Welcome to the world of organizing! I am inviting you to join me on a monthly journey; our destination is a clutter-free lifestyle for your home or small office. Our journey will not require you to pack a bag, separate your liquids and gels, or remove your jacket, shoes, belt, or jewelry.
It will begin with reviewing the many catalysts in our lives that lead us to the path of gaining control of our clutter and creating an organized life. Perhaps you are going through a life change and you are now responsible for managing your household finances where it was previously handled by someone else who is no longer around to assist. Or, you are planning for a move in the next one to five years and you know in your heart that you need to get your act together to clear your “stuff” before you can put your house on the market. Maybe you are a first-time mom and your extra bedroom that was previously your home office is now a nursery, and you still need a place to pay your bills and manage your household finances and affairs.
These homebound cold and snowy days of winter are a special time for us to turn off and tune out the world, and get to that list of “to dos” that have been piling up for months, maybe even years. Today I would like to focus on the topic of greeting cards. Yes, you heard me right, greeting cards!
Over the recent holiday season you may have received many beautiful cards from your best friends or favorite relatives constructed of carefully chosen photos of their family taken on their special vacation at the beach. You may have displayed the card in your home over the holiday season, or chosen to put it in a stack of opened mail on your desk, or perhaps threw it into a file marked “personal” for future enjoyment. If you have no process in place, you will be amazed at the volume of cards that may accumulate over the years.
Here is how I handle greeting cards in my home. First I make sure I show it to my husband when he comes home from work, and then I display the cards in our foyer for a couple of days. Next step, the cards end up in the shredder. (In the interest of protecting your privacy from dumpster divers, I highly recommend that your home has a quality cross-cut shredder that remains unplugged when not in use to protect your young children and pets.) Occasionally, if the card is a fabulous one, I will keep it in my “personal mementos” file for future enjoyment. For example, this past year I celebrated a milestone birthday and I ended up saving a handful of cards that either touched my heart or tickled my funny bone.
How are you handling your greeting cards? Are you getting any enjoyment from looking at the cards, or do they represent just one more piece of clutter that is building up in your home and your head, and stressing you out? Does it annoy you that you can’t just part with them and not feel guilty?
You may be keeping cards for all the wrong reasons. It’s ok to be honest with yourself about why you save the cards that you do, and more important, it’s ok to eliminate this one form of paper clutter from your life. You may feel more comfortable tossing them (better yet, shredding them) after you have displayed them for a limited period of time. If you experience pure joy from looking at the cards, then by all means keep them for another year. But if the cards are an annoyance, then go ahead and push the guilt aside and shred them. Believe me when I write this, your friends and family are not going to come to your home looking for the holiday or birthday card that they sent to you in 2014, 2013, 2012…well you get the idea. And if they really love and respect you, they will understand that you are focused on organizing and de-cluttering your space in order to live a healthier and stress-free lifestyle.
Becoming organized and clutter free is not just about the physical “stuff” that crowds our home and office, it’s about acknowledging the clutter in our minds that bogs us down from being productive and happy. Why save anything for all the wrong reasons. Enjoy it in the moment, then move on.
Eileen Bergman may be reached by e-mail at [email protected] for feedback and suggestions for future articles.
By Eileen Bergman