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Greeting Card Guilt—What to Do?

Ever wondered what to do with greeting cards once you've read them? Professional organizer Susan Stewart shares her thoughts and tips on this topic.

Have you ever wondered what you should do with the greeting cards you receive for your birthday or other holiday? You set them on the mantle to display them, and months later they're still there, collecting dust. Or maybe you've moved them from the mantle and shoved them in a drawer because you felt guilty about throwing them away.

If you've done either of these things, you are not alone. Because of the emotions involved in greeting cards, many people get stuck when it comes to what to do with them and they become a clutter culprit. Here are some thoughts and questions to ask yourself to help you think it through.

  • How many cards do you think you will receive over the course of your life? Is it realistic to hang on to them all? Would you go back and look at them all if you did, or would you simply shut down by the sheer amount of them?
  • Did the giver simply sign the card? If it is simply signed, you may want to display it for a few days and then let it go to the recycle bin.
  • If you are saving cards for your child, think about what they will appreciate later in adulthood. Most of us won’t be able to remember many of the guests at our first few birthday parties. Saving one to two cards per year is likely more than enough. The pictures will be more valuable than the cards.
  • The most special cards are the ones that are homemade or have something sentimental written inside but you should be selective about which of these you save as well. The ones you do choose to save can be stored in a memorabilia box or scrapbook. Remember, it’s all about having a place to put them and creating a boundary of how many to save.


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Charmaine Puttman June 21, 2012 at 08:57 PM
A fun thing to do with card if you have little ones ~ cut the front off, then as per age and ability, cut them into a jigsaw puzzle type thing. Very young kids, try 3 pieces, they should be able to put it back together. I used Christmas card my Grandma collected over many years and cut them up from a few pieces to many pieces. This was great for Girl Scouts and especially School Parties. What a way to stay within a budget : ]
Susan Stewart July 10, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Great idea Charmaine! Just make sure you actually do it or the cards will become clutter.
Deborah Russell August 03, 2012 at 02:34 PM
After each Christmas season I save the fronts of beautiful or unique cards received (only those without writing on the back side) that I want for future gift wrapping. I use double tape these become easy decorations on packages and/or gift tags for gifts. I keep one zip-lock of these cards with my holiday gift wrapping supplies.
Julie Brown Patton August 03, 2012 at 02:44 PM
That's a perfect idea, Deborah Russell. I'm going to try that. Love the recycling aspect of your concept.

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