Uncluttering holiday greeting cards

December is the greeting-card season and even though a number of people are moving toward e-cards (or at least e-newsletters, full of family updates) many of us still get a number of physical cards. After they’ve been read and displayed, what do you do with them? The following are suggestions for preventing holiday cards from cluttering up your space after the holidays:

  1. Toss them into the recycling bin. I do this immediately with some of the cards, particularly the ones that aren’t personal at all. I don’t need to keep a card from my dentist. And, after the holidays, even more go into my recycling bin.
  2. Scan them. I scan the newsletters from people I care about. Then, I recycle the physical copy.
  3. Organize them in a nice storage box or in an album. I do this with the cards I really want to save because they came from dear friends or family members and they have lovely personal notes written inside or they are photo cards where I definitely want to keep the photo. I limit the number of cards I can save to what fits into the box, because that’s all the space I want to give to this type of memorabilia.

    While the box I use isn’t acid-free and lignin-free, you might want to get one that is, especially if you’re expecting to keep the cards for a long time or perhaps pass some of them down to your children or other family members. University Products even has a special greeting card storage box. You can also find greeting card albums with polypropylene sleeves — polypropylene being one of the plastics that won’t damage your cards.

  4. Put them away with the holiday decorations. I save a few cards mostly because I love the covers, and I pull them out each year to grace my refrigerator door or another surface.
  5. Donate them. After a time of being overloaded and not taking cards any more, St. Jude’s Ranch is once again accepting used cards for its recycled card program — although it can’t take any from Hallmark, Disney, or American Greeting. The program takes all sorts of cards, not just holiday cards; birthday and thank you cards are especially needed.
  6. Put the covers of selected cards on the inside of cabinet doors. I do this with non-holiday cards; it’s an idea I stole from one of my best friends when I saw her doing this. Now, whenever I open a cabinet door in my kitchen, I’m greeted by something that makes me smile.
  7. Use them for craft projects. The web is full of ideas for this, from Martha Stewart to Pinterest boards. You can make bookmarks, gift tags, ornaments, an advent calendar, and much more. If you don’t do crafts yourself, there may be schools, senior centers, or other community organizations that would like to have these for their own craft projects. (But they may appreciate the donation more next November and December, rather than in January. Please call ahead.)

As you’re receiving holiday cards, give thought to what you’ll do with them come January so you don’t wind up with greeting card clutter.

11 Comments for “Uncluttering holiday greeting cards”

  1. posted by Sandra Hollywood on

    As a kindergarten teacher, I always saved my Christmas cards and took them to school with me the following year for students to use for crafts. Now that I am retired, I send them to school with my grandchildren. Teachers can use them in so many ways!

  2. posted by Cindy on

    There are two things save the fronts of Christmas cards for: 1. I use them for thank you notes for Christmas gifts I’ve received. It only requires a post card stamp. 2. I also save the extras from each year until I have enough to use as Christmas postcards another year. Lots of saving that year because I don’t purchase cards, just postcard stamps.

  3. posted by Robyn @ Living the Simple Life Now on

    Recycle bin for me! I keep them in a stack on top of the entertainment center (in a basket preferably). Once I’ve seen them, I’m good, but hubby likes to look at them several times. Then come Jan., “Hello” recycling bin! :)

  4. posted by Lisa on

    I use them for journaling pages…writing on the back side of the picture…or in scrapbooking.

  5. posted by infmom on

    Oooo… scan the newsletters! I have been saving quite a few of those from friends and relatives who are no longer with us. I just got a Doxie Go scanner a couple months ago. I will dig out the newsletters and scan them all. Thank you!

    Cards usually get displayed on our mantel till whenever I take the decorations down. Then they get recycled.

  6. posted by Kyra on

    I cut them up and use the blank sides for recipes or scratch note paper. If used for recipes, I try to get the picture so it shows on the other side. Write or tape cuttings onto them.

  7. posted by Ella on

    If there’s no writing on the back of the image, I cut them down and repurpose them as small gift tags. I may also slip a card from a favorite friend into a favorite book. Coming across these bookmark cards years later is a sweet surprise.

  8. posted by Colleen on

    when I get one of the great photo cards, I snap a picture with my cell phone and use that as their “contact id” – always makes me smile when they call & I see their picture!

  9. posted by Maggie on

    You might also check with your local school… our art teacher collects cards of all kind for recycled materials projects. :-)

  10. posted by Melinda on

    I also support the green idea and beleive that they could be very useful for some massive recycling project. This way you will not bother to store them. Also won’t be necessary to toss them into the garbage (totally disrespectful).

  11. posted by Nicole W. on

    The inside of the cabinets is an awesome idea! I also like Cindy’s idea to use them as postcards! Thanks, Unclutterer!

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