Organizing Shoes

 

 

So what is the best way to organize shoes? There’s no one pat answer for this. The solutions come from how your closet is laid out, what type of home you live in (condo or house) and where you put on your shoes. So where do you or your family kick off their shoes? And do you put your shoes on with your outfit standing in your closet every day?  Do you live in a home with a mudroom? Or do you live in a condo with very little space in the foyer or hallway?

So let’s discuss location first:

Mudroom in a house- Even if you have a mudroom, organization still can be a challenge in this area. My clients will still complain that this area still gets clogged and things pile up. The one and only solution to this is keeping only two to three pairs of shoes per family member in this area. The excess has to weekly or monthly be carried up to bedroom closets. All family members cannot keep all their shoes in the mudroom. It will never work. So you might have beautiful built in shoe shelves or cubbies but unless excess shoes are run to bedrooms every once and awhile, the system will be thrown off and will get cluttered.  The other thing I see often in mudrooms is the wrong size basket in the cubby or bench. Measure and measure again and take time finding the basket or bin that fits perfectly. If you get containers that too small, it wastes storage space in the mudroom.

Bedroom Closets- Storing shoes in closets is totally acceptable. You just want to be wise about how you use your space. If you’re short on shelf space you’re going to have to use the floor or back of the door. If you’re willing, discard all shoe boxes. They get dusty. You can’t see into them. And they aren’t all symmetrical which creates towers when you’re stacking them. If you must containerize them use clear shoe boxes. Kids shoes are nice and small so hanging shoe organizers and back of door shoe organizers work well for their bedrooms.

Condo/Apartment Foyers- These are tricky. When I’m organizing downtown in the city in high rise buildings there is typically no area for a shoe mat or shoe tray let alone a bench or entryway organizational furniture piece. So most often these folks store all shoes in their bedroom and most often they use the back of door shoe pockets because space is a hot commodity. There are also more unique storage pieces that hide shoes in the middle of the bedroom instead of staring at shoes at the end of your bed. Check this one out.

Next let’s discuss storing and organizing types of shoes:

Flats and Flip Flop- If you’re short on space, these are great to stack and just keep them sorted like with likes. Brown flats with brown flats, flip flops with flip flops.

Boots- If you have floor space I love this boot organizer on the floor. Makes it easy to retrieve the pair you’d like to wear. If you only have shelf space adjust shelves to match height or use boot boxes seen here to store flat during the off season.

Work Heels- High heels need a non-ventilated shelf or shoe cubbies to be stored on. Wire shelving would have to be covered with shelf liners to keep them standing upright. Adjust shelves to not waste space and fit the high heel heights.

Cocktail/Special Occasion shoes- Don’t waste precious space on these shoes. Store them up high in clear shoe boxes. They aren’t out of sight but they aren’t taking up precious real estate down low in your closet.

Gym Shoes- These are the easiest to store. You can pretty much pick wherever you’d like to store them. They’ll fit on the floor, on any kind of shelf or in shoe cubbies.

Amber Kostelny, Certified Professional Organizer, Amber’s Organizing, LLC, Chicago, IL 60631

 

 

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Organizing His Closet: Steps in Approaching a Man’s Closet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This blog is for you men out there that find value in an organized closet and would like tips and tricks for your side of the closet. Bonus points for reading this, because that means you care and are looking to improve your closet. Most men’s closets and clothes are pretty straight forward but it is not true that they have less than most women. I see an equal share of very full closets. Men tend to shop online like women but never end up purging their side of the closet. When I was married, we would have an organizing session once a year where I’d pull everything out of his closet and drawers and just ask him what he didn’t like or didn’t wear anymore. No fights, just honesty. Then I’d get the fun job of putting it all away. It made for a good system and solution to not filling up our closets. Whether you’re married or single consider these twelve tips for him.

  1. I highly recommend categorizing shirt types very specifically and then by color within each category type. Sort dress shirts on a hanger into three categories. Dress shirts, casual dress shirts with Collar (something you’d where on a date or to a party) and a casual shirt without collar. And finally, always hang short sleeve polos with an obvious collar (golf, tennis or just regular polos.)
  2. T-shirt is the category that always has the most excess for men. I decide how to organize then based on how many he has and the quality of the t-shirt. I would hang t-shirts you could wear to a summer party and store t-shirts in drawers that you’d only wear working on the car or in the yard. Keep the ratty t-shirts you’d never leave the house out of sight.
  3. Gym shirts shouldn’t be hung. Separate them out into a drawer so you can grab and go next time you’re headed to work out.
  4. I like to hang team jerseys so you can grab and go on game day.
  5. Divide gym socks verses dress socks. Use two separate drawers or a drawer divider if they have to share a drawer.
  6. Don’t forget to color code. If eighty percent of your dress shirts are blue, you might want to consider buying a different color next time you’re picking out a dress shirt. Guys will miss that if their clothes aren’t color coded.
  7. Hang pants on the bottom and shirts above (as it resembles the layout of a human body) It’s hard to tell brown, navy, and black pants apart so again get creative to separating out by color and using clear dividers such as different hangers, clothing tags, a white t-shirt hung up or a marker/divider of some sort. Even use a ribbon or tie.
  8. Fold jeans and sweats unless you’re short on shelf space. I wouldn’t waste the hanging space on these.
  9. Fold and stack sweaters and sweatshirts by like colors. I tend to hang a sweater if it has a collar and hang hoodies to keep them from falling apart on shelves.
  10. A closet must have for any guy is a recycling bin for dry cleaning paper, plastic and hangers. Most all men use dry cleaning to help stay on top of laundry. Keep the system up by having a trash can or recycling bin available.
  11. Invest in a tie and belt organizer. Most men have enough of both categories that warrant these specific organizing products.
  12. Women get a bad rap for purses that were never emptied but men empty their pockets of the same type of stuff and it lands all over the closet or in the top dresser drawer. I find coins, Kleenex, golf score cards, pencils, batteries, wine corks, sunglasses and much more. Gentlemen, you need a place to collect the coins ( a jar or mug for example) and a place for the stuff that comes out of your pockets. Don’t keep it all but sort it into an organizer or container of some kind in your drawer or on your closet shelf.

Amber Kostelny, Certified Professional Organizer, Amber’s Organizing, LLC Chicago, IL 60631

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Decision Making: How to Become More Decisive

 

Youth Decision Making Concept, Top View

Have you ever stopped and thought about how many decisions take place during an organizing session? I would say hundreds even thousands of decisions are made in a matter of a session in one day. Either my customer is making the decisions if we are working on a project together or if my team is unpacking a whole house, we are making the decisions all day.

It goes to show that professional organizers need to be good decision makers and need to know how to lead someone into making decisions wisely and quickly. The clock is ticking when we decide to go through an entire master closet, so making decisions fast is a learned art and a valuable skill to have.

Of course there are decisions we make each and every day that have nothing to do with organizing. I was discussing this concept with a friend over coffee. How does one become a better decision maker? How does a person become more decisive?   I’ve been told I’m a fast decision maker and I’ve always thought of myself as being able to make decisions but recently this year I realized although I’m great at making decisions for work, I have neglected making personal decisions. Someone pointed this out to me and I was so shocked. They point blank said “You are not making decisions for yourself. “ I was convicted to start making decisions in my personal life instead of being paralyzed by loss and fear.

It got me thinking as to what prevents us from making decisions and I believe these are the top reasons So consider these thoughts. Can you identify? Which are your triggers in delaying decision making? The more we know about ourselves the greater opportunity we have to start working on these hang ups and start making decisions.

  1. Fear-  “What might happen if I choose ___________?

Most choices can result in several different outcomes so the fear that plagues us is the fear of the unknown. On very large decisions, I would agree that fear is a healthy trigger to stop us from doing something stupid.  On small matters, there shouldn’t be any fear.  Just in case the result isn’t what we wanted, we can always rectify the situation and change course. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst case scenario for an outcome if I make this decision?”  On small matters I’m confident the worst case scenario is always fixable. No big deal. Slow down for the huge, life altering decisions.

  1. Lack of Information– “ How can I make this decision if I don’t know______? “

You are absolutely right. Find information, research or read enough to help you make an educated decision. Now understand, do just enough. You don’t need to read books and volumes or spend gobs of time and energy doing this. Do your due diligence and limit your “research time”. Otherwise you’ll be bogged down and never make the decision.

  1. Lack of Confidence“ I always make the wrong choice.”

Not true. The more you practice making decisions and the more you change the lens how you look at making decisions the better you will become and you will start to believe in yourself. Avoid negative self-talk. Negativity is getting you nowhere fast. It’s actually hurting you in the long run.  Just because your parents, ex-spouse or cruel friend accuses you of it, doesn’t make it true and doesn’t mean you don’t have the ability to change.

  1. Others influence or opinion“ I can’t decide that because of ___________.”

This blank can be filled in with words such as my boss, spouse, sister, coworkers, and parents. Stop giving your power to other people. When I say power, I don’t mean you’re king or you’re the president. I mean you are capable of making your own decisions if the impact of that decision is first and foremost on yourself, go ahead and make the decision.  Clearly I don’t want you deciding to sell your home without consulting your wife, but on all matters for yourself decide to decide. You have the freedom to. Others don’t have a hold on you and should not have a hold on you. If they do, you have unhealthy boundaries with those around you and I would recommend reading the book “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud. My life changed after reading that book.

  1. Loss“I emotionally can’t handle making that decision right now. “

That is perfectly fine. It is perfectly acceptable to be grieving or mourning a loss that prevents you from making a decision. Should the loss paralyze you indefinitely? No, but there are times in life when you are thankful just to make it through one day to make it to the next day without forcing yourself to make a decision. When you are under that much grief, stress, or sadness no one should be making decisions that they will regret later. I think losing something in our life also helps us clarify what we really want and what we really value. Out of all that loss and grief comes clarity and purpose.

Amber Kostelny

Amber’s Organizing, LLC

7401 W. Howard St.

Chicago, IL 60631

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Breaking Up with Stuff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Break ups, splits, getting dumped, divorce, moving out, moving on brings some of the worst emotional pain imaginable. I’ve been there and have done it three times in the last three years. I’d choose a broken ankle or the swine flu any day of the week if it could prevent my heart from feeling like it’s been torn in half. It makes me say that I’ll never let anyone in ever again. I don’t think I could survive more emotional pain because there’s no cure for it, only waiting for time to pass.

You might be wondering how this has anything to do with organizing. Here’s my point. Breaking up with stuff after breaking up with a person has to happen.  Allowing stuff to remain around us that reminds us of the person is a recipe for disaster. It drags us down, paralyzes us and leaves us stuck.  When I encounter people that have been through hurt and loss in relationships, the amount of freedom they find when we ditch the ex’s stuff cannot be expressed in words.  They find permission to move on and let go. For one client, it was furniture that her ex left behind. Once the furniture was sold on Craig’s List, it was as if she could breathe again. She wasn’t aware of the hold it had on her emotions until I encouraged her to get rid of his stuff.

Pictures are also an obstacle. Get them off your phone by downloading them onto your computer. Then drag all of the ex’s photos into one folder. Organize them into one place and you’ll never have to look at them again until you can stomach it. Or you’ll end up deleting them at some point. Regardless, don’t have them floating around your computer or electronic devices to make you sad anytime you see one pop up. Be swift, thorough, and diligent to get this task done. Social media such as Facebook or Instagram would be trickier. Delete them on the feed. Bury them quickly by posting new feed or go off of social media for a little while.

Where ever you are at in your break up journey , consider what is left behind that affecting your heart and mind. How can you lessen the blow and begin to heal. There’s no right or wrong way of doing things but removing items is the first step.

The way I handle ex’s stuff is it gets thrown into bins or bags and I toss it in my crawl space under my house. Yes, I would never recommend that typically as an organizer because most people would never revisit the stuff and it would sit there for years. However, I have a method to my madness. You see I pack up all the stuff, get it out of my sight and then later after time has passed I pitch the stuff with a fury. How much time? That answer all depends on how fast I can heal and get over the person. My most recent breakup is the hardest to figure out.  I can’t fit a ladder and fourteen pots of flowers from my deck into my crawl space. He planted a million beautiful flowers for me and every day I pass them on my deck and it drives me nuts looking at them. I thought about not watering them and letting them die a long slow death, but I’m still debating that one.

Happy healing to you (& me) !

Amber Kostelny

Amber’s Organizing, LLC

7401 W. Howard St.

Chicago, IL 60631

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The Heart of Organizing

 

 


One thing I love about being an organizer is my clients that come across my path. All of their stories are different and all of their challenges resemble their stories. If I can bring hope, order, and a sense of peace into their home or business then I’ve done my job well.

All of these names are completely fake but the stories are real. I share them with you not to shame people or point fingers but to encourage those of us on the journey and those of us that need hope.

Charlie was a stroke victim forcing him to retire early. Without the mental capability to keep up with paperwork, piles began to grow and take over his home. My goal was to make as much of the paperwork automated and electronic to give him long term solutions with less paper coming in through the mail. At the end of several appointments, Charlie was set up for success relieving a lot of the concern, stress and shame he dealt with.

Thomas is a widower who lost his wife a year ago and is taking care of his three children. His new roles and responsibility with the home and children left him overwhelmed.  All of his late wife’s things needed to be gone through, sorted and donated. When it was too emotional for him to do this project, I was called in for help. What a privilege it was!

Sarah went through a messy divorce. Trying to manage being a single mom, running a household, and forced into getting a new job,  left her overwhelmed, drained and stressed out. Helping her get organized brought a new found confidence and strength to keep going. We squashed the lie that said she couldn’t take care of things and stay on top of things!

Missy was a medical school student. She was never home and never had the time to get settled into her new apartment. Now she was about to get married and her fiance’ was to move in. She called in a panic. After one long grueling organizing session in several closets, she was set back up for success and wouldn’t stop texting me afterwards to express how grateful she was.

I could share ten more stories with you but I’ll stop here. Each customer has a need and each need lies deeper than surface clutter. I can’t fix the heart but I can help bring encouragement, relief and practical comfort in times of desperate need. If you’re struggling through something emotionally or mentally, your clutter or chaos just might be a symptom or struggle associated with it. Look at how it’s all related and start with one piece of the puzzle. If it’s organizing the physical, I’d love to help.

Amber Kostelny

Amber’s Organizing, LLC

7401 W. Howard St.

Chicago, IL 60631

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Are you organized?

Ten SModern living room with wood floortatements to Gauge Your Organization Factor

Ever wonder, am I really organized? Would someone say I’m organized? On occasion I show up to an organizing appointment and I walk in and after showing me their home, I’m wondering, “ Why did this family or individual hire me?  They’re organized.” Like I said, this doesn’t happy often but it always amuses me when it does. Our perception of organization is often different from those around us. We can look organized but really be a mess inside or we can be too hard on ourselves in not realizing we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the good systems and solutions we have in place.
As you seek to gain a better understanding of where you are on the organization scale, consider these positive statements that can reassure you, you are headed in the right direction.

You ARE organized IF ……..

  1. You can find what you need quickly (within minutes). Not hours and not weeks. My rule is five-ten minutes or less.
  2. You throw things out daily. Your garbage cans and recycling should be filling up at a regular pace. If you see all that comes into a home on a weekly basis, the same, if not more, should be leaving on a regular basis.
  3. You go through drawers and closets two to three times a year. This takes time and effort to make this a priority, but people that are organized really do clean out their closets and drawers on a regular basis. We aren’t just making that up. Just like maintaining your car, you need to maintain your drawers, closets and cabinets.
  4. You can arrive on time for an appointment. Being on time means planning ahead which means you’ve organized your day to be certain places at certain times. It is all about not committing to too much or too little. It’s about knowing what you can and can’t handle in a day and saying no when you’re running behind time. With GPS devices and mobile devices, we all can know in a split second how long it will take us to get somewhere.
  5. You look for things to get rid. This is a classic professional organizer move. When we don’t organize enough in a week, we go home and find something to throw out and organize. If you love looking for things to get rid of and love to organize and rearrange things at home, you are a gal or guy after my own heart.
  6. You arrive prepared with the paperwork or items you need. There’s nothing worse than arriving at an appointment unprepared. For those of you that have good systems to remember to bring items you’ll need, you are organized!
  7. You can have a stranger or friend stop by your home at a moment’s notice and not be embarrassed. This is hard one to accomplish but it is possible. The key here is good daily habits and systems for picking up and putting things away. If you are good at those two things you’re golden.
  8. You get rid of a pair of jeans if you buy a new pair of jeans. There’s really nothing more simpler than that principle—one thing in means one thing goes out.
  9. You rarely have to reset your passwords or usernames on website, because you have them recorded in one place.
  10. You make decisions easily and quickly. Organizing is all decision making. Deciding to put away. Deciding to toss something out. Deciding to keep it. Deciding to give it back to the friend you borrowed it from. Deciding to plan ahead and leave on time, etc.

If you would like to know more about Amber’s Organizing, LLC., Click here!

Amber’s Organizing LLC
7401 W. Howard St.
Chicago, IL. 60631
773-628-7404

 

 

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Stuff or Systems: Which do you struggle with?

 

 

Suitcase and tourist stuff with inscription travel insurance on wooden background

 

The other day I was organizing a busy mom. Her kitchen, pantry and mudroom needed my help. As we were going through things she stopped and asked “ Amber, so is the problem too much stuff usually?” What she meant is, is everyone like me with too much stuff? Is that the professional organizers solve? I thought her question was smart and commonly asked. I responded to her that is it typically one of two things. Usually customers have too much stuff and they need help getting rid of things OR they have no good systems and structure set up which sets them up for failure. She laughed and said, “What if it’s both? “  I replied that sometimes it is and that’s okay too. I’m here to help out in either situation.

Whether it’s an excess of things that have accumulated or just not knowing how to organize and set up systems for long term success, both are valid reasons to call a professional organizer. Consider these questions to determine which camp or which boat you are in. Maybe you know already or maybe you don’t. Try stepping back to assess your home or office. What do you notice?

Too much Stuff??

  • Are your kitchen cabinets, dresser drawers and closets jammed packed? Is there room to add new things that come in or will the new things be left out to accumulate on counter tops or the floor of your bedroom because you can’t put them away?
  • Can you see to the back of your refrigerator and freezer? Or are there things in there that are 6-12 months old?
  • Are their multiples of the same item? You buy another bag of salt for the sidewalks when you couldn’t find the one from last year in the garage?
  • Are items expiring before you can use them up? Going bad and spoiling?
  • Do you have toys or clothes that your kids have outgrown years ago?
  • Are doors, windows, heating and air conditioning vents or other appliances in your home blocked because too much stuff is in the way?

Lacking Good Systems??

  • Do you get frustrated with the same obstacle each day? For example, coats or shoes landing in a certain place that drive you nuts? Orr walking across the kitchen to unload the dishwasher? Or fighting to find a beauty product under your sink?
  • You manage to get through the mail and toss the junk mail but you’re still stuck with the important paperwork that you’ve kept?
  • Is it getting annoying to reach for something you need every day because it’s in the wrong place or located in an improper position?
  • Do you dread certain tasks because you haven’t taken the time to catch up and simplify that part of the house?

If any of the above rings true for you, which category  were you answering ‘yes’ to more often? Hopefully it gives you perspective about both categories. Both are equally important and if you have one without the other it doesn’t really help. If you purge a ton but still have poor systems you will still be frustrated. And likewise, you can all the best systems and organizing solution under the sun, but if you have too much, you’re still sunk.

Call or text me if you need help with either. 708-925-7574. I’d love to help!

If you would like to know more about Amber’s Organizing, LLC., Click here!

Amber’s Organizing LLC
7401 W. Howard St.
Chicago, IL. 60631
773-628-7404

 

 

 

 

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Get Organized Before Hiring Your Handyman

Hiring a Handyman? Get organized first!

Detail of classic leather tool belt wearing by handyman isolated

One of the most requested service people I get asked about from my clients is a good handyman. Getting organized unearths several undone projects around a condo or house. Little things here and there pop up that we normally forget, but remember when we are meticulously going through rooms and spaces organizing. Then all the broken or undone projects come to the surface and it’s a perfect idea to have the handyman out after organizing. I’ll often find parts and pieces in boxes ready to be installed and will say, “Put it on the list for the handyman.”So naturally after getting organized and creating a “to do” pile, we need to get a hold of a handyman. So here are some ideas to get you started out. You’ll want to be prepared before you call to make the appointment to tell them what you’d like done and also want to be ready for the appointment.


1.
Start a list of different projects around your home you’d like the handyman to tackle. Being prepared and ready to get a quote and appointment will make sure you don’t miss anything!
2. If you have picked out specific fixtures or items for the handyman to install, shop in advance so you have all you need before he or she arrives. In fact, don’t schedule the appointment till you have all the parts and pieces.
3. Prioritize what is on your list in case you run out of time or money. Make sure you get done what is absolutely necessary by putting it at the top of the list.
4. Clear the space of anything that would get in the way while completing the project. For example, move a piece of furniture, laundry basket, or stack of books and toys out of the way.
5. Collect all the things the handyman needs to tackle in one spot. For example, if you have a light fixture, curtain rod and a broken furniture piece, stage them all in one room or spot.
6. Don’t start other projects you may come up against once you’re in the middle of getting the list completed by the handyman. Often we bite off too much and then the whole house is torn apart and we can’t get it back together because we run out of time and energy. Stays focused on the items only on your list and avoid getting sidetracked.

So maybe you’re still wondering, who I recommend to my clients. My default quick answer to their question is most often, Handyman Matters. They have it dialed in as a franchise that provides good service throughout the country that is backed by insurance and a good reputation. They can’t sneak away, not doing what they promised because they are established businesses with credentials.

“We started Handyman Matters 18 years ago because, to be blunt about it, the home maintenance and remodeling industries consistently lacked ethics.  We wanted to change that and redefine what is expected from a home-improvement partner in terms of both quality of work and integrity in doing the job right.  We strive to be your primary resource, and we earn your trust through our work.” –– Andy Bell, Founder of Handyman Matters. Read more here 

If you would like to know more about Amber’s Organizing, LLC., Click here!

Amber’s Organizing LLC
7401 W. Howard St.
Chicago, IL. 60631
773-628-7404

 

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7 Questions to Ask Before Black Friday

Black friday

 

Black Friday is for some, a tradition, religion, habit and a no brain brainer… why wouldn’t someone want amazing deals and sales? As a professional organizer, I cringe. If I could shut down all the stores for Thanksgiving and Black Friday I would. I would teach our country we don’t need more stuff and increasing stuff in our homes always comes with a cost.  Before you jump on the band wagon or before you head out again this year, ask yourself these questions first:

  1. Will my purchases be meaningful and purposeful OR just another dust collector?
  2. Can I afford to pay for my purchases in cash OR will I increase my credit card debt?
  3. Am I content with who I am and what I have OR am I shopping to fill a loss, fight sadness or boredom?
  4. Have I made a specific list of what I want to shop for OR am I going wing it?
  5. What could I do instead with the time I’m spending in long traffic lines, parking lot lines and checkout lines?
  6. Have I gone through my current stash of gifts before I shop for more? (most clients of mine never give the gifts they intended to give… shop first in your “gift closet” at home.)
  7. How can I take responsibility for the current stuff in my house instead of adding more?

Cheap doesn’t always mean better. Shop wisely. Stay home. Organize what you DO have.

 

Amber Kostelny, Certified Professional Organizer

Amber’s Organizing LLC

7401 W Howard St, Chicago, IL 60631-4412

(773) 628-7404

http://www.ambersorganizing.com/

 

 

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Greeting Cards: Why are we keeping them?  

Greeting card in the hands

 

With all communication going digital in this day and age, getting a piece of actual mail becomes a treasure and something rare. Whether the greeting card is tacked onto a present or sent in the mail, we get attached to it and inevitably I hear “Amber, I want to keep it.”  While organizing, I’ve come across just a few stacks or files of received cards and I’ve also tripped over bags and bins of cards saved up over years and years.  There has to be a balance. These viewpoints below are to help you think through your decisions to save or toss greeting cards that come your way. Or if you’re going through stacks of old greeting cards from years ago, these should help shed light on keeping or tossing them.

What type of card is it?

Generic cards, thank you cards and blank cards aren’t necessarily extra special. They are common every day cards that aren’t worth keeping. Homemade cards with specific content or design might be a keeper. Decide where to draw the line.

Who is it from?

If the person isn’t extra special in your life and super close to you, there’s no point in keeping it. All of us have a circle of five to ten people that are our core people in our lives. If the sender of the card isn’t in your core people in your life, let it go.  If you’re keeping cards from past relationships, let them go. The relationship is over and it could be hurtful to or distracting in the new relationship you are in.

What did they say?

Also think through what was written. If the message is just a signature ‘Love, Dad” I would toss it. If the message is a poem they copied, that’s not original. I would toss it. If they are rambling about non sense and random things that have no relevance, I would toss it. Keeping a love letter from your husband is way different that a greeting card from coworkers on your forty second birthday. You get the point.

Is it a milestone event?

Breaking your leg verses winning the battle to cancer shows the gravity of different events we experience. I would keep the cancer cards over the broken leg get well cards. A fortieth birthday is a special birthday verses your forty-eighth birthday.  Your wedding happened once and it was a special day. The years and years of anniversary cards after the one day will continue to come so perhaps keep the special wedding day cards instead of the anniversary cards. You decide what is important to you, but everything can’t be important. Importance and priority allows some things to stand above the rest and draws a boundary.

What will you do with the cards you keep?

Have a plan to honor the cards that mean something to you. Tossing them in the attic or in the back of a closet isn’t remembering or honoring the sender. You might as well toss them. String them up. Tie them up with colorful ribbons and place them on a bookshelf. Box them up if they are tied to a specific event with other items. For example, if they are wedding cards put them in your wedding keepsake box. If they are baby shower cards, put them in your child’s keepsake box or book. Finally, consider displaying them for a period of time. In my family growing up, my mom would place them on top of the piano or mantle above the fireplace. After a month or so passed, we tossed them.

What about Holiday Cards?

Toss them.  You are only responsible for keeping track of your own immediate family photos. You are not required to keep all family pictures from extended family to watch how fast their children grow up. Their moms and dads should be keeping tracking of their own children. Soak in the pictures and cards for the season but then let them go come January or February.

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