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Welcome to Green Boot Camp blog, a 52-week program to help you become a greener you in 2008. This is the companion blog to The Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Week 32--Start Thinking About Stocking a Gift Closet

Will back to school about to get into full swing here on the East Coast--and already back in session in many parts of the country--I'll guarantee that you'll find school supply sales galore. I'm sure this has a lot to do with the fact that retailers are forecasting a soft back-to-school shopping season. But that shouldn't bum you out. No, this is a great time for you to think about stocking a gift closet back-to-school and end-of-summer items. In fact, a gift closet is your task for this week on Green Boot Camp.

What's a gift closet? It's a place in your home, be it a closet, shelf in the garage or drawer in a dresser, where you keep onhand gifts that you might need at the last minute. These kinds of gifts would be hostess gifts, thank you gifts, children's gifts and more.

Some of my other favorite items to keep in a gift closet include bags of whole-bean coffee, savory bottles of olive oil, picture frames, bottles of wine, and serving or decorative bowls. For kids I'll get games, puzzles and anything having to do with arts and crafts.

Around the holidays I add bottles of wine and boxes of chocolate, which I keep in the refrigerator. But they serve the same purpose--should I need a last-minute gift to bring to a party or a dinner to which I've been invited, I don't need to hop in the car (wastes gas) to get to the store and make a purchase I probably can't afford. No, I stock up when things are on sale and in one trip so I'm saving gas.

OK, so at the end of the summer, what cool things might you find for your gift closet?

* Stationery store items, such as notecards, writing journals, and arts and craft supplies
* Summer/pool accessories, such as beach towels, goggles or inflatable pool toys
* Housewares or home decorations, such as candles and greenery.

Soon enough the stores will be overflowing with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas items. And once each of these holidays has come and gone, I would recommend taking a day to stock up on those seasonal items for next year's gift closet.

Let me know what kinds of ideas you come up with for your end-of-summer gift closet.

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