This simple system will help you with organizing greeting cards and sending them on time, every time! Such a great way to show your loved ones how much they mean to you!
I may be in my 30s, but when my birthday rolled around last month, I still got super excited when I opened up the mailbox and found cards addressed to me! There's just something so special about getting an actual card in the mail (especially when it includes a personal note!) that makes me feel so loved.
The Problem: Lack of a Solid System
But as much as I love receiving cards, admittedly, I used to be pretty terrible about sending them at all, let alone on time.
I had the best intentions. I loved the important people in my life and wanted to recognize their special days! But my scatterbrained tendencies seemed to take over in this area. And by the time I realized that I should have sent a card and/or gift, it was often too late.
But as I mentioned, my people are important to me. The excuse that "I'm bad at sending cards" just wasn't cutting it anymore. I wanted to make sure my family members and friends knew that they were special to me on their big days.
When I have an issue like this-- a new habit or routine I want to build-- I will create a system to help me make the new habit as easy as it could possibly be. So I set out to come up with an organized system for sending birthday, anniversary, and other cards on time, every single time.
How to Get into the Habit of Sending Cards (And Organizing Greeting Cards Once and For All!)
Interestingly enough, it was one of my loved ones-- my cousin, Laura-- who helped me come up with the card-sending system that has worked really well for me!
Laura and I are only 4 months apart in age. We have been buddies our entire lives. Not only did we bond over creating roller skating dance routines to Amy Grant songs and reenacting SNL skits when we were younger (🤣), but our mutual love of both creativity and organization led us to our current jobs as adults as well!
Laura and her husband Justin run a cute and quirky card shop called Cards Don't Matter (Yeah...write!) that has totally reinvented the way people shop for and send cards. Their unique strategy not only makes total and complete sense, but it is also responsible for helping me get out of my card-sending slump for good.
Here is the card-sending system that has been a total game changer for me...
Step 1- Make a list.
Lists are always the answer, amiright?! 😉
The very first thing I did when I set out to be more intentional about making my loved ones feel special on their big days was to make a list of everyone I wanted to send cards to throughout the year.
I wrote down birthdays and anniversaries. I thought about special holidays like Father's Day and Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. And I was sure to include any recurring card-giving events that I wanted to remember. For each category, I wrote the person's name and the date of the event on my list.
Then I moved my focus specifically to the coming year. I noted anyone I knew had a big event coming up-- weddings, babies, graduations, retirements, etc.
To help me organize my thoughts, you know I always use a pretty printable. But this time I didn't even have to make it myself! Laura and Justin already had the perfect pages to help me get my card list organized. You can click the button below to snag these cute freebies!
Step 2- Organize the list by date.
After I had written down every single person I wanted to make sure I sent a card to throughout the year, I organized the events chronologically so I could easily see what cards needed to go out each month.
I ended up having 34 entries on my list. And my list making process only took me about 20 minutes to complete. (Again, you can snag the free pages to make your organized card-giving list here.)
Step 3- Set reminders in the calendar app on your phone.
Once my organized list was complete, I knew that my scatterbrained self would need reminders of all of the important dates that I wanted to remember.
I took a few minutes and set up notifications in the calendar app on my phone. They will alert me five days before each birthday, anniversary, or other event on my list is set to take place.
Once I had my list created and all of my reminders in place, all I needed were the cards!
Step 4- Buy cards in batches.
This is where the real magic happens!
I have always been a big fan of batching tasks to save time. For the blog, I try to "batch" my photo shoots as often as possible. I take photos for multiple posts at one time so I only have to set up my gear once and come away with tons of content. (Editing photos in batches make it go quicker too!)
I also prefer to do chores in batches. For example, I do all of our laundry at once on the weekends so it's not hanging over my head all week long. I try to do all of my shopping and errands on one day so I don't have to spend more time making multiple trips.
So it only makes sense that I would do my card buying in batches too!
How I Remember to Batch My Card Buying
Remember how I said that the Cards Don't Matter shop is completely unique? They only open their [virtual] doors once per quarter. This helps normally scatterbrained folks (like me!) and procrastinators (also like me!) to get all of their cards for the next three months all at once. That way, they have all of the cards they need and are prepared for every occasion!
Our brains are weird. There is something about having a deadline that makes us stop putting off a task and finally take action on it. So CDM's quarterly shop acts as a reminder and forces me to get my booty in gear while they're open so I can make sure I have a stash of the cutest cards in all the land any time I need them.
My type-A side gets pretty giddy every time a loved one's birthday rolls around and I can just head to my card stash and pull out the perfectly chosen card I had already purchased for them a few months prior. 🎉
I don't have to run to the store last minute and choose from whatever generic cards are left over. I already have cute, fun cards for everyone on my list! Yippee! It brings so much peace of mind knowing that I am prepared in advance for all upcoming holidays and events.
Oh and while you're browsing, don't forget to...
Step 5- Grab a few extra cards for unexpected events.
I love only having to think about card shopping once per quarter. But no matter how much I plan, there will always be things that pop up last minute. Birthday parties for my kids' friends. Surgeries or illnesses for which I want to send get well cards. Promotions or other exciting life events that aren't always planned out in advance. And so on.
So while I'm doing my quarterly card shop, I take a look at my stash and make sure I have a few extra cards in each of the following categories...
- Birthday Cards (Since I have boys, I especially make sure to stock up on cards that would be appropriate for their friends' birthday parties.)
- Thank You Cards
- Get Well Soon Cards
- Sympathy Cards or Thinking of You Cards
- General Congratulations Cards
Depending on your current phase of life, your card stash might look very similar to or very different than mine. But having a few extras in your most used categories is always a good idea!
Step 6- Use a box with tabbed dividers for organizing greeting cards by date and/or category.
Since I keep cards for upcoming events well stocked, I want to make sure I can find them when the time comes!
When I order cards from Cards Don't Matter, I can put in the date of my event and person I'm purchasing cards for. Then they will automatically bundle my cards by month for me! Amazing!
Whenever I receive the monthly bundles, I pop them into my little card box, which has tabbed dividers for each month.
I keep my extras near the back of the box, behind tabs that are labeled by category.
[This cute storage box is from Cards Don't Matter too! You can snag one here!]
I keep my card organizer in my office so it's always easily accessible. (My boys also know where it is kept and will raid it whenever they need a card as well!)
When I'm organizing greeting cards by month and/or category, I can easily find whatever card I'm looking for, whether it's a card that I've picked out for a specific person or one that's just part of my general stash.
Step 7- Write a quick note and send off the cards to their recipients!
If you've completed each of the steps up to this point, you should start getting alerts telling you when it's time to send out the cute cards you've chosen for your loved ones.
When the alert pops up, simply head to the spot where you're keeping your cards organized, and pull out the one you've picked for that person.
Write a quick note, address and stamp your envelope, and send it on its way! (Or give it in person if that's an option!)
And then just prepare yourself for how special your loved one will feel that you remembered their big day. 🙂 The best!
Mission: Organizing Greeting Cards Complete! Happy Card Giving!
Cards are so awesome because unlike most "stuff" we receive that will wear out or go out of style, the kind and thoughtful words we share with the recipients can make them feel loved for a long time to come. I still have cards that I get out and reread whenever I'm feeling down!
Especially in this age of quick and impersonal communication, getting a physical, personalized card in the mail brings a surge of excitement. And it is such a delight to be able to give that feeling to the important people in my life.
If you're looking to improve your hand-written love life, start by getting organized and then simply follow through with your plan! You will be amazed at the positive impact you make on your loved ones' lives!
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Thank you so much for following along! Have a wonderful day!