Wrangling business cards

30 April 2013

I wish I had the answer to the age-old question of how to organize business cards. I manage my contacts electronically. I keep my contacts on my Mac in the Address Book program, which syncs to the Contacts app on my iPhone. Yet those little business cards still hang around and make me nuts.

I very rarely look at my large collection of business cards.I know I don’t want to enter all those people into my contact-management system, because I don’t want to clutter up my Contacts list. Plus, I don’t want to go to the effort.

Here’s a picture of my collection. I bought that box many years ago (in the 90s, I think) and formerly organized the cards alphabetically by last name. Of course, that was before electronic contact management systems.

My box of business cards

My overflowing collection of business cards

Five years ago, I remember talking with my friend and organizer extraordinaire Aby Garvey about wrangling business cards and was inspired by her blog post about organizing her collection of business cards. I went so far as to weed mine out and put them into groups, but I never made the index dividers. (I sound like some of my clients!) Of course, I’ve added more in the last five years.

I could just ignore them. Heck, I could probably just toss them in the recycling bin with little fallout. But that collection of business cards feels like unfinished business to me. It also feels like a problem that, as an organizer, I ought to be able to solve.

So I’m creating a plan of action to get this little monkey off my back. In the month of May, I will:

  • Go through the cards and enter contact info for people I actually contact into my Address Book if they’re not already there
  • Throw away business cards of people I know are no longer in business or that I wouldn’t do business with
  • Winnow my collection of cards down to people I truly think I might want to consult or refer. My goal will be for them all to fit in my red business-card box.
  • Group the cards by how I think of them
  • Create labels for those groups
  • Stop collecting so many business cards
  • Set up a routine to either file the business cards I do collect or enter them into my Address Book right away

This is a project I could work on ten minutes a day. Or while I’m on hold (at least the weeding part). I vow here and now to report back at the end of the month. I hope I’ll have a photo of a nicely organized (and not full) box of business cards to show you.

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I use an app for my phone called “Card Munch”. It connects with LinkedIn. I take a picture of the card with my phone, and there at people at LinkedIn that enter the data. A few days later, I can open the app back up and there is a list of my contacts, separate from my regular phone contacts. Then I can toss all the paper cards.

Nicole 05/08/2013 09:18 AM

Hello, I recently began collecting business cards. If you wish to donate your unwanted business cards to a new home, contact me. steve3p@yahoo.com Thank you.

Steve Hansen 11/15/2016 12:53 AM

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About Janine

Janine Adams is a professional organizer based in St. Louis, MO

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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