Organizing Keepsakes and Old Cards You’re Saving
Ideas for Organizing Keepsakes
While putting our Christmas decorations into the attic after the holidays, I noticed boxes that I had not opened in the fifteen years we have lived in our current home. I decided it was time to do a little of my own purging, so I brought down a box from the attic filled with cards from family and friends and love notes from my husband. As I sat at the kitchen table sorting through the box, I recalled memories connected to the handmade cards from my boys and my husband’s affection for me put into words. There were also cards inherited from my mom upon her passing that I had given her in years past. With tears in my eyes, I realized how incredibly blessed I am, but seeing the cards reminded me how much I missed her.
I inherited many things when my mother died, including the hundreds of cards she kept in a container under her bed. One by one I went through each card and only kept a handful. To me, the most important pieces were those that my dad gave her, some from my mom’s mom, and of course the cards I gave her.
That evening I tackled the cards I had given my mom. I read notes that I wrote as a young mom, telling my mother how thankful I was to her for teaching me how to be a good mom to my then young boys. This was one of my most difficult organizing projects, but I pushed through the emotions and am proud of the results.
Now that Valentine’s Day has passed, I thought it would be fitting to talk about what to do with the cards and love notes you may have packed away. ***Warning: Reading your keepsakes will be a slow process, and crying may occur, but you will be glad to have saved the special ones to pass down to your children as a reminder of your joyful life.
It’s time to find your box of cards and notes and learn how to sort them out. It is not a bad idea to keep some of your favorite cards, but too many can take up precious storage space in your home. Then, ask yourself if you really want to leave your family with decisions to make over boxes and boxes of cards. If you weed out the cards you can live without, the value of the chosen few will be evident to your family.
Sorting the cards and deciding which ones to keep
Begin the sorting process by grouping items based on the card recipient. For example, make a pile for each of your children, one for yourself, and another for your spouse. Further separate the piles by sorting by the giver.
After all the sorting is done, open each item and see if there are any interesting notes written by the sender. Unless you only have one card that is signed from your grandmother, throw out anything with just a name or a short comment. Many times a card will have a name, the words I Love You, or some other short and sweet sentiment, so be picky about the ones you keep. I personally choose to keep only the very special ones from the 25 years of anniversary cards from my husband.
If the card is worth saving, take the date from the envelope and write it on the back of the card. Throw away the envelope and your cards will take up 50% less space.
As painful as it may seem, I recommend throwing out cards from friends or sympathy cards from the passing of family members. Unless they have special messages or you display them with photographs, they often just become clutter. Cards and notes are perfect at the moment you need them, but after a time it is best to let them go.
Once you have narrowed down your sorted piles, see if you can sort through them one more time. This time, ask yourself what type of card you would want to inherit from your mom or dad. If you do not want all the clutter coming from your parent’s estate into your home, how are your kid’s going to feel about your clutter?
Storing the cards
Now it is time to manage the items you chose to save. Rubber band or clip the groupings within each pile, then place each person’s cards in a plastic zipper bag. Mark the bags with a note in or on the bag designating the recipient. Store the cards and notes long-term in the attic or a less valuable storage space such as a high shelf in a closet.
You can purchase cute containers to store your cards, but unless you plan to go through them on a regular basis, they will not be visible in your home. I would rather save money and use rubber bands, clips, baggies, and a plastic storage container to keep them organized.
I hope you will make the time to go through your tucked away boxes and bags of love notes and cards. Keep the ones you love the most and let the rest go. Your family will appreciate your care and you will be passing on special memories from your eventful life. Happy Tears!
Lorraine Brock is a professional organizer, family coach, speaker, and founder and owner of Get Organized! Get Organized! is a professional organizing company in the Dallas, Texas area. Get Organized! specializes in organizing and de-cluttering homes as well as implementing systems in the home for better family management. A popular media guest, Lorraine has appeared on Dallas’ two top morning television shows: Good Morning Texas and Good Day Fox, and has been featured on various radio outlets. She has been hallmarked in many local, regional, and national print and online magazines, such as the Dallas Morning News, The North Texas Kids Magazine, SheKnows.com, and Daily Candy Kids. To get more information about Lorraine, visit www.GetOrganized.ws.