Organized {Last-Minute} Gift Buying

*****I dedicate this post to you my soon to be DH and professional procrastinator.******

I love looking at all the pretty printables that are oh so inspiring for the holidays.  They really are helpful, say, if you start in November…but, for those last-minute shopping trips for those of us who sometimes procrastinate, making a binder and filling it with pretty paper just isn’t on the practical to-do list. I know as time goes on my Christmas gift buying will have to become more organized as I have kids and more gifts to buy, but currently, I am sad to say that this year I fall into the last-minute category.

So, this is what I am doing to stay sane and last-minute organized.  I do happen to have a coupon binder so I have decided to put all my lists and holiday shopping necessities in there for the time being.

I use the Martha Stewart mini-binder and tabs.  Sorry my binder isn’t brand new and pristine looking – it does get some use!  It’s a nice size and travels well.

organized gift buying

Gift Lists:
First I grabbed a pencil and paper that I already had in my coupon binder – nothin’ fancy here folks.  I made several gift lists to organize my thoughts.  I separated my gift lists into categories first: family, friends, neighbors, and gifts-for-anyone / acquaintances. Most of my gifts are for family, but I wanted to have some spare”gifts-for-anyone” on hand for people who might show up with an unexpected gift for us. That way I can avoid the awkwardness of  “oh, thanks so much…ummm, I don’t have anything for you…but thank you…”.

organized gift buying

Shopping Lists:
Once I made my lists I looked over the items and made shopping lists and categorized them by store.  This helped me decide my route geographically so I wouldn’t be making circles around town going back and forth to the same stores.  It also helped me avoid impulse buys when I got to those stores, because I am the type to see something and disregard everything else on my list because this looks “better”.  After I had my stores mapped out, I made sure to include on the shopping list where I would buy wrapping paper and accessories. Choosing to wrap everything in the same color scheme cuts down on the insanity too — simple equals sanity.

organized gift buying

You didn’t think I’d show you the REAL list, did you? That would spoil the surprise, lol.

Okay, this is where my coupon binder really works.  I went online and searched for any coupons related to the stores I planned to shop and items I planned to buy.  I printed them out and pinned them to my shopping list with a binder clip. Some of my favorite online coupon sites are and Also, just Google-ing the item or store can get some results.

Digital or Hard copy? Even with all the fancy digital apps and products designed to kick paper clutter to the curb, I am still a fan of hard copy receipts. Maybe it’s life’s way of saying to me “Welcome to old” because it does seem antiquated, but oh well. If I buy something online I print out a receipt…it’s just my nature. Personally, it’s easier for me to keep track of things I buy when I have something tactile. Usually I file my receipts in a receipt filer by month, but in December when spending is on the rise, I like to keep them with me so I can easily make returns, if need be, and track my spending.

Next to the person’s name on my gift list I write the price of the gift I bought.  Then I stick all December gift receipts into the zippered pocket in the front of my coupon binder.  Normally this is reserved for the coupons I am using for the week, but right now it serves the purpose of keeping all my receipts secure.

organized gift buying

Wrapping and Storing:
Once I got all my gifts home and I determined what needed to be exchanged or returned I started the arduous process of wrapping…and I probably won’t finish until close to Christmas as the rate I am going.  As I mentioned earlier, I like to have all my presents wrapped in the same colors because it does simplify the process.  Once they are wrapped I separate them into piles around the tree and coral them in gift “groups” depending on where they will travel with us.  That way when it’s time to take them to their respective recipients I can easy grab them.  I also like to keep smaller gifts in decorative boxes or bins around the tree so they don’t get shoved aside or lost under there.

That’s pretty much it and the easiest way I have found to organize my last-minute gift buying.  What have you done to keep your sanity this Christmas season?

Also Seen On: 
The Blog Strut, Carolyn’s HomeworkHome StoriesThrifty Thursday, Ginger Jamboree

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