Favorite Things 5: Card Basket

I like sending people real snail mail, so I love having a supply of greeting cards on hand ready for any occasion.

The strategy of shopping for cards as each event arises has typically led to me browsing the “belated” section. So I’ve learned to buy modest piles all at once – mostly birthday and thank you cards, a few wedding, anniversary, baby and general congrats cards, some holidays, some blank, some for kids, some for adults, some generic, some purchased with specific people in mind – and keep them by my desk in a basket designated for stationery. [ hint: often the difference between organizational success and failure is a container – here’s a beautiful but completely different approach to keeping it all together ]

Usually I acquire cards when there is a person or event I lack an appropriate one for, so in the course of finding just the right thing for that situation, I hang on to everything else that strikes my fancy. I figure I read them all once, why come back and read all the cards again? Or I stumble onto a sale somewhere and in the same way pick up everything that I might use.

Of course, having a ready supply of cards is only half the battle. This is really about staying in touch with people I care about and a bit more organization is required to make that happen. Having stamps on hand is a big help, so next time you’re at the PO and the clerk asks if you need any stamps today, say yes even though you pay all your bills online.

What really helps, though, is knowing when the important events occur in your friend’s and family’s lives (colleagues and clients, too!). Earlier this year I finally updated my Master List of Important Dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) and entered them into my computer calendar with reminders set to about a week beforehand. Now when Grandma’s birthday pops up, I turn to my basket o’ greeting card goodness, make my selection, add my personal sentiments, and drop in in the mail before her birthday.

This really began with an intention to be kinder and more generous to others, to remember and acknowledge the people important to me more often. Having a simple system in place makes building the habit of sending thank you cards and following through on those calendar reminders much easier to follow through on. I feel Emily Post would be proud.

But there’s always room for improvement.
In a perfect world, I would hand-make all those cards…

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