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Saturday, March 23, 2013

M.O.M. - organized gift giving!

*This post is part of a series about getting organized in 2013, 
from our new Moms On a Mission = M.O.M. project , 
see February 2013 posts for more great ideas!*

Organizing your gifts?!
Sounds strange, I'm sure, but really it's something all moms should be keeping track of. With all the birthday parties

Here are a few ideas to get your gift-giving process in order:

Blank cards - A must-have for those random moments when a co-worker's family member died, or when you are invited to a party last minute and want to send a thank you note, etc.I have tons of blank cards. You can find some great deals on or at Christmas Tree Shops for packs of cards.

Have supplies handy - Stamps and envelopes on hand is key. Make sure you have working scissors that are solely designated to your gift wrapping, not the family or kids' scissors that get destroyed or misplaced. Also make sure you always have tape on hand to wrap.

Updated address book - Keep the addresses updated. I write the date too, for those friends who move often so I'm not guessing if this is the correct address or not.

Keep old birthday cards - The last few years I've cut off the front part of birthday cards that wasn't written on for an easy reusable, recycled card for all those buddies your children meet and attend birthday parties for your child's friends.

Wrapping paper and tissue paper - It's good to have tons of it on hand, various colors and themes. If you like ribbons, too, keep some of that in a neutral color for girls and boys gifts.

Save the gift bags! I don't recall the last time I purchased a gift bag. We save them all from showers, birthdays, Christmas, etc. It's silly to toss these out. They are free to you and are a good thing to recycle when you re-use them. I put them together by category - neutral colors, babies, bridal, birthday, etc. so that it's easy to find one you need when you are rushing to a party.

Find some space -Have a closet or shelf to keep gifts you buy. I have a small closet space designated only for gifts. Because we shop for deals, I'll find gifts for people months in advance sometimes. Having a space for these items is key so that I don't lose anything and so they stay in good shape. Finding space to house the gift wrap, etc. is good, too. Keep it all together so you can find what you need easily.

Look for deals - Shop the Target sales for random gifts to have on hand for the birthday party that snuck up on you. They do a huge sale in July and January, marking kids' toys to 75% off in many cases. Keep a few good presents on hand for those random parties you are invited to. Also shopping early allows you to really think about cool gift ideas instead of rushing at the last minute for something quick.

Keep a Pinterest board going of gifts you could make easily, cheaply, and in a pinch so you can go to this board for ideas. It's always nice to give and receive homemade gifts. Keep craft supplies on hand, and the Pinterest ideas you love most compiled together so you can gather them when you are feeling crafty.

Plan ahead to save money and decrease stress. I shop months in advance for Christmas specifically. This helps me enjoy that busy season a whole lot more not having to stress about money or shopping with the crowds. By planning ahead and having a space to keep gifts it helps you feel organized.

Keep a list  - Keep an Amazon wish list, but instead of things you wish to be given, keep it as a list of gift ideas for your family members or friends who you typically attend parties for. I keep an Amazon wish list of items I know our kids will want. This helps when the family ask me what they need/want for Christmas, birthdays, etc. My Mom Brain isn't always working well, so I'll often forget what my son said he wanted when we were shopping one day near his birthday, but when I jot it down and add to Amazon wish list it's easy to send that to family to get for him.

I also keep a handwritten list in my purse or next to my computer desk of the gifts I've purchased for Christmas. It's hard to keep track of all the people we have to buy for (6 nieces and nephews!). It's a good idea to jot it all down so you know if you've purchased enough or need to grab one more thing for someone.

Wrap it when you buy it - I always try to wrap a gift after I've bought it, even if the party is not for a few weeks. That way it's DONE, you don't have to worry about it on the day of the party when you are already busy trying to make it there on time, in one piece, and with everyone looking nice. Wrap it up when kids are asleep and you have a few extra minutes.

Getting your gift-giving process organized is helpful. 
I know it may seem like a small thing, what's the big deal, we only go to birthday parties once a month, I can handle it, etc. but really it makes life happier when things are in order. This is an EASY one to try organizing. If you have not organized any other space in the house yet with this M.O.M. project, try this one. It's easy, won't take long, and will make you feel accomplished in this organizing challenge!

Check out some more ideas for organizing gifts and gift wrap at my Pinterest board, get organized, mama!

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