How many greetings cards and presents do you buy each year? How many times do you have to run to the shops to grab a last minute gift or card? I have what seems like a never ending list, and while I love to send cards and gifts to people, sometimes it can feel quite overwhelming – and so I decided to try and get organised about the whole process and find an easy way to keep track of cards etc… – and it worked!
This process that I am currently testing out this year hopefully will save money, time and effort in the long run as well – and I’m all for that!
So, to start with, last week I shared how I set up my gift station, which included a place for all my cards:-
As you can see, there are quite a lot!
I have been in the habit for some time now of grabbing cards I like and that are priced well, in bulk when I see them.
If I am in the supermarket I will grab a few cards of differing genres i.e. girls birthday, boys birthday, male and female birthday, blank cards and maybe a thank you/get well etc….
This way I always have a little “stock” in the cupboard to grab when I want to send a card.
The only problems with this method though is that I usually end up with cards I never use as they are not right for who I am sending to, or they are for things that I don’t use that often (no-one has got engaged recently, for example!)
As such, although I thought I was being quite organised, I was in fact creating clutter – arghh!
I wanted a system that ensured I bought the right cards at the right time, and had little waste involved.
Step 1 – Creating a list
So first I went to my Home File and took out the list of Birthdays and Special events that I have in there.
This is a great master list of everything, and I use it to write into my diary any events so that I always can see what’s coming up and send the card/present at the right time – however, I wouldn’t want to carry this list around all the time as I want to keep it safe.
I wanted a list that I could carry around in my purse – specifically one that just had details of events on it that I had to buy cards for – so that I could see at a glance what I needed to buy when out and about.
I therefore decided to write on a sheeting of small labels and use this as my list – you can see on the picture below that I wrote down the date and the event (and if it was needed, who the card would be from i.e. just my daughter) on each label for each person – and I did this for the entire year…
The trick here is that as soon as I bought a card for a specific person on the list, I could take the sticker off and stick it to the cellophane on the card so I would firstly know who it was for when I got home, and secondly, my list would immediately have that person taken off and I would be left only with a list of who I still needed to buy for in my purse.
A simple idea that really works.
Yes, it takes a little setting up at the start of the year – but it saves so much time throughout the year that it’s so worth it!
I also wrote a list for gifts I needed to buy for the year as well – that’s on the orange paper behind (There aren’t as many of these as cards, and it’s harder to stick a label onto a gift without it making a mess, so for these I would just write what I bought next to them on the list and cross out the name).
It was actually nice to see everything written down in black and white so I could more easily quantify what I had to budget for in upcoming months.
TIP – Use these lists to write a monthly budget for cards and gifts so you can more easily keep track.
TIP – This means you can buy items way ahead of time in sales and know that you have already bought for that person – saving money at the same time (or it can enable you to buy more with the same amount).
Step 2 – Keeping everything organised at home
So, I now have a list of everything I need to buy for, and a pile of cards in my gift station.
The next thing I did was go through what I had and stick the stickers on any appropriate cards that I already had. This was loads of fun as it meant that I was ahead of the game and this always makes me happy!
As each sticker also has the date of the event on, I decided to “file” the cards into a date order so that I could really quickly find the ones I needed when it was time to send them.
I simply used some coloured clips that I had in my office, labelled each clip on top with a month of the year so that I could see the month from above (as that was how I would have to see it in the drawer), and then clipped together all the cards for that month with it (or at least as many as I could!).
Such an easy system!
As you can see from the picture below, I store all my cards bought for specific people and specific dates in the plastic tubs, and I have extras in the drawer in case I need any.
I love this system for so many reasons:-
- I can buy cards in bulk easily when offers are on in shops, and know that I am getting ones that are needed
- I know at a glance in my purse what I need to buy at any given time
- When I see something I think would make a great gift, I look in my purse and see who I need to buy for
- I can try and get all my cards for the year early on (it’s my competitive streak!)
- No more rushing to the shops because I have forgotten a card etc….
TIP – keep stamps and postage wrapping supplies to hand as well to make it even easier!
TIP – Also keep a buffer amount of cards and gifts or extras such as childrens birthday parties, gifts for when you are a guest at a friends house etc…
I keep my list in my purse at all times of special events for the year, and buy cards/gifts as and when I see them to save special trips and more expense.
I then label them with who I have bought them for, and keep them in specific places in my home (cards=gift station, presents = all together under the bed!)
As and when a special event comes around, I have the card and/or gift ready to be written, wrapped and sent.