What to do with greeting cards?
July 21, 2007 1:26 PM   Subscribe

What can I suggest my partner do with a huge stack of greeting cards he kept?

I am a fan of spartan living and decluttering. I have only kept a couple of sentimental cards I have received throughout my life. My partner, however, keeps all cards he receives--birthday cards, congratulations cards, greetings from a number of different holidays and stacks of cards from family from three different graduations. More often than not, nothing is written inside them except "Love, (family member)". All the cards take up a considerable amount of space. He doesn't like throwing them out.

Aside from tossing all but the most sentimental cards (my favorite solution), what are some space-saving ways we can organize and keep these cards? I suppose an album would work, but I highly doubt it would ever get opened, and that too would take up shelf space. We are not typically into crafty DIY projects (like creating a card quilt, etc.).
posted by sian to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Scan them and store them electronically.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:36 PM on July 21, 2007

Just let him keep them all. Get a nice storage box that fits under your bed or in the closet. That's not clutter, that's storage. And don't try to talk him out of it, they belong to him.
posted by The Deej at 1:43 PM on July 21, 2007

Storing them electronically is a neat idea. Then, take the paper cards and donate them to an elementary classroom or special education classroom. I teach special ed., and we use the pictures from the fronts of recycled cards all the time.
posted by I_love_the_rain at 1:49 PM on July 21, 2007

Get some of those photo storage boxes and stack them in there according to the event or the year. I have a file cabinet that is really mostly file folders with years written on them and al the mail I got that year [like personal mail, not bills and junk]. I like going back through it to get a feel for what 2002 must have been like, etc. If you lived in a big house, I'd say use them to paper one wall of a rarely-used bathroom or something. I do agree with The Deej though if he's stated that he wants to keep them, finding ways to declutter that include getting rid of them are probably not the way to go. You have other problems if a few boxes of greeting cards are the line between order and chaos.
posted by jessamyn at 1:53 PM on July 21, 2007

Response by poster: Oh, this is not a dealbreaker issue or anything; it's just a thing I've been wondering about off an on every time we clean for the past two years or so. We both enjoy paring things down--for example, together we owned over 400 CDs and by giving away the jewel cases on Freecycle, we managed to cram them all into one CD case, which freed up an entire three-tier shelf. If we can free up an entire drawer of the filing cabinet by scanning the cards (which is a pretty good idea), that would be great!
posted by sian at 2:07 PM on July 21, 2007

It's hard for me to imagine discarding personal correspondence of any kind. If a partner suggested that I should scan in even some of my cards and throwing them out, I would find it pretty insensitive, despite otherwise enjoying paring things down, as you say. Obviously you know your partner best, but if you really saw eye-to-eye on this issue most of the cards would already be gone.

But you don't need to keep them in the filing cabinet, which you should reserve for stuff you need random access to. Under-bed storage box might be better.
posted by grouse at 2:49 PM on July 21, 2007

Tricky one. Think about future habits. What seems unimportant now may seem more important later.

In the past, I personally would have thrown all such things out, but my wife has changed my ways a little, and I regret not having kept even a small amount of memorabilia from earlier on in life.

When we got married, at first I resisted keeping birthday and father's day cards, etc, but then discovered the fun of looking back at them - particularly the ones from my kids when they were small.

So now I have a box in my nightstand that can hold a fair few, but not too many to occasionally cull. I always get given my cards when I'm in bed in the morning, so they stay on the nightstand for a few days, then go in the box if they're worthy.

I also now have to keep (and wear) the various ties I was given... now there's a storage nightmare...
posted by blue_wardrobe at 3:35 PM on July 21, 2007

I like the idea of getting him a storage box and establishing a sorting system. Better yet, if he sorts them himself, he may well find that a few of them can move on.
posted by Riverine at 5:39 PM on July 21, 2007

How much is "a considerable amount of space"? Are we talking a closet-load full of cards? Don't you have some out of the way space in your apt./house where he can store them in a box or two and forget them? So that it wouldn't spoil your "spartan living" ideal?

Hand-written cards are going the way of the dodo--don't expedite the process.
posted by zardoz at 1:28 AM on July 22, 2007

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