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.