WHAT TO DO WITH OLD GREETING CARDS – (ARE THEY KEEPSAKES OR CLUTTER?)

WRITTEN by CHRISSY, LAST UPDATED ON July 8, 2021

& FILED IN Home Organising, Home Decluttering


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Through each year, and throughout our lives we have lots of special occasions – birthdays/Christmas/wedding/new baby/moving house etc…, and one thing you can be sure about is that if there is an occasion, there will be a card available to send to the right person with the right thing to say in it.

It’s great to be able to send something that can mean so much – and it’s equally fantastic to receive them on those important days. They mean so much as they show that people are thinking about us – and they mark a specific time in ours or a family members life.

They are special.

But there are so many – and the question is what to do with old greeting cards when that event has finished?

Greetings cards - what to do after the event - how to deal with greetings cards

A lot of people can easily dispose of cards after the event. They were wonderful at the time, but have served their purpose. As soon as it comes time to dust the surfaces that the cards have been placed on, they go into the recycling bin…

More people (I would guess) prefer to keep hold of them as keepsakes and memories – to look back on in years to come – and it’s this that I really want to focus on today.

WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THOSE CARDS, AND SHOULD THEY BE KEPT AT ALL?

Heather, a reader, emailed me recently about just this conundrum, and so I wanted to look at how we can keep cards without getting overwhelmed.

She wanted to rationalise which cards to keep for her daughter so that it didn’t become overwhelming but was still a lovely keepsake for her when she became an adult.

It really is a tricky one – but if you break the decision down into stages it becomes much easier: –

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STEP 1 – WHY ARE YOU KEEPING THE CARDS?

It seems a strange one to ask, but so often in life we do things without really thinking about the results of our actions or the reason behind why we are doing it in the first place.

Now – it is not for me to say that you should absolutely get rid of all the cards because why would you want to keep them.

Far from it – I keep certain cards that are precious in mine and my families life – and I love doing so. Some I have kept from a long time ago are so precious now as they are from people who are unfortunately no longer with us, and they are a little part of them.

But – have you actually asked yourself if you are keeping the cards for a reason, or just because you feel you should?

In the reader example – will a child really want to be handed all the cards they ever received in their life on the day they turn 18? Are you assuming something that isn’t actually true?

Sometimes we can think we are doing a great thing keeping everything, when actually we are causing ourselves stress and hassle now and creating future potential issues as well.

And if you want to keep them, do you have to actually keep them all?

– – – – – – – – –

STEP 2 – HOW MANY CARDS WILL YOU KEEP?

So, you have decided that you will keep cards – but do you have to actually keep them all?

Keeping only a few is a great compromise between the harsh feel of culling them all and the overwhelm of keeping the lot, and it’s where most of us find ourselves.

We are now giving ourselves permission to be selective – but this comes with it’s own issues as well – whose cards stay and whose go?!

This can be difficult – just like getting rid of any sentimental items in your home – but always remember that the card has been given and received with thanks – so has done it’s part for the giver. What you do with it after the event has passed is entirely up to you, and you alone.

As a rule – I tend to keep cards sent within out family (from me to my hubby, from hubby to me, and from us to our daughter), and a few others from other relatives/friends that contain a special message inside, or have a special picture on the front.

You pick the number/amount that feels right to you – and stick to it.

Greetings cards - stay or go

STEP 3 – WHERE WILL YOU KEEP THE CARDS?

Another way of working out what you can and can’t keep is to work out where you will store the cards.

Having a specific place in mind will help you be able to rationalise how many you can have – otherwise you will start to fill every cupboard/drawer with them and you will start to resent them rather than treasure them.

A good tip for storing cards is to only store the parts of the card you want to look at again – you may want to keep the inside of a card because the note from the sender is lovely, or the picture on the card is special in some way. Feel free to cut out the parts that are special and then you will save storage space as well.

You can store cards in several ways: –

  • Put in an album / file
  • Hole punch the corner of each card and use a ring clip** to keep them together (you can group them by year/event etc…)
  • Create a picture collage for your wall of the special parts you have cut out
  • Frame the cards you love the picture of, so you get to see and enjoy them every day in your home

Have little or no storage? – that leads me on to the next step nicely….

– – – – – – – – –

STEP 4 – CAN YOU KEEP THE CARDS WITHOUT ACTUALLY KEEPING THEM?

I love to scan or photograph cards because I have a copy of the parts of the card that I want to see again (words or pictures) that’s safely on my computer (and backed up), so I can let the actual card go without regret.

The beauty of doing this is that you can use the scanned pictures in Photo Books (as I do, mixed in with photos and scanned pieces of my daughters writing/artwork as she grows up).

The great thing about a yearbook is that we genuinely go through them every few months and enjoy looking at what happened in that year in one place that’s not too bulky.

NOTE – It’s quite telling that over the years I have kept a few cards – not once have I got them all out to look through – but time after time we have looked at the photo books and remembered what my daughter was favouring at the time (the pictures on the cards change over the years!), or read what we wrote to each other…

Thinking outside the box and taking pictures of the cards means you get to keep them without actually having to keep them.

– – – – – – – – –

STEP 5 – CAN YOU REUSE THE CARDS YOU DECIDE NOT TO KEEP?

If you have been able to minimise those cards that you actually keep, then you may be wanting to find ways to reuse cards if at all possible, to save waste.

One of my favourite ways is to take the picture part of the card and make tags for presents – really handy and saves lots of money!

Greetings cards - what to do after the event - how to deal with greetings cards

So – I hope this has given you ideas and inspiration when it comes to greetings cards and whether to keep them or not.

The trick (as with most things) is to only keep what you truly want, and to try and enjoy what you do keep as much as possible – that way your cards will become a joy rather than a burden.

If you are organising cards BEFORE you send them, then you may want to check this post out as well – CLICK HERE.

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