Reflect on the past year and all the well wishes you’ve received from family and friends with these 5 tips and ideas for keeping special cards and notes.
If you are like me, you have a goal to get more organized this year. One way you can get organized and also reflect on the past is by going through all the cards and notes you kept from family, friends and other loved ones over the last twelve months. Today we’re sharing 5 tips and ideas for keeping special cards and notes.
what to do with cards from family and friends
I don’t know about you, but the start of a new year always makes me a little sentimental. I enjoy looking back on the changes in my life from the past year as well as the goals I achieved (or didn’t!). Often times, these milestone events come with special cards and notes from family and close friends with well wishes and words of encouragement and kindness.
Throughout the year as I receive Valentine’s and Mother’s Day cards from my boys, birthday cards from friends, an anniversary card from my husband, etc. I toss them in a basket on our kitchen counter or in our office.
Then at the start of the new year, I gather all the old cards from the past year and put them away for safekeeping using a method I learned years ago from my friend, Misty. These are the 5 tips and ideas for keeping special cards and notes I learned from her.
5 Tips and Ideas for Keeping Special Cards and Notes
Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links for products or services we think you’ll like. This means if you make a purchase from one of these links, we’ll make a small commission at no additional cost to you so we can keep the great ideas for the home coming your way. All opinions expressed are our own, derived from our personal experience.
How to Pick out the cards you want to save
First you need to go through every nook and cranny of your home to find where you stashed the special cards and notes you received last year. Once you have a nice pile of them, you need to determine how you want to save them for the future.
Two common ways of preserving cards and notes are in a bundle or in a scrapbook. While I do think it’s important to be your family’s historian and keep an annual scrapbook, I typically create digital scrapbooks so I can easily have two copies printed – one for each of my boys.
Keeping special cards in a bundle – 5 tips
While I could scan the special cards and notes to add to my digital scrapbook, I prefer to hit the easy button and go with the bundle method. Here’s what I do:
1. sort the cards
Pour yourself a cup of tea, a mug of coffee, a glass of wine or your favorite beverage, put on a little relaxing music and read through all the cards you kept last year. Savor the kind words, accolades, and encouragement that your loved ones have bestowed upon you this past year.
Some may make you cry. Others will make you laugh until your sides ache. Either way, it can be cathartic to relive those big moments from the last 365 days.
2. Keep the ones that pass the rocking chair test
As you’re going through the special cards and notes, start sorting them into piles and keep only those that are the most precious.
I think of it as “The Rocking Chair Test.” Once these cards get stored away, I probably won’t look at them for years or maybe even for decades. Will the card I’m holding now mean as much to me when I’m 80 years old sitting in my rocking chair reflecting back on my life? Will I even remember who it’s from or the story that goes along with it? If the answer is no, the card gets tossed aside into the recycling pile.
I always keep the special cards and notes with long or heartfelt handwritten notes. I also keep the cards with sentimental printed messages or inside jokes as I know the sender spent time choosing the perfect one that matched the occasion.
I also keep the holiday photo cards I received from my closest friends and family members. If I received any special e-mails throughout the year, I might print those to save too. I throw away or recycle any that have just basic messages and a quick signature.
3. Tie them up with ribbon
Once I have a pile of special cards and notes I want to keep, I put them into a nice tidy stack. Then I tie them up with pretty ribbon like a package. If the ribbon is long enough, I’ll even make a bow. This makes the special cards and notes look more like a present. After all that’s what they truly are, right? — a precious gift from your nearest and dearest!
4. label the bundle with the date
Write the year and what this bundle is on a sticky note or index card and slip it under the ribbon. This will help you remember when you’re sitting in the rocking chair going through them again when you’re 80! I often like to put a copy of our own family Christmas card from the year near the top of the stack before I tie the ribbon around it for this reason too.
5. place the cards in a plastic tote
Last, but not least store your bundles of special cards and notes in a large plastic tote or bin. While I sincerely hope your storage room or basement never gets flooded, you’ll want your cherished keepsakes to be protected from water damage, just in case. If you really want them to be well protected, you could also consider putting the MOST precious of the special cards and notes in a fireproof/waterproof safe.
With these 5 tips and ideas for keeping special cards and notes, your efforts to save them today will bring back so many memories for you in years to come. Many of those cards and notes may even become cherished family heirlooms for your children and grandchildren. You won’t regret it!
Do you have other great ideas for keeping special cards and notes from the past year? Please comment below and share. We’re always looking for new ideas.
While you’re here, be sure to check out these other organization tips on Ideas for the Home by Kenarry® –
- 22 Insanely Creative DIY Home Organization Hacks
- How to Organize Baking Supplies in Your Kitchen
- Closet Organization: Three Ideas to Make It Easier
If you enjoyed these ideas for keeping special cards and notes, please share them with your friends or pin them for later:
Updated February 2020.