In this digital age, people really cherish items that are handwritten or handcrafted, especially when they’re from the people closest to you. Over the years, those cards and letters can start to pile up, leaving you feeling more overwhelmed than appreciated. That’s when it’s time to take charge and find a purpose for those sentimental cards and letters you’ve held on to. Sort through your cards and display the ones that make you happiest. Repurpose the festive ones and store the ones that you want to keep forever.
Displaying Sentimental Cards and Letters
Set aside cards that have the most meaning—the ones you want to see and remember most often. These are the cards and letters you want to display somewhere in your home. Gather inspiration from an art gallery and give each letter or card its own frame, then hang those frames on one wall for a dramatic impact. If you have keepsakes you want to display with the card, consider putting those items in a shadow box and displaying that on the wall.
How do you know what to display? “Obviously a very old love letter from an ex should not be framed, but one from your current partner could be framed and put somewhere discreet where only you might see it,” recommends Apartment Therapy writer Laure Joliet. “It’s a nice way to bring the personal into your home and to help tell the story of your relationship.”
Another option would be to turn sentimental cards into a scrapbook or a special album. Professional organizer Nancy McGivney recommends cards and letters be treated like kids’ artwork. “Keep only the best. Then make a holiday album you store with the seasonal decor to remember great holidays past,” she adds. With some chipboard, a hole punch and some rings, you can create an album of cards that is special to you.
Repurposing Sentimental Cards and Letters
Many people hang on to items thinking, “My grandmother would be devastated if I got rid of that.” That’s a good time to return the item to the person who values it. One neat idea you could use for cards and letters that are sentimental, but that you don’t necessarily want to keep, is to package them up and return them to the person who sent them to you. The Art of Simple writer Katie Clemons recalls when someone sent a package like this to her grandmother. “It was filled with about 24 letters and Christmas cards that she had written to her closest college friend over the years! Getting those letters back was like receiving a time capsule. It was the first time we got to learn about my dad’s first Christmas.”
For those cards that you’re just not sure what to do with, cut out the images and turn them into cute gift tags. If you don’t have the time for that, or if you’re not crafty, consider donating your cards to the Recycled Cards Program offered through St. Jude’s Ranch for Children.
Storing Sentimental Cards and Letters
Storing those items that are sentimental to you is easy with today’s technology. Scan items into your computer, and then organize them into folders. For example, you could create a folder on your computer titled “Mother’s Day 2014” and then store images of cards and drawings, and even photos of the kids holding their drawings in that folder.
Storing the actual item is a little more sensitive because cards, letters and ink can deteriorate over time. “If you would like to store some items in a box, make sure it is waterproof, sealed and limited in size,” recommends Claire Kurtz. “In order to not grow beyond the chosen size box, maintain a strategy of removing one item before adding a new one.” Make sure to store this box in a climate-controlled storage unit to ensure your valuables won’t be damaged by heat, cold or moisture.
When it comes to those items that are most precious to you, make sure you handle them with care. Take the time to display, repurpose and store each card and letter to ensure it will last a lifetime. You’ll have the joy of pulling these memories out of your self-storage unit and sharing them with the next generation.
Katie Clemons, “What to do with old cards and letters,” The Art of Simple, http://theartofsimple.net/what-to-do-with-old-cards-and-letters/
Kara G. Morrison, “8 tips on how to declutter and let go of sentimental items,” The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com/style/hfe/decor/articles/2009/08/05/20090805bigpurge.html
Laure Joliet, “5 Ways to Keep Love Letters & Sentimental Collections,” Apartment Therapy, http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/5-ways-to-keep-love-letters-an-127302
Claire Kurtz, “Sentimental Clutter: How to Manage, Store, and Let Go,” The Well-Organized Woman, http://thewellorganizedwoman.com/2012/06/22/sentimental-clutter-how-to-manage-store-and-let-go/
Kayla Danelle, “Keeping Your Cards,” Kayla Danelle, http://www.kayladanelle.com/2012/06/keeping-your-cards.html