You’ve got the time to be more organized with your gifts and decorations this year. And by starting now, you’ll be less rushed and enjoy gifting and decorating if you’re prepared for birthdays and holidays in advance. Consider creating or re-organizing your gift & decoration station which will help you keep everything organized and make you more prepared for all of your celebrations throughout the year.
Set limits on spending. Make a list of all of the gifts you’ll need to purchase throughout the year (including birthdays, holidays and gift-exchanges) and the amount of money you can realistically spend on gifts. Write this information down. This will help you stick to your budget as you’re searching for gifts throughout the year. Consider keeping this list with you, either written in your wallet or as a note in your smart phone. Once you’ve purchased your items, store them together so you know what you have. After you’ve purchased your gifts, store them together, so you’ll always know what you have and are ready for gifting.
Shop all year for gifts. As you shop throughout the year, keep your eye open for presents that would be great for friends & family. When you find something that you know will be a perfect gift; buy it. Shopping early is a great opportunity to get creative with your gifts, think about what your friends and family really like and try to incorporate these items into gifts. Shopping in advance reduces stress and allows you to find great deals on the perfect gift. Holiday treat plates for our co-workers? Yes, we already purchased the basics for these and have all of the non-food supplies ready to go.
Store everything together. I’ve turned our office closet into my gift & decorating station. I’m able to keep everything together and easily use exactly what I need for the perfect gift or to keep me on track for decorating our house. You don’t need lots of space though. I’ve used our cupboard under the stairs, chests and tubs. Find what works for you.
Purchase or repurpose storage supplies. Purchase tubs or find containers to store decorations, ornaments, presents and gifting extras. I chose clear tubs for decorations because I like to see what is inside; but I repurposed opaque tubs for presents, antique drawers for gifting extras and an old recycle bin for wrapping paper to make the most of what I already owned. Store like items together and consider labeling tubs and drawers for easy reference. Wrap fragile items in tissue paper, towels or newspapers to protect them.
Reuse items. For birthdays and most holidays, we get tons of presents in gift bags & boxes with fancy tissue paper that are still in great condition even after the gift has been removed. I usually save all of these to use later for gifts that our family will be giving.
Buy items after the holiday. Wrapping Paper, decorations, and seasonal merchandise are always on sale after the holiday has ended. I’d recommend making plans to visit your local retailer after the holiday to purchase items you’ll need in the future (I just did this today, in fact). Buy generic items that can be used for multiple occasions—my Christmas wrapping paper purchases are usually able to double for birthdays.
Useful & unexpected basics. Consider purchasing your ribbon in bulk at a party supply store (about 75% cheaper) and purchase mailing labels to use as gift tags (fun for kids to decorate, versatile and cheaper). You may also be able to wrap gifts in newspapers or kraft paper, use kid-decorated cardstock for gift tags or make homemade decorations like popcorn garland.
Sort through items annually. Each winter break, I sort through all of our items–especially our well-used Christmas decorations and ornaments–to see what I still have and what I need for the upcoming year. By setting a regular sorting date, you’ll be more likely to keep tabs on everything you have, stick to your system, and keep your gifts and budget on track.