Present organisation - for the whole year!!!!
Ever find yourself losing track of what you have bought and for who? I do…all the time!
Keeping track of who you need gifts for throughout the year can sometimes seem like a major task. Even after reducing our present giving when we had children, keeping track can still be a total nightmare. It probably won’t surprise you to know that I’m one of those people who likes to buy throughout the year when they see things that they think are ideal for people - especially (yes I’m not ashamed to say it) in a sale!
With Christmas getting ever closer it’s the time when lots of people start to think about what they might get others for Christmas. Not me (oh dear!) I finished my Christmas shopping last week, but then I’m not really like most people when it comes to Christmas organisation - I do tend to prep out of season and then just enjoy the festive time when it arrives. One year I’m determined enough to be so disorganised I can actually make use of black Friday deals!
So a few years ago I designed my own little system for keeping track of all the gifting throughout the whole year. It is nothing more than a glorified list to be honest, but I keep it saved on the computer so that I know where it is and I can alter it easily without there being lots of crossing out. It frustrates me when there’s too much crossed out and lets face it I no longer have the time to rewrite this list multiple times throughout the year. Life is far too busy for that!
I like rows and columns to see things easily (it works well for my brain) but you could always change it to suit your needs. If you like this version I have put a downloadable link at the bottom of the page.
Here is what it looks like; let me talk you through it.
The first column I started with was the list of people who we buy for. The next columns to add on were the occasions for which we buy presents, for us being Christmas and birthdays. We also buy small gifts from The Coffee Beans for key family members, so I added in a column for each occasion too.
Some of the sections you’ll see are shaded in grey and if that's the case then it means we don’t buy a present for that person for that occasion. We don’t buy presents for my sister in law and brother in law at Christmas time - we all have children and decided a few years back that we would use Christmas to concentrate on buying for just them.
I also group the people in same families or same family status together so brothers and sisters next to each other, and grandparents for each side next to each other. This helps me keep track and we very often tend to buy similar things for them so it makes copy and paste ideas easy!
Lastly there is a large section for each of my Coffee Beans and that is specifically for Christmas. I start by putting in the present that they want from Santa (or that I think they might want - it's digital so its easy to change!) and then I add in all the things that I buy throughout the year on the following lines. I try and group on the same line presents which either cost a similar amount or are of a similar type so that I can keep track and make sure that it's fair and one doesn’t end up with loads more than the other. Obviously as they get older this will change, as I’m sure big Coffee Bean will start to ask for things that are more expensive than little Coffee Bean, and so there will start to be multiple presents against one larger present. For now they are still only young and small enough that that doesn’t affect us.
At the end I like to put a section for stocking stuffers. I try not to buy what I can only refer to as ‘tat’ for the stockings. I like to put in things that are useful but that's a whole different post that I will leave for another day!
My only other little hack is that if there is something I know I want to get but haven’t purchased yet (probably because I’m waiting for a sale on it) then I also write it on but highlight it in a different colour, usually red so that it stands out. When I look at the list it's then a reminder of what I still need to get, because otherwise I forget, and its a great way of noting down when someone says something in passing about something that they’ve always wanted. The other year my mother in law bought me a sugar thermometer for Christmas, which I have literally wanted since I was 16 and never bought. We’d had a conversation about it months before and I’d not even thought anything of it but she’d noted it down and I was so excited to get something I really wanted!
So thats it, my basic system of how I keep track of what I buy. The only key to making this organisation work is making sure that you actually write in when you purchase the items - I sometimes forget and I then I end up having to sort through the present bag! Other than that I just copy and paste a new list each year into a new document and change the date. Then I just delete all the items and I'm ready to start again, simple and doesn’t take ages to do, just what I like!!
Full example copy link https://static.wixstatic.com/ugd/b3fb7c_8e6179efdc9a483ea98570f7989a0d2b.pdf
Blank copy available to download