How to Handle Greeting Cards You’ve Been Given

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

We’ve spoken before about Greeting Card Organization, as in the ones you will give to others. But what about signed cards you’ve received? Every client I’ve ever worked with has a vast collection of these, shoved away in a drawer somewhere or other.

This isn’t going to be that kind of post where I kick your butts all the way to the recycling bin, throwing jelly beans at you as you go. This is the kind of post wherein I capitulate: signed cards do have great sentimental value– now perhaps more than ever, as the concept of “hand-written” fades ever blacker into the screen abyss–and therefore could and should be kept, if you feel so inclined. But let’s lay down some ground rules, yes?

1. Be choosey

Though I hesistate to generalize, it is not (usually) necessary or productive to hold onto each and every card you’ve ever received. You can safely dis-card (get it?):

– Cards from your FedEx delivery man, your christmas tree saleswoman, your auto mechanic, and the like.

– Cards from loved ones that rely heavily on the pre-typed card greeting, by which I mean all they did was sign their name. You can ask them any old day, and I’m willing to bet they’d happily give you their autograph again should you so desire it.

– Cards from ex’s, whether these be ex-romanticals, ex-friends, ex-co-workers, and any other sort of ex’s, the thought of whom bums you out. Stuff has energetic juju and you don’t need theirs all up in your grill. 

2. Organize & store the keepers

There, now that you’ve weeded out the weak, you’re left with a collection of the most precious outpourings of love and affection (aren’t you?). Doesn’t that feel better already?

The choice of how to store these guys is, as always, up to you and will depend greatly on how anal retentive you are. If: keeping them all together in one giant stack will fit the bill, so be it. You can also sort the cards into categories, some examples of which might include: by sender, by year, or by occasion.

Then, you put them somewhere–but not just any old somewhere. If these cards are truly precious to you, precious enough to keep, then do so in a manner that befits them. Find a special drawer and line it with some lovely paper, buy a special box just for cards. Here are a few options should you find yourself drawing a blank:

1. Card Keeper (the perfect sorter for greeting cards whether they’re new or used) 

2. Stockholm Photo Box (good size for cards, and you can choose to add in dividers)

3. Multimedia Box (great for cards; has little divided sections & come in bright, punchy colors)

 4. Album (good option if you want to be able to flip through the cards easily)

5. Upright Archival Storage Box (for extra special cards that you want to go the extra mile to protect from age & elements) 

6. Floral Rectangular Cassandra Box (just a pretty box with a hot pink interior. boom)

Image credits: BHG, Making Memories, BHG


5 thoughts on “How to Handle Greeting Cards You’ve Been Given

  1. Joanna Pieters (@joannapieters)

    Annie, what a lovely post – simply reading it and thinking of all the special cards I have makes me happy. I believe that making space in our lives for positive memories and momentos is important; it’s so easy to get swept away by the clearing out mindset, that we sometimes fail to take the emotional benefits of ‘clutter’ into consideration. But I agree – having someone fitting to store them is so important.

  2. MeaganS

    I’m not sentimental at all (and kinda think cards are a waste of environmental resources- and expensive) so I tend to open up the card, read it, and then recycle it all within 30 seconds or so.

    1. Denise

      I can spend up to an hour choosing the perfect card for a loved one. I’m very pick and intentional when I pick and give a card. I won’t pick a card that I don’t mean. The sentiment must be whta’s in my heart but can’t be “hallmarky”. If you were my friend, sad to think that you would consider that a “waste” and through it away in 30 seconds.

  3. Lisa Moran

    I NEVER buy cards for people, for this very reason.
    If I want to express my sincere birthday wishes I will do so in person. Don’t need a card to say my words for me…
    That said, I’m having trouble recycling cards my 3 year old twins receive on birthdays.
    What the what?! Help me Annie!


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