Some folks love the whole process of shopping, buying, wrapping and giving gifts so much that they have whole rooms devoted to the process. For me, and I assume many readers, it is more like a corner of a closet.
I recommend shopping for gifts as you need them to avoid wasting money on a stockpile with no recipients. Remember, that "on sale" item won't be a bargain if it sits in a closet unused.
Keeping a running list of gift ideas in the notes feature on my iPhone and in Outlook on my PC helps when it is gift giving time. The cloud application Evernote could also be used for this.
To save time shopping, I have standard clutter free gifts (usually something consumable like nice chocolates) that I like to give. For bridal showers and weddings, I typically check the registry on-line as soon as possible and then go into the store to purchase both the shower and wedding gift while there is a good selection in my price range.
To save time gift wrapping, I always ask if the store has free gift wrap and take advantage of that service. This is a perk that you will find at many locally owned specialty stores and gift registries.
For those gifts that I need to wrap myself, I keep one roll of gender neutral, all occasion gift wrap on hand. This avoids the need to store multiple rolls of gift wrap. In addition, I have a ribbon bin (which always entertains my kids while I am wrapping gifts) and a collection of gift bags. Most of the ribbons and gift bags are the best ones salvaged from previous gifts.
These gift giving tips help keep my life simple and save money for my family.
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. To receive a free copy of Carolyn's "Secrets of a Simply Organized Life" and a monthly subscription to the e-newsletter "Your Simply Organized Life" sign up here.