What to do with cards you're given

3 May 2018


I’ve noticed in my clients’ homes that it’s hard for some people to let go of greeting cards they’ve been given. The trouble with saving them, of course, is that they can accumulate over the years and become a storage problem.

I have a couple of clients who save every single Christmas card. But they use them in their holiday decor. Each client bundles the cards by year. One places them in a series of festive baskets. The other creates little books of cards, one for each year. Both look at and enjoy the archived cards every year. I think that’s wonderful.

More commonly I see cards jammed in bags or boxes in the basement, sometimes in rubber-banded bundles. That’s less wonderful, in my opinion.

Here are some options to think about when it comes to figuring out what to do with these cards:

  1. Recycle them for your own use. If you’re a crafty type and a card appeals to you, you can cut the image on the front of a card out and glue it to some card stock. One thrifty thing I do when I buy cards for my husband is to sign them on sticky notes so I can just take off the note and put the card right into my organized cards to send later stash.
  2. Donate them to a school or nursing home that might use them for crafty activities.
  3. Keep them and respect them like the clients I described above.
  4. Just keep the ones that touch your heart and let go of the rest.
  5. Put them in the recycling bin. I give you permission. That’s what I do with the holiday cards I receive. And I have yet to regret that habit.

I got to thinking about cards today because in my own house I came across some cards I’d stashed, which is really unusual. I took them out, put on my reading glasses and went through them to see if I could let them go. Turns out they were the cards sent me when my mother passed away in 2015. (I honestly don’t remember saving them.) And there were some cards received when my dogs, Pip and Kirby, died in 2010 and 2015 respectively, as well as when my cat, Joe, died in 2012.

I really enjoyed looking through those cards and was touched by the sentiments people had written in them. I bundled them back up—and this time I put a sticky note on each bundle so I could tell at a glance what they were. Then I put them away in a plastic shoe box and put them in a closet. It was nice going through them today and I bet I’ll enjoy them again. But as much as I love receiving annual holiday cards, I have no desire to read them again. So I feel fine about recycling them.

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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