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Organizing and Sorting old Greeting Cards

At Lighten up we have had to deal with our own endless shoe boxes of personal cards from the 40 something plus years of our lives. For my own personal cards I kept a small few that reside in a cedar chest. I kept greeting cards with handwritten notes and signature of loved ones. And felt good about it. But I recently opened a tub and found piles of birthday cards from every birthday my kid has had. 12 years worth. It made me smile, cringe and wonder. Does he really even want these? Do I care enough about them to store them forever just to have them trashed when he says "meh, I don't want them. Sorry." Did I really need every single card. It was time to find out.


The answer, as it turns out is no. You actually don't have to keep every card that anyone has ever given you, or to your child for that matter. Do you really think that the sender of the card remembers that very card and would be heartbroken if your upcycled, recycled or threw it away? The real question you have to ask yourself is WHY are you storing them. I still think a good rule of thumb is if a greeting card has deep personal meaning to you then it is save to be kept. And if it is kept, how should you go about storing your greeting cards? Does this card have a message you want shared with whomever opens the boxes after you have passed. Could you organized favorite private cards into a box label the box, Personal Please Burn. What if the card is a generic greeting card that is just signed, or you don't even really like the card. Lets explore what to to with greeting cards when sorting through them.


When doing the initial sort it is best to looks for the following things when deciding the greeting cards fate. If the card is damaged, icky or you don't like it, then throw it away. A card with a nice sentiment can be kept for posterity but a generic card with little to no message can be let go of. Beautiful cards with little meaning can be slated for upcycling. Don't feel bad for tossing your greeting cards. Be grateful to the sender and let the card go. If you don't know who the sender is then thank them anyway and be on your way to the next.


When beginning the greeting cards sorting process, I find it best to have all your boxes in front of you, and a clear space to work.

A box for personal cards, a box for cards to be kept, a box for cards to be upcycled and a bin for recycling and trash will help this project go faster.

Post it notes and a marker, a drink of your choice, now turn on the tunes that make you focus and get to work.

I would allow about 2 hours for the project depending on how many boxes.


Start by grabbing a bunch of cards and deciding if the greeting card is a yes, no or maybe. Put the card in the corresponding box or bin; burn, keep, upcycle. recycle/trash. Create a maybe pile if you aren't sure what box to put it in. After you have gone all the cards, take a quick break. You have a done a great job! Now go through the boxes one more time and you're done! Celebrate yourself! You have completed a task some never even attempt. Congratulations!


Here are some helpful tips on how to organize, use or store old greeting cards.

-If the card is damaged or in bad repair discard it.

-Scan the card and save it digitally.

-Upcycle your greeting cards into gift tags.

-Recycle old family holiday cards back to the family after a number of years so they can see how much their family changed over the years.

-Upcycle card for mixed media art projects.

-Create New Cards from the old.

-Frame the card and use as art.

-Use cards in journaling or scrapbooking projects.

-Store in archival boxes

-Hole punch one corner and hod together with an o ring.

I do this with postcards to create a photobook of memories.

-Ask a local school if they can use the fronts for their art program.




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