Yes, I know Marie Kondo says to save the sentimental clutter for last. But, if you’re drowning in old greeting cards from holidays past, it can be hard to wait until you make it to that category. Today, I’ll show you what to do with those piles of old greeting cards. I’ll also help you deal with any emotional attachments you may have to those old cards.
If you hurry, you’ll be able to eliminate your greeting card clutter. That is…until the next big holiday arrives.
WHAT TO DO WITH OLD GREETING CARDS
I think it’s important to first address any sentimental attachments you may have to your old greeting cards. Don’t worry! I’m not going to tell you to throw away all of your old cards! I completely understand your attachment to them, I love to receive a handwritten card just as much as you do.
But generally, people tend to hold onto old cards for one (or more) of the following reasons:
- The person who gave them the card is deceased
- Reading what loved ones wrote inside them brings back happy memories
- They are attracted to the artwork
- They appreciate the fact that another person is thinking of them
All of these reasons for keeping old cards are valid. However, if we kept every single card we have ever been given, eventually, we will be drowning in greeting cards!
Good news! There are ways you can hold onto the memories/good feelings of old cards without holding onto the clutter!
Step 1: gather up all your old greeting cards
The first thing you’ll need to do is to gather up all of your old cards into one location. Choose a comfortable spot, pour yourself a favorite beverage, and settle in. Because now the real fun begins.
Oh, and you may want to have a box of tissues nearby.
Step 2: letting go of old greeting cards
Once you’ve gathered up all of your used greeting cards, quickly glance over them (without picking up each one) and throw away any that you know without a doubt you don’t want to keep. These may be cards from people you don’t know very well, old acquaintances, broken relationships, etc.
Next, sort the cards one by one into two different piles. Pile (1) will be cards you want to keep and/or record information off of. Pile (2) will be the cards you are ready to part with.
*Did you know you can donate used cards to charity? Yep! St. Jude’s Ranch for Children has a card recycling program! How cool is that?
Step 3: record important information
You’ll want to transfer important information from the cards whether you decide to keep them or not. Start with the addresses of people you want to stay in touch with. If the card contains a photo you wish to keep, go ahead and store them with your photos.
Step 4: what to do with old cards you want to keep?
Huh? Yep, even though you’ve decided to hold onto some cards, doesn’t mean you have to keep the physical card itself. Instead, take photos of the artwork, and/or writings inside, and store the memories digitally. Create folders on your computer with the name of the sender, the occasion such as ‘holidays’ or the year in which you received the card like ‘2020 Christmas’.
Step 5: crafty ways to display old greeting cards
Chances are, you’ll be left with some old greeting cards that you simply want to hold on to. Check out these neat ideas for displaying and storing old greeting cards.
- Keep them in a scrapbook, so you can enjoy Christmas cards or wedding cards again and again without having to dig through boxes trying to find them.
- Turn them into gift tags.
- Make placemats out of them.
- Frame them in a shadow box.
- Turn them into a slideshow.
- Create greeting card garland and display during the holidays.
- Turn them into a book with Printerpix or a similar service.
- Store them in a photo archival box.
- Make a box of holiday cards.
- Design a card disk for your favorite cards.
- Cut out your favorite scenes, attach a ribbon and create one-of-a-kind ornaments.
- Keep precious postcard stamps and notes in a separate folder.
- Turn them into a book with Printerpix or a similar service.
Faqs On What To Do With Old Greeting Cards
What Are the Benefits of Collecting Old Cards and Letters?
If you have a collection of memorable cards, they’ll remind you of the good old times. If someone who sent you a birthday card is no longer in your life, and your heart aches for them; looking at the cards and letters they sent you will bring back old memories. Besides holding a sentimental value, old card pieces and letters can also help you craft unique wall art and display articles.
Why keep your cards on display?
If the birthday, holiday, and sentimental cards you have are beautiful and unique, displaying them only makes sense. These cards can cover a whole wall or decorative stand if that’s what you’re interested in. Also, if you or your kids have crafted some of these cards, don’t shy away from showcasing them.
What do you use to hold cards?
If you want to organize old greeting and birthday cards inside a cabinet, specify a holder for them. This holder can be a card disk, an envelope, or a simple gift bag that is spacious enough to hold all the cards. If you have cards in different categories, making multiple albums of cards is also a smart idea. This way, you can easily declutter and keep things tidy.
What do you use to display cards?
A built-in display stand with glass doors will be the perfect choice for displaying cards, hand-crafted items, and paintings. If you already have such a frame or can get one during the card decluttering phase, excellent. Even though simply sticking greeting cards on a wall is way easier, this method will quickly make things messy and look unorganized. Therefore, having a frame/protective glass is best.
What are the best ways to keep cards organized?
First of all, make different categories of the cards you keep at home. Birthday, greeting, love, anniversary, and congratulation cards are some categories, to begin with. Personally, I’d like to organize the cards by the person I received them from.
Next, pick an organizational solution for each of these categories.
If you have some spare folders, use them for storing cards, and you’re sorted. Alternatively, you can craft some vertical holders or specify drawers for different categories to keep things neat. Also, if there are cards that hold no sentimental value or you don’t like them enough, let them go instead of piling unnecessary trash in your home.
What are the best ways to keep track of your cards?
The best trick is to store cards by year or occasion. For example, finding that particular card you’re looking for will be easier if you have all your birthday cards in one place.
Similarly, storing cards by year or month is also smart. The years of your high school graduation, wedding, or a big work break are some examples you can work with. After dealing with these categories, you can move to the less important ones and decide what to do with them.
What cards do you want to ditch?
Visiting cards, simple greeting cards with no personal touch to them, and cards from people who are no longer in your life, need to go. These cards will only increase clutter in your drawers and serve no purpose. Be honest, are you ever going to call that realtor you met three years ago when she gave you her card? If in doubt, ditch those cards.
What can you do with old cards?
You can either organize and safely store cards, display them, or discard them. When you start decluttering your collection of cards, gather everything in one place and carefully check each item to be sure what to do with it.
If you find some cards exceptionally beautiful, displaying them is best. But if you prefer to keep things out of sight, specify a drawer in your craft closet and put all cards there. Lastly, if there are random or no meaningful cards, throw them away.
A final note about old cards
I’ve said it time and time again. Decluttering sentimental items doesn’t mean you eliminate the memories behind them! Tossing something, donating, or recycling it is in no way a reflection of how you feel/felt about the person who gave it to you.
Let go of the guilt, release the clutter, and lighten up already!
MORE DECLUTTERING POSTS
- 4 Simple Steps To Declutter Paper For Good
- Organizing Paperwork: Best Ways To Organize Paper Clutter
- How To Create A Paperless Family Calendar System
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When I was in grade school (back in the 50’s) we made boxes out of greeting cards by punching holes around the edges and putting them together with yarn. Wish I had kept one.
Madelyn Kinemond says
I have dozens of cookbooks and love to hide special cards or notes in them only to be discovered and reread at some point.
When my mother was alive, she would send homemade Biscotti. In her beautiful handwriting she would write a note on box. In the last box she sent, I cut out just that area and use as a bookmarker….I also use the fronts of cards like a postcard. Cut and write a note and mail or use on gift bags with a message on the back. If you have a glass top on a dresser or table, you can put them under it …either for sentimental reasons or all one theme for a holiday….this is great idea if you have a loved one in an assisted living. Use photos or cards.
My friend never writes in her cards that she presents in person …instead she uses post it note for the message so you can reuse the card. On special occasions I reuse cards to my husband. I’ll put a date and a new message. When he traveled I would secretly pack cards but on the next trip would use same card with the new date and destination. We laugh at how many miles a card traveled….cards are so expensive today that one really needs to find a repurpose for them….I have a large tray on an ottoman…I sometimes just lay all the cards in there for rereading…but this is also great for photos ….people love sorting through and finding a memory. I once took beautiful valentine cards from my husband and framed under glass as a collage. It made a great temporary themed accessory in my foyer. You could redo with other holidays or events…..
Jeff Cohen says
Hi I came across your blog article here and was wondering if it would be possible to get featured in a future article. My business E-Bration has a solution that solves this very problem. We have developed a platform that can be used to digitally preserve greeting cards of all occasions. People can send us cards and we will professionally scan them into an online account to access at any time. Additionally, we have an e-card platform where people can collect cards for special events but instead of the card being emailed to them, it gets saved in their online account to access the same way as the paper cards that get uploaded. Happy to chat about it if you want to learn more! My email is [email protected] and number is 516-728-3065.
Kathy Taylor says
So much emotion just looking through cards from my husband who died. In 2014. We were married 45 years & memories are still fresh. What to do? I’ll follow your advice.
merry hamel says
going through my mothers card albums. She passed in January and there are so many albums! Should i consider sending them back to the senders? I know one family friend said that his family would love to have them back. Should I ask everyone first?
I am sorting out my mother’s many, many papers. She is 90 years old and in an assisted living center. She has kept cards from all of us kids and grandkids plus all the Valentines cards she got from my dad. I was going to toss them, because there are over 200, but thought about it, put them in a box and took them over for her to go through. She got hours of enjoyment, and I took the box back home. With a little luck, she will get to go through them again. When she is past looking at them…. well, I’ll deal with that when the time comes.
Marily Bunte says
I save my greeting card cards, forever. Store in zip lock bags by the person and labeled. I moved across the US and I did toss most of them.. Heartbreaking!
This post inspired me to cut cards and use for bookmarks.
Gretel Haynes says
Question! Can I decoupage boxes with greeting cards? Just found your sight and really enjoyed it.
Lindsey Brooks says
thank you for, “in no way a reflection of how you feel/felt about the person who gave it to you.” That’s what I needed to hear. After hours of reading and going through greeting cards just wanting to toss but feeling such guilt. This statement saved me. Thank you!!
Uncluttered Simplicity says
Great idea Nancy!
Nancy A Lynam says
I save old cards from family members. I used them to line my bureau draws. You empty the draw and then line the cars up so you can see the front of each one. No need to cut the backs off. When the whole space is filled, you simply use clear tape and tape them together.
Cheryl Lemily says
Moving is stressful enough without having to deal with parting with sentimental items. Remember, the memories will live on long after material things!
We are downsizing in a major way, having to get rid of lots of sentimental treasures. It is overwhelming. Especially the greeting cards. Your suggestions are helpful.