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How to Organize your Greeting Card Collection

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The Cards You’ve Been Dealt | How to Organize Your Greeting Card Collection

If you are a particularly nostalgic person — or an avid fan of greeting cards like we are — there is a good chance that you have found yourself in possession of an ever-growing collection of greeting cards. They might be cards you have received from others. They might be cards you plan to send to others. They might be a totally disheveled mess taking up way too much space in your home.

Even the most well intentioned card collection can quickly devolve into chaos; before you know it, you cannot even find the cards you tried so hard to keep! However, there is hope. Your friendly neighborhood greeting card specialists have created an in-depth guide to sorting, storing, and organizing your cards. It’s time to get your greeting cards organized once and for all — and HELLOFROM is here to help you every step of the way. If you need help deciding how to store greeting cards, you came to the right place.

Ready to organize how you buy your cards? Learn more about our unique service that helps you organize your calendar, choose your cards, and so much more!

What Should I Do with My Old Greeting & Birthday Cards?

Most greeting card collections are compiled of two kinds of cards: cards you intend to send, and cards that have been sent to you (or your children, spouse, etc). Which cards should you keep? Is it ever ok to throw cards away? What is the best way to store old greeting cards? How should you organize the cards you want to send, and preserve the ones you want to cherish?

As with any big organizing project, the healthiest thing to do is to take the process one step at a time. Our recommendation? Face the beast head-on. Gather all of your cards — yes, all of them — into one space, along with any accompanying envelopes that you have held onto.

As you go, divide the cards into cards to keep, and cards to send. Feel free to toss these piles into separate boxes to start; keeping your tasks broken down into small sections will help prevent you from burning out. Deciding what to do with all of these cards can feel overwhelming, especially if you are collecting and organizing cards on behalf of someone else.

Once you have finished gathering all of your cards — and you have taken a breath — the next step is to pick one of the two piles to start organizing. If one group is smaller than the other, you might start there and get those cards under control. Or, perhaps you are more concerned with organizing one type of card over another; the simple act of gathering all of your sendable cards together is enough, and what you really need is to organize your sentimental cards.

Whichever type you want to start with, bring them to a sizable workspace where you can really spread them out and look at them (your bed, dining room, etc). Being able to see them all at once will make it much easier for you to decide which cards are worth keeping, and which can be pitched. If you find yourself struggling to make cuts, consider these questions as you go:

For the sentimental cards:

  1. Who is the card from? Are you close to this person?
  2. Did the sender write a message, or just sign it?
  3. Is the card itself particularly significant?
  4. Is this a card that you will want to revisit, or are you just keeping it because you feel like you should?
  5. Would you rather have the card, or the space?

For the sendable cards:

  1. Is the card in good shape? Does it have an envelope?
  2. Do you have a specific recipient in mind?
  3. What occasion would you send this card for?

Remember; it’s ok if the idea of throwing away greeting cards is hard for you. You obviously kept these cards for a reason. As long as you have a good way to store them — keep reading for our favorite ideas — there is no reason to torture yourself into throwing away something that matters to you.

Are My Greeting Cards Recyclable?

The short answer: sometimes.

The full answer: greeting cards that are made of paper and do not have any added embellishments — music players, metal charms, tassels, foil, glitter, ribbon, felt cutouts, and anything with a battery — can be recycled, whether they have been ‘used’ or not. If you want to recycle a paper greeting card that includes any of these items, you must remove the bling beforehand. Additionally, cards made of heavy cardstock or shiny paper can also be recycled. The same holds true for envelopes, unless they are lined with foil.

That being said, there are plenty of fun, creative ways to reuse greeting cards instead of recycling (or tossing) them;

  • The covers can make for cute framed wall decor, or they can even be reused as cards themselves — just write your message on the backside.
  • If you feel particularly crafty, you might consider cutting up different parts of cards and envelopes and reusing them for other crafting projects, such as bookmarks and boxes. You can even use the pieces to make new cards!
  • Greeting cards made of thicker cardstock can be cut up and turned into gift tags.
  • For large groups of cards — think of all the cards you received at your wedding reception, baby shower, etc. — consider using a decorative hole punch to cut out pieces of the covers. You can then use those parts to make a piece of themed wall art
  • Some charities (see St. Jude’s Ranch for Children) accept donations of old or used greeting cards, which their patients use for crafting projects. Just make sure to do your research and check for any restrictions.

Now, let’s talk organization.

5 Different Ways to Organize Your Greeting Card Collection 

When you have finished ‘editing’ your cards — welcome to the high-stakes world of professional organizing — it’s time to get organized! While there is no best way to organize greeting cards, there are definitely a few methods that work well for most people; organizing by date, by event, by sentiment, by person, or with the help of a calendar app. The organization method that you choose will largely determine what storage option(s) will work the best for you, so it’s good to start organizing before you purchase any boxes, albums, or other storage materials.

1. Organize by Date

Organizing your cards by date is a great method for cards you plan to send. Essentially, you divide your cards by the time of year that you anticipate sending them. Some people choose to organize their cards by month; others organize them more broadly by season. For cards that you receive, organizing by date will probably look more like organizing them by year — though you could further organize them by month within each year.

Pros of Organizing by Date

  • Easily locate seasonally themed cards
  • Easily view an entire year’s worth of received cards
  • Works well for many different storage techniques, such as albums and binders

Cons of Organizing by Date

  • Some occasions can not be anticipated by date (funerals, illness, etc)
  • Organizing by year can create giant categories very quickly
  • Organizing by year can be tricky if you do not know when a card was received

2. Organize by Event

Organizing cards by event is one of the more common methods, as so many greeting cards are specific to a holiday or life event. Mother’s Day, Birthdays, Christmas — all of these make for easy categories for both sent and received greeting cards. Event-based organizing also makes it easy for you to see exactly how many cards you have for a certain holiday, making it easier to shop for more.

Pros of Organizing by Event

  • Organize cards quickly
  • Check how many cards you have at a glance
  • Lots of great storage methods
  • Easy to personalize categories

Cons of Organizing by Event

  • Hard to find cards from specific senders
  • Hard to find cards from specific years

3. Organize by Sentiment

This method is often paired with organizing cards by event, though it can work well on its own. Organizing by sentiment is best utilized for cards that are being sent, and can be categorized as broadly or narrowly as you would like. For example, you might organize cards by their event, and then organize them by tone (i.e. funny birthday cards).

Pros of Organizing by Sentiment

  • Great for creating subcategories
  • Pairs well with other methods of organizing
  • Easily check card quantities

Cons of Organizing by Sentiment

  • Not very effective for received cards
  • Hard to find cards from specific years
  • Hard to find cards from specific senders

4. Organize by Person

This particular method works best for received cards, and can apply to both recipient and sender. For example, if you could have a category for cards sent to your daughter by her grandmother. Organizing by person is another method that pairs well with others — however, it is difficult to organize sendable cards in this way.

Pros of Organizing by Person

  • Works well with organizing by sentiment and/or event
  • Great for making very niche categories

Cons of Organizing by Person

  • Not very effective with sendable cards
  • Not very effective for small collections
  • Difficult to use for collections with lots of different senders
  • Hard to find cards from specific years

5. Plan Cards with a Calendar App

This particular organizational method is a fantastic way to organize cards you want to send — but more importantly, planning your cards with a calendar app makes it easy to purchase and send cards on-time. For cards you already have and want to send, simply make a note in your calendar app for each important card-sending event. Make sure to set an appropriate reminder, and to take into consideration when a card will actually need to hit the mailbox.

If you want to remember to buy the cards, HELLOFROM has everything you need. Our services allow you to easily plan for every event on your calendar, as well as every person you want to celebrate. Best of all, we take the hassle out of shopping for greeting cards; our experts hand pick multiple card options for each event and recipient on your list, and all you have to do is choose. We send your chosen cards directly to you before you need them — stamps and envelopes included — so you can add your personal touch with plenty of time to spare.

Pros of Planning Cards with a Calendar App

  • Easily plan how many cards you need and when
  • Perfect for busy people and those who hate shopping
  • Reduces likelihood of forgetting to send a card
  • Reduces likelihood of sending a card too late

Cons of Planning Cards with a Calendar App

  • Not a method for organizing received cards
  • Takes a bit of additional time to set up

How to Store Your Greeting Card Collection

Now that your cards are in nice, organized groups, let’s take a look at some storage ideas for greeting cards. The possibilities for storing your cards are — probably — endless, and what works best for you might not work well for someone else. Do you care more about the cards you receive, and want to access them regularly? Or are you more of a sender, and need to be able to quickly find the perfect card? You need to take into account how many cards you have, where you want to store them, and what your priorities are for your collection. The cards are gathered, sorted, and organized; now it’s time to get creative! 

Store Your Greeting Cards with a Binder

If you want to store greeting cards that you have received, or cards that you want to send, storing your cards in a binder or scrapbook might be a perfect solution. This method requires a little DIY effort, but is a highly customizable and compact way to store many cards at once. Alternatively, you may choose to create multiple binders based on your organization strategy. Binder and scrapbooks are very useful for storing received cards, especially if they are organized by year or recipient. This method also works well for sendable cards organized seasonally.

If you want to store cards that you have received, and you want to be able to remove the cards, consider clear envelopes or photo album pages. If the cards can stay in place — or the backs of the cards do not matter to you — archival appropriate adhesive and paper will work well. For cards that you intend to send, make sure that your method allows for the cards to be removed without damage — again, clear envelopes or photo album pages are a good option.

What You'll Need

  • A binder or scrapbook
  • Appropriate pages (clear envelopes, photo album pages, construction paper, etc)
  • Archival adhesive
  • Dividers and labels

Store Cards with a Tabbed Box

Card storage does not get much easier than a box with tabbed dividers. These types of products can easily be purchased at most craft stores, and they need not be originally meant for greeting cards — recipe card boxes are often a viable option. This method works well for both sendable and received cards, and is best utilized for cards that are organized in broader categories.

What You'll Need

  • A sturdy box
  • Tabbed dividers
  • Labels

Create a Greeting Card Album

Looking to scratch your creative itch? Creating your own card album is the project for you! There are different ways you can bind a ‘book’ of greeting cards; personally, we prefer coptic stitch binding. This method is a fun, beautiful way to organize your greeting cards — but be warned; this method is only viable for received cards.

What You'll Need

  • Thread (craft, cotton or embroidery)
  • Thumbtack or awl
  • Scissors
  • Sewing needle
  • Pen
  • Clips

Digitize Your Collection

If space is at a minimum, consider digitizing your collection of received cards. You can take pictures of each card, save them wherever you store important photographs, and discard the paper. Alternatively, you can scan the cards into your computer and save them there. You could even recycle your cards once they have been digitized.

What You'll Need

  • A camera, cell phone, or document scanner
  • A digital space for storage

Have HelloFrom do all Your Card Organization for You!

Organizing your greeting cards does not have to be a chore. If you want to take all of the stress out of planning greeting cards, sign-up for HELLOFROM! Our state-of-the-art planning tools will help you stay organized no matter how busy you are — especially if you do not have time to shop. Connect with our experts today to get started. Need more ideas for how to store cards? Let us know