How Much Wrapping Paper Do You Need?

Posted: August 17th, 2009 | 7 Comments »

As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent a good chunk of my time on vacation cleaning out someone’s house. While I did my best to be patient and supportive, there was one thing that absolutely blew me away – the amount of wrapping paper I found in the attic, the basement, and the closets. It was as if Santa and his elves had moved in 20 years ago, bringing and storing all the paper ever made in the world, inside this house. Oprah doesn’t give away this many presents over the course of 10 years of her TV show – yet here it all was, in all it’s colorful glory. Wrapping paper, as far as the eye could see!

Now, I do understand that clutter of this magnitude can be a disease of sorts – it’s not so much that people want this much wrapping paper, but rather that it’s a hoarding impulse. But imagine all the space that could be saved in your house if you only had 2 or 3 (I have 1, for example) rolls of generic, general-use paper for all occasions! One good roll of colorful, nice paper can be used for almost any event you would ever need it for, and it would eliminate the need for boxes or plastic containers holding rolls from 1982. One roll fits in the corner of a closet taking up barely any space, and it is always at the ready. When it’s almost gone, I buy another. At Christmas, I might have to buy 2 – but I use it all that Christmas and don’t buy any more until next year. I know, I know, I could save money by “stocking up”…but my mental sanity and being clutter-free is worth more than the $1.00 I might save on wrapping paper.

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cc How Much Wrapping Paper Do You Need? photo credit: jared

What is your system for wrapping paper? Do you buy as you go, or buy when you need? I prefer the buy as you need method…but even better than that, you can try to get the family in the habit of using gift bags – they require no paper and can be reused year after year, leaving you with less clutter AND less waste to get rid of! icon smile How Much Wrapping Paper Do You Need?

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7 Comments on “How Much Wrapping Paper Do You Need?”

  1. 1 Vicki K said at 9:09 am on August 17th, 2009:

    Well, we all have to pick and choose our areas, but gift wrapping is a creative expression for some people so I need more than one roll. However, I have started sewing gift bags out of the fabrics I have had for awhile and know I am not going to otherwise use. And, I have been buying a few clothing patterns from the thrift store for 10 cents and use the pattern paper for gift wrap and/or tissue. It gives kind of a vintage feel and looks great tied with garden string. Plus, the pattern envelopes are easy and efficient to store!

  2. 2 David said at 9:38 am on August 17th, 2009:

    That is a really good idea, and I am sure it means a lot to the people receiving the gifts!

  3. 3 skywind said at 11:51 am on August 17th, 2009:

    I can’t stand gift bags. They just seem lazy to me. I have a few rolls of holiday paper and a few rolls of non-holiday paper, with an assortment of ribbons, in an underbed box. Works for me.

  4. 4 Andrea said at 10:20 am on August 18th, 2009:

    I have a RubberMaid gift wrap container in my closet in which I keep a few different rolls of paper, ribbon, tape, scissors, and gift tags. Before I buy paper for any occasion, I check the container to see if I already have something appropriate (my roll stash also includes a roll of plain brown kraft paper which can be dressed up to look elegant or decorated with stamps or stickers for the kids). My rule is that I must not have more rolls than the container can hold.

  5. 5 marci said at 3:06 pm on August 18th, 2009:

    I have a zippered pouch made just for wrapping paper – fits under the bed – and only as much as will fit in it.

    It’s too expensive for me to buy as needed…with a large family and a lot of grandkids, I need a lot of birthday and Christmas papers – plus weddings, birthdays, etc. I buy whenever I find it at a garage sale for 25 cents or less a roll – and even took a whole box once from a free box. I especially like it when I can find solid colors that can be used for anything and everything! I buy the ribbon at garage sales also.

    I also use the comic sections or ad sections of the newspaper occasionally, as well as brown paper bags and craft paper. Sometimes scarfs also.

  6. 6 Tara said at 8:08 pm on August 19th, 2010:

    I haven’t purchased wrapping paper in 5 years. I re-use gift bags that were given to us, or I buy reusable fabric gift bags on This year I plan on learning how to sew so I can sew my own! I hear they’re actually really easy to make.

    When I do use wrapping paper, I re-use old paper. I turn it over and have my kids color and fingerpaint on the white side and then re-use it.

  7. 7 Red said at 9:11 am on August 30th, 2010:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t use wrapping paper at all? If I’m giving a gift that needs to be wrapped, I wrap it in our city’s free alternative weekly newspaper. If I use a bag, it’s a takeout bag from P.F. Chang’s. I realized a couple years ago that NO ONE cares about the wrapping paper. Yeah, it’s pretty, but once they get to the item, they forget all about it. So why waste money on it?

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