Organizing My Greeting Cards | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Organizing My Greeting Cards

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Organizing My Greeting Cards

As promised in the gift wrap post, this post will show how I recently reorganized my greeting cards.  Some people do not need a system for organizing greeting cards because they just buy a card whenever they need one.  And there are so many digital options for greetings now that greeting cards are probably sent less often than in the past.   I don't send as many greeting cards as I used to, but we always give a card with a gift, and I like to mail or deliver encouragement cards from time to time, so I still need to keep a supply of those.   So, I need an organized system for my cards so they do not get overwhelming. 

I was given a card organizer a few years ago.  It's so pretty and comes with 24 note cards with beautiful flowers on them (2 for each month).  It's organized with pockets for each month to keep your cards in.  There's also a spot for writing the details of the occasions in each month and there is an address book at the back.  I really love it, but it's not big enough for the amount of cards I have ( I am still using the cards that came with it though!).  An organizer like this is a great option though for people who don't stock up on cards as much as I do.

I tend to buy boxes of cards for a variety of occasions or purposes which is usually cheaper per card than when I buy them individually.   I have boxes such as birthday, thinking of you, get well, thank you, and all occasion cards, as well as a ton of blank notes.   When I took the picture at the beginning of this post I saw the price on some of these boxes:

Yes, that's $1.00! What a deal!  

I also still have some packages of thank you cards left over from our wedding (from 1998!).  They are pretty and we paid a lot for them (I wasn't as thrifty then!) so I plan to still use them as thank you cards. 

All together, I typically have 12-15 boxes of greeting cards as well as a bunch of loose cards. 

I should mention that I do buy individual cards for very special occasions such as a 25th anniversary, a 40th birthday, or Father's Day cards from my kids to my hubby, but in order to save time and money, I buy cards in advance, when I'm already out shopping, and I keep my eyes open for a good deal.  

I've had several systems to organize my greeting cards over the years.  Initially I took the cards out of their boxes and just had them in a large box that my hubby's work boots came in, but I always had to search and search to find what I wanted.  I tried grouping like cards with elastics around them, but when the elastics got old they dried up and broke, so that wasn't a good long term solution. 

So I used most of those cards up and when I purchased more boxes of cards I kept them in their boxes and stored all the boxes in a desk drawer.  This system was better, because it was easier to find what I was looking for when the cards were in their boxes, but I rarely wrote cards at my desk and I wanted to use my desk drawers for files and office supplies. 

Next I put the boxes on 2 small shelves in my closet.  This worked fairly well but, because I store my gifts and my gift wrap in the basement, I often had to take extra steps (literally!) to wrap a gift because I usually forgot to bring the card down with me.  Or I'd wrap the gift and figure I'd write the card later and then forget.  Having the cards and the wrap on separate floors is a little thing, but we seem to have a lot of occasions for giving gifts so it became increasingly annoying.  The problem was that my basement is already cluttered (see the About Me tab for more on this), so I really didn't want to move the cards down and make the basement even more overwhelming. 

But, as we began organizing our basement a few months ago, I made it a goal to keep the greeting cards near the gift wrap and the pre-purchased gifts (look for a post on that soon!), so in the future we would always be able to access them all together.  So, when I found the blue bins for my gift wrap, I bought one for my greeting cards too.  Here they are all on the shelves in the basement (the greeting card one is on the top right):

Before arranging everything in my new greeting card bin, I purged my cards significantly.  I had some that were rather old and I was pretty sure I would not use them.  After all, if I hadn't used them yet, why was I still holding on to them?!  I also had a lot of duplicate ones so I purged some of them.  And I sorted all those blank note cards and set some of those aside to give away.  I freecycled all those purged cards and someone else is enjoying them now.

One of the things I didn't like about keeping the cards in their boxes was that I never knew how many cards I had in each category or what I needed to stock up on when I was shopping.  But I still wanted them grouped by category so I could find things quickly.  So, I came up with a new solution:  Ziplock bags!  I grouped like cards into piles and then put each pile in its own bag.  Here are some of my bags:

I'm so happy with this system!  The bags are see-through so I can see what I have and what I'm getting low on.  I was going to make pretty labels, but really I didn't need to label them as long as I put a card at the front of each bag that clearly showed the category, since the bags are see-through. 

I also grouped the remaining blank note cards in a pretty purple box so whenever I want one I can just look through that box.  

When I organized the inside of the bin I put some bags upright and some flat but I arranged them in such a way that the ones I use the most (birthday and especially kids' birthday!) are in the middle and at the top.  I've got a few small packages of kids' thank you cards and some extra envelopes in there too.  Here's what it looks like inside the bin:

It's not as pretty inside as I'd like but it really is organized.  It's been this way for about a month now and it's working great.  The system is easy to maintain and easy to use for anyone in the family.  And no more running up 2 flights of stairs and back to get a card that I forgot to bring down! 

How do you organize your greeting cards?  Or are you all digital now?  Please share your tips so others can bring their greeting cards from overwhelming to organized.

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!