It’s officially shopping season — and most parents are buying holiday presents for their children; their curious, inquisitive children who turn into expert detectives this time of year. The last thing you want to do when coming home after a day of sales shopping is to figure out where to hide presents. But, you know you want to make sure your kids (and maybe your spouse) won’t find them. Take some time now, before you head to the mall, to determine your hiding strategy.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Out of Reach

This is easiest if you have small children. You can put presents in high cabinets, tops of closets, or in parts of the house that the kids can’t access.

If you have older, more industrious kids or even teenagers, consider keeping the present away from the house altogether. Is there space in your workplace to hide presents? What about asking a friend or neighbor to hide your presents at their house — and offering to do the same for them? Maybe your spouse has a car with a large trunk. Maybe you can put the presents there, hidden among sports equipment?

Where Kids Fear to Tread

You know that there are certain things that your kids avoid like the plague. Those are probably great places to hide presents. The laundry room is a good place to start, as is the closet or cabinet where you keep all the cleaning supplies. Does your attic or basement have a “spooky” corner with little light and lots of weird shadows that scare your kids? That’ll do just fine.

If you want to be really creative, hide presents in with your financial paperwork or out in the garage with gardening supplies. What kid is going to look in a box marked “mortgage documents”?

In Plain Sight

This is your opportunity to really get tricky. Those suitcases in the back of the hall closet that only get pulled out for summer vacation are probably empty and a great place to stash stuff. The back of the filing cabinet is also a good spot, especially if it has a lock on it. Another idea: once you put up your artificial tree and all the decorations, you can stash presents in those now-empty boxes.

This last suggestion only works if your kids are above the age of expecting presents from Santa. Just go ahead and wrap them and put them under the tree right away. You may not be able to stop the kids from shaking them and guessing about the contents, but at least you won’t have to waste time sneaking around to hide and then later retrieve them — or worry about forgetting where you hid them!

What hiding spots work for you every year?

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