Five Tips for Storing All of Your Gift Wrapping Essentials, from Ribbons and Bows to Paper

This expert-approved advice will help you keep your wrapping station neat and organized.

When giving a gift, we all know that it's the thought that counts, but presenting a beautifully-wrapped package makes your recipient feel like you put that much more thought into their special occasion. Curating the ultimate box comes down to having the correct tools, which are easier to use if they are sorted correctly in the first place. To keep all your wrapping paper and accessories bright, rip-free, and ready for any celebration, heed these storage tips from expert gift wrapper Vivienne Anthon of Daily Wrap.

assortment of ribbons in box
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Store items according to size.

Keeping long rolls of wrapping paper in a box can work if you have space under a bed or sideboard, but displaying your favorites keeps them accessible and neat, no matter their size. "A lot of people use dedicated hang-up wrapping paper holders, but I find these are limited to rolls of a certain length—and also, you cannot use them for large, heavy rolls of the paper you turn to all the time," says Anthon. "I prefer to store larger lengths of paper in a roll vertically and stand the rolls upright in a lovely basket or pretty bin." If you pre-cut pieces for wrapping smaller items—jewelry boxes, books, small trinkets—Anthon recommends keeping those neatly pressed; this method also works well for tissue paper. "I store remnants flat between two larger pieces of sturdy cardboard joined at edge only—a bit like a giant cardboard folder," she says. "Pieces from a large cardboard box are perfect. I place the large cardboard folder on a wide shelf or under a bed when I don't need to access it."

Choose your storage spot carefully.

Place your basket or container in a temperate, low-moisture spot, away from windows and damp pockets. "Never store paper near direct sunlight, particularly pinks and reds as these really do fade easily," says Anthon. "I also try to store paper in cool, dry places as paper and humidity do not mix; humidity causes wrinkles and the mega-curl. A garage might seem like a good place, but probably isn't."

Fight the challenges of gravity.

Rolls of wrapping paper stored vertically pose an unpleasant problem: If you don't secure the loose edge, the paper will unroll and wrinkle between uses. Thin holders, like tied twine or rubber bands, create a stress point where gravity pulls the paper on either side, often creating unsightly rips. Instead, suggests Anthon, "hold the paper in place with something that is quite broad, like cardboard inside a paper towel. Cut the roll all the way down lengthways and place it on the paper like a cuff—voila! If you are going to tie something around the rolls, make this very wide ribbon; this will hold the paper in place and also look quite lovely if there are a number of rolls in a basket or on display."

Keep a carefully curated stash.

Organizing your wrapping paper collection becomes much easier if you have less to collate. Anthon keeps seasonal papers packed away with other holiday decorations and maintains a streamlined collection of versatile papers for birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, and thank-you gifts. "I know it sounds counter-intuitive for a gift wrapper, but I actually recommend having fewer, but better-quality papers on hand," she says. "This saves space and clutter and forms the staples, from which a wide range of special occasion or seasonal wraps can be created." Her must-haves? Plain rolls of brown Kraft and white paper—ideal for dressing up with bows, stamps, and ribbons—and a limited number of other designs. "I store by color, because colors can be used as a canvas for almost any theme," she says. "I add in a maximum of three styles: one darker color, one pattern, and one floral, which I change every season with the newest looks. Be quite strategic about this and resist the sale section unless the wrap fits into this framework."

Don't forget accessories.

Keep essential accessories—like ribbons, tags, bows, and scissors—close by and neatly organized. Display rolls of ribbon on a dowel or piece of string for easy access, securing the ends with small pieces of washi tape that don't tear or leave holes in the fabric. "I never pin or stick with regular sticky tape," says Anthon. "I also keep empty ribbon rolls. If I buy specialist ribbon by the yard or piece, I can place it on a roll for storage so it doesn't get scrunched." Anthon makes her own bows on an as-needed basis, but a store-bought stock should be stacked between layers of tissue paper in small boxes; a collection of pretty tags can be organized in an expanding file so they don't get wrinkled or misplaced.

As for tape and scissors, be vigilant about tracking your favorites. "The main issue here is keeping your wrapping accessories in the one place and ensuring they do not migrate into general household use, after which you'll never find them when you need them!" says Anthon. "I always clearly mark my two pairs of wrapping scissors—one for paper, one for ribbon—with fluorescent masking tape on the handles so that it is obvious if anyone else is using them. I met a lady who padlocked her gift-wrapping scissors so they would stay sharp and could not be used by others. I thought this was a bit over the top, but it actually does work!"

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