I have a confession to make...sending out greeting cards hasn't always been my favorite thing. While I'm typically a very organized person, this one task used to always get the best of me. I'd forget to buy the cards...if I bought them, I'd forget I'd done so and didn't get them mailed out in time. I'd have it all addressed and ready to go, and I couldn't find a stamp. Aarg! It may seem antiquated to send out paper cards through the mail, but it feels so great to receive a birthday card that I love being able to give that small joy to others.
I've been working on perfecting a card organization scheme for a few years now (although things have slipped a little the last couple of years...sorry family) and I think this year will be the most successful one yet. Let me share with you how I plan to send out birthday, anniversary and special occasion cards on time to all of the important people in my life all year!
Step 1: Organize your address book. This year, I wanted to ditch this old address book/card organizer. It has served me well for many years now, but it's just so bulky and cumbersome and so many of the addresses have been scratched out and rewritten. It looks cluttered and so it makes me feel cluttered and I can do better. Cue the brand new Moleskine Address book. It's small and neat and doesn't have any 'form' structure inside so I can add whatever information I choose about each person without having empty fields. Once all of my contacts were accounted for, I was ready to move on to Step 2...
Step 2: Prepare for your shopping trip. You'll need a list of all the people and occasions you need to purchase cards for that you can take with you. I sat down and wrote out all the birthdays and all the anniversaries and their corresponding dates. This is a form I can use from year to year, so I made a couple of copies to keep. I took one copy with me when I purchased cards and checked each name off as I went to make sure I didn't miss anyone. You can download this form I used as a FREE PRINTABLE through Google Drive! Just click on the image below to print or save. Enjoy!
Step 3: Buy all of the cards for the whole year at the same time. Now, if you're a loyal Hallmark shopper, this might be a hefty chunk of change to drop all at once. I am personally of the opinion that it's the thought that counts, and not how much you spent on the card, and I would prefer to write a special message inside in addition to the sentiment of the card to increase it's 'value', so I buy all my cards at Dollar Tree. They're 2 for $1, so I spent about $20 for the entire year on birthday and anniversary cards. I also picked up several sets of blank notecards to keep on hand (8 cards in a pack for $1--that's a great deal!) I will also need Mother's Day/Father's Day cards, and Thanksgiving and Christmas cards to send to the family members we won't be seeing this year, but those can be purchased as they become available since they're seasonal items.
Pro Tip 1: If you're having trouble deciding on just one card for one person for one occasion, you can also buy extras and save them for future years.
Pro Tip 2: Don't forget the envelopes--and make sure they fit!
Pro Tip 3: As someone who worked at Hallmark many years ago, help the cashier out by slipping your card face down under the flap of its corresponding envelope. That way the cashier doesn't have to flip each card over to scan the bar code on the back (which isn't a big deal for a few cards, but takes A LONG TIME if you're buying a bunch) They will thank you for it, and so will everyone behind you in line!
Step 4: Organize! I DO NOT write a personal message in the cards until I'm ready to send them, but I DO sort, order and address the envelopes right away. I place each card into it's proper envelope, and then write who it's for and what occasion on the inside of the flap along with the date it should arrive by. I DO write out the address on the front and stamp it with our return address stamp (stickers are also great!). I DO NOT put a stamp on it right away, although you definitely could with Forever Stamps. (If for some reason I did not send the card, I wouldn't want to have wasted the stamp or have to scrape it off to reuse) I DO keep a couple of books of stamps in the storage box with the cards so I always have some handy. Once each envelope is prepared, I order them by date, with their flaps open so I can see what card needs to go out next.
Step 5: Figure out the best place to store them. This one is tricky at our house. We have a curious little one who likes to get into everything and a decided lack of horizontal spaces. I purchased a small box at IKEA to store the cards in. The stack of cards that are ready to mail out are propped vertically against the surplus cards I have in reserve to send 'as needed' (such as thank you, get well and sympathy cards). You should choose a storage area that is accessible but not in the way. And don't put them so far OUT of the way that they'll be 'out of sight, out of mind'--then all your hard work will be for naught!
Step 6: Pat yourself on the back for being so on top of things. You'll feel good knowing you're prepared to send out cards for the whole year!
What's your organizational strategy for commemorating important dates? Share your tips below :)