Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Organized
Welcome to Gifts and Giving Week! It's the time we focus on gift lists, gift buying and gift wrapping.
A recent poll at our site shows that gift-buying wins out as the "biggest holiday organization challenge". During Gifts and Giving Week, we'll give you the tools to get on top of the gift list. Hint: more lists!
For many families, gift-giving is a prime source of holiday financial stress. We'll divide and conquer, spreading gift-buying over a four-week period, and tracking our purchases. Goal: a bountiful, yet sensible holiday free of the bust-your-budget credit card trap.
Ready? Let's get organized for great holiday gifts and giving!
To Do This Week
- Divide entries on the master gift list into five groups. Continue shopping for Christmas gifts, and try to buy one-fifth of the gifts this week.
- Start a stocking stuffers list. Tip: slip shopping bags over a coat hanger to store stuffers by recipient.
- Divide the Christmas card list into five groups. Write and address the second group this week.
- Review and renegotiate adult gift giving. Can you simplify your family's "unwritten rules? Draw names and set a price limit for a gift exchange. Could your family dispense with adult gifts in favor of gifts to charity or family service project?
- When making gift lists for loved ones, make life easier the rest of the year by adding a birthday/anniversary calendar to your Christmas planner.
- To ensure delivery, finish all catalog and online shopping. Print our catalog / Internet order tracker to keep on top of catalog purchases.
- Use a three-hole punch to add a large manila envelope to the Christmas planner notebook. Place all receipts in the envelope to track purchases, provide for returns.
- Mailing deadlines ahead! Set up a wrap and mail center to ease holiday mailing chores. You'll speed gift wrapping and parcel mailing with supplies all in one place.
- Swapping with friends is a great way to share holiday gifts, crafts and decor. Will you swap with other members of online communities? Track swaps with free printable swaps directory and swaps tracker forms for your Christmas planner.
- List all gifts to make, and inventory them on a gifts to make list. Be stern! Make your list and cut it in half--there's less time than you think. List needed materials and add them to the master shopping list.
- Begin working on "to make" gifts this week. You must make one-fourth of your gifts each week.
- Plan Thanksgiving Dinner using the holiday menu planner.
- Order the turkey.
- Schedule family service projects, or sign up for church charity efforts.
- Complete holiday scheduling. Reserve baby-sitters for December's nights out.
- Keep tight tabs on the holiday budget. Add gift purchases and other expenditures as you make them.
To Read This Week
- In Praise of Simple Gifts
Ponder the true nature of giving.
- The Unwritten Rules of Gift-Giving
Get a grip on the rules that guide gift-giving assumptions. Does your family observe the same rules?
- The Three Cs of Catalog Shopping
It's the best of all worlds: great selection, no lines, no jangling cash registers. Get up to speed for the catalog deluge with tips for catalog shopping.
- Set Up a Wrap and Mail Center
Speed gift wrapping chores with a dedicated space to wrap gifts and prepare them for mailing.
- No More UFOs! Get-Em-Done Strategies for Homemade Gifts
Make this the year you start--and finish!--your handmade Christmas goals.
- Frugal Christmas Cheats: Save Time, Save Money
Cut financial corners without losing the joy? Try these tips for holiday savings.
- Clutter-Free Holiday Gift Strategy: Think Consumable!
Simplicity. Frugality. Great holiday gifts. Find a way to serve all these values with these ideas for consumable gifts.
To Buy This Week
- Continue Christmas gift shopping. Divide the master gift list into five sections. Purchase gifts for one-fifth of the list entries. Wrap gifts as they are purchased. Keep a running total of gift expenditures.
- Buy materials and supplies for all "to make" gifts.
- Gift wrap, wrap and mailing supplies