school fund raisers):

    Plastic bag dispenser:RATIONELL $2.90

  31. posted by Organizing Your Christmas Wrapping Paper | Personalized Christmas Stockings on

    […] has a round up on organizing your Christmas wrapping paper.   Staying organized can be a challenge during the holidays.  Try using one of these organizers […]

  32. posted by Carol on

    When we got the Sunday paper I always saved the comic section for gift wrap. It can be used and then recycled. Now I use gift bags as do the rest of my family and friends. After we open our gifts we usually leave the bag with the giver for reuse. Haven’t bought gift wrap for years. I did enjoy wrapping presents though and think the wrap organizer is a good solution for people who enjoy this way of giving.

  33. posted by PrairieGal on

    Anna – Thank you so much for posting the Pleasant View home made version! I have been racking my brain trying to determine how to make one of the hanging varieties, since the retail one does not seem to be available in my area, and Pleasant View’s is by far the simplest and easier idea. Much appreciated!

  34. posted by Work It, Mom! | A Community for Professional Moms on

    […] loved this round up of gift wrap storage at Unclutterer but even more so I loved this post about the minimalist approach to gift wrap. […]

  35. posted by andi*pandi on

    I like the hanging organizer; however I use under-the-bed storage boxes. I need both christmas and hannukah paper, then birthday, kid, etc. so I need more space. I also have a box for gift bags and tissue, which I use and reuse most of all. It pays to be thrifty, I feel a bit better about reusing stuff, to offset the feeling of wastefulness that comes from stuffing used wrap into the trash.

    If these gift bags overflow their box however, I’m giving some away!

  36. posted by Mary on

    I have a friend who wraps everything in her signature plain brown wrapping paper topped with a pale pink rafia bow. Somehow it looks right no matter the occasion or the recipient and I’d steal her idea if we didn’t both live in the same small town. Her supplies take little space and they are economical.

  37. posted by mercurial scribe on

    Thank you thank you thank you for this post! I’ve always had a problem getting my gift wrap organized and after I read this post, I purchased the pictured system. I’ve been using it now for about a week (it’s birthday season at my house) and I love how easy it is! Thanks for another bright idea!

  38. posted by Style Divas - Best of the Web - November 10th 2007 - Holiday Edition | The Decorating Diva on

    […] as we found this week’s Style Diva blog candidate, “Unclutterer” offering handy holiday organizational tips and great product recommendations that will help you wrap and […]

  39. posted by elrj on

    Doesn’t anyone use the Sunday comics anymore?

  40. posted by Kellie on

    I couldn’t help but crack up reading this. I WAS looking for a cool way to store my mess of gift bags/ribbon/paper galore. Now I’m just laughing because I didn’t realize my gift wrapping rituals were making people angry!!! 🙂 rock. on. But, I AM still looking for good ideas…

  41. posted by jenny on

    What’s wrong with simple underbed storage boxes? They’re perfect – rolls of gift wrap fit perfectly with plenty of room left over for bows, ribbons, and gift bags. I have one underbed storage box filled with gift wrapping supplies. I’m using otherwise wasted space and the plain ol’ boxes are a LOT cheaper than specialty gift wrap holders.

  42. posted by Angie on

    I try to use plain brown paper and gift bags and pretty ribbons. It makes me sad to see a huge pile of non-recyclable gift wrap when it’s done. Still, I have a messy cupboard and a corresponding drawer. Eventhough I feel my problem is that my husband and kids never put anything away, the real problem is that I have too many things and too many choices. This has been a helpful discussion for me.

  43. posted by Sue on

    Or, you could:
    1. Give gifts that dont need to be wrapped (gift cards, money, gifts of time & services)-at least for grownups & teens, anyway.
    2. Take older kids/teens to the mall or store & let them pick what THEY would like (less clutter for them, knowledge that you gave something truly appreciated-doesnt have to be expensive, just thoughtful)
    3. wrap gifts in comics, old magazines, junk mail, newspaper, etc. It’s just going to get torn to shreds, why waste the paper resources making pretty paper for this use only!
    4. Use gift bags, again kind of environmentally wasteful, but there are times you just have to make it look pretty, I know.
    5.At the very least, stop with the tags, ribbons, bows, etc. Isnt the gift itself thoughtful & nice enough that you dont have to impress people with the paper/box?
    6. Buy minimal paper, gift box, whatever, at the time you buy the gift/gifts, so you dont HAVE to store the extra!
    I know this sounds like a rant but I feel SOOOOO strongly about this one! Think what that “gift-wrap storage space” could be used for!(Clothes/sports/filing/work-related stuff, you name it!)

  44. posted by I am not an addict! I can quit anytime I want. « Peppercorns on

    […] So I did some Googling and my new favourite site Unclutterer had the solution. It’s a gift wrapping organiser! And it hangs in the wardrobe! I have to get one of these. Like, HAVE […]

  45. posted by Carly on

    I recently organized my mom’s gift wrapping supplies because it seemed like they were taking up an entire closet, which was ridiculous.
    We got a tall standing container to put the rolls of paper in. Then a 3-drawer container, with one drawer for gift bags, one for folded tissue paper, and one for all the little things – ribbons, gift tags etc.
    Then there’s a big box for all the boxes – we have family in a different country, so we need to have boxes around to mail them presents.

  46. posted by WilliamB on

    Nicely wrapping something indicates you consider the gift or the recipient important, or adds importance to an otherwise small thing. Gifts are like paintings in this way: the frame indicates something about the contents and dresses up the contents as needed.

    I reuse much of the wrapping that comes into my possession: untorn tissue paper, ribbon, fancy bows and nicknaks, and most especially gift bags. The only thing I have to buy is wrapping paper.

    The little stuff lives in a large plastic box from The Container Store. This includes ribbons (secured by paper clips, binder clips, or rubber bands, so I don’t have a mare’s nest of snarles), bows (stored in a bag), nicknacks, the scissors and tape and pen (so I don’t have to hunting and for ease of cleanup), labels, and other small odds and ends.

    The gift bags are in a shopping bag, arranged roughly by size. The baby-appropriate gift bags are clipped together.

    The tissue paper is in one large pile, sorted by color. This is the only part that takes time: rescusing tissue paper from earlier gifts, flattening it out to unwrinkle and check for (big) rips, and organizing by color. The pile is then folded in half so it fits on the shelf. I cover this with an opened -p brown paper bag, and keep the plastic box on top so the pile doesn’t fall down and become a disorderly mess.

    The tubes of wrapping paper are in the closet corner.

    When I need to wrap something, I pull out the box and the tubes OR the bag and the tissue paper. I have everything I need at hand and it’s quick to put away. I’m a lousy wrapper so I need all the help I can get – which is why I like gift bags so much.

  47. posted by WM on

    My gift wrap system is simple and really works for me. I only have one type of wrapping paper – brown butcher paper. I keep up to three different pretty ribbons (typically those wide fabric ones that cost a littl more) on hand and force myself to use what I have before buying something new. Sissors and tape are something I keep on hand anyway, so they don’t count.

    I find that presents look really modern and chic in this packaging and work for all ocasions/genders/ages with the right ribbon.

  48. posted by Samantha M. on

    That Rubbermaid vertical storage container is as top heavy as heck, awkward to move, you lose small things in the bottom of it so have to take everything out to get them & the top falls off all the time. I actually read this article hoping to find a replacement for the one I have.

  49. posted by Teq on

    I buy gift bags from thrift stores and use those for gift giving. Instead of gifts why not give a gift card, they are small and compact and the person receiving it can buy whatever they want.

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