Tiny Tasks – Big Results, Day 6 A list you can check twice!

   Lists, lists, lists and more lists.  That’s what the holidays come down to, how to manage the long lists of things you need to do.  Today I want to talk about your Gift List.  With holiday sales starting earlier and earlier each year, keeping track of purchased gifts can be overwhelming.  Here’s a simple solution for taking control of that Gift Shopping List (GSL).

  Start with a small notebook. Once that will easily fit in your handbag or pocket.  I love the Moleskine (3.5″x 5″) notebooks that can be purchased at bookstores like Barnes and Noble or at office supply stores like Office Depot.  The thing I love about them is their “thin-ness”.  Because they don’t have a spiral binding or a book type binding they are pretty flat and easy to carry.  They also have perforated pages, so when the season is over you can pull out the pages easily.  The one I’m using this year is the same one I used last year.

Step 2 – Create “sticky note” tabs for each major category of shopping.
   These might be individual people or groups of people.  For example, each of my children have their own tab, as I buy the most for them.  Then I have a tab for; FAMILY, one for FRIENDS, one labeled HOSTESS – Little things that are appropriate for taking to a holiday party, one for SERVICE – these are people like Teachers, Postman, UPS Driver, etc.  My last section is tagged with a “?”.  This is where I keep a list of things that I’ve purchased that have yet to be assigned to a recipient.   This doesn’t mean I’m out buying “willy-nilly” items, it means that I found something that would be perfect for more than one person.  As I get closer to Christmas, I’ll assign the gifts and/or return some of them if I’ve found something better.  This little section is GREAT if you’ve forgotten someone or need a gift sooner than you had anticipated. 

Step 3 – Controlling your list information
  Some gift lists are easy to manage.  Hostess, Service, etc – these generally include one name, one gift, and no need to “hide” the gift in the process.  Create a “code” list on the inside of your notebook. I use a pretty simple series of letters to identify where I am in the process with each gift:
P = Purchased
W = Wrapped
D = Delivered
S = Shipped
  If you spread your gifts around the house for storage, you may want to include a note as to the location of the gift.

   With kids, I use one side of the page for “Gifts” and one side of the page for “Stockings”. 

Step 4 – Storing your purchased gifts
  If you can keep all of the gifts you don’t have to “hide” in one place it will make things much easier. I use labeled boxes in the garage that follow my “tabs” FAMILY, FRIENDS, HOSTESS, SERVICE, etc.  If you have room in a spare bedroom or closet that’s even easier.
 With gifts I have to hide, I use two large boxes in the garage.  One is labeled “Baby Clothes” the other is labeled “Travel Stuff”.  I actually use these boxes all year for things I don’t want my kids to find, birthday gifts, Easter treats, etc.  Max is my youngest, so all of his things go in the Baby Clothes box, London – obviously gets the things in the Travel Box.  This system has worked well for years.  If something is too large for the boxes – like a bicycle or skis, I usually leave those at my office until Christmas Eve.

List Tips –

Try to leave a line or 2 between each entry in your gift list – this will provide extra space if needed.

Write in pencil.  I try to keep a mechanical pencil clipped to my list.  That’s another benefit to using the thin Moleskine notebook.

If keeping track of your spending/budget is important to you, add a column to each page and/or a section to the back of your notebook for an easy reference. I assign a budget to my kids pages for both Gifts and Stockings.

I hope your holiday season is getting off to a smooth start.  I’d love to hear how you’re applying these organizing ideas and others to your life.  Please feel free to share a comment and to share this post with your friends and family.
Thanks so much for stopping by today!

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