Cards and Letters/Storage Suggestions - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 09-10-2010, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm currently decluttering. I've gotten rid of cards/letters from people I didn't know so well, that had little impact on my life, etc. I've ditched Christmas cards that just have a person's name signed on them, but kept cards with thoughtful handwritten messages.

Two questions:

How do you store old cards and letters?

How do you determine which ones to keep?

Thanks in advance! I'm trying so hard to declutter and find myself getting sentimental.
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#2 of 15 Old 09-10-2010, 11:22 PM
 
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#3 of 15 Old 09-11-2010, 04:53 AM
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i really only keep letters that are meaningful and informative. for myself, i have no such letters that were written to me, so none to keep. we live in a post-epistilary time.

but, my FIL's brother has GFIL's letters to his wife and children during his time in WWII, post WWII Germany when he was a high ranking official there, and also in Korea and as the Governor General of Korea after that conflict. These were kept in their original envelopes in a cardboard box. this is death to paper over time.

we got archival sleeves for each letter and each envelope. we put them in an archival notebook that zips closed. we returned this to DH's uncle, who keeps it in a safe deposit box.

prior to doing this, we got high resolution copies of each of them, on acid free paper (including each envelope), and then also put these in archival sleeves in notebooks that close and have a zipper. we made one for FIL and one for DH's aunt and one for ourselves, which we keep stored in a fire proof box with our important documents in the US.

This was not a small project, but i felt it was worth preserving these letters. reading them is amazing, and they are accessible and easy to read now. i put sections into the notebooks: WWII/Pacific; PWWII Germany; Korea; Korea Governor. within these big sections i put: Edith (wife), Ted, Alex, and Diane (the kids).
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#4 of 15 Old 09-12-2010, 09:06 PM
 
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How do you store old cards and letters?

-deployment letters/cards from my husband as well as 2 yrs worth of long-distance courtship cards/letters - I have gone through them with my husband and are going to place them in a very special album I found on etsy a while back of our relationship - we have so many it took us a while to go through, but they are too precious to burn!

-Special card from my Grammy (she is now passed) in my Bible (not sure why, just has always been there)

-couple other cards to me I have in my photo-safe box with photos

-several special ones for my children are in their respective memory boxes




How do you determine which ones to keep?

-I ask myself: Over time, do they still bring a special memory to me? Do they make me smile or tear up or have fond memories of that loved one? Do they have a special legacy for my or for our family? Do I have others from the same person with the same sentiment?
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#5 of 15 Old 09-13-2010, 09:10 AM
 
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In a related note, I've drastically cut back on the number of cards I give out. If it's just a random birthday card to accompany a gift, I just do a tag. Saves money, but also saves the receiver having to deal with a card after they read it. Whenever we get cards, they stay for a few days, then I give them to ds to do a craft, then recycle.
I have gotten rid of all cards except for a small grouping of letters/cards from a summer when my dh (then bf) and I were apart. They're very special, but very private, so I just keep them in a sealed envelope. I would die if my kids, or anyone else, ever read them!

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#6 of 15 Old 09-13-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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I very much agree about not giving out so many cards - there was the Hallmark phase my life in grad school that I realized was becoming too much - too much $, too much clutter for the receiver, etc. Now I will make some cards/tags and rarely buy any. Of course it helps that the majority of gifts are for family, so we will have the kiddos create some special card to accompany the present - much better than anything I could have written
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#7 of 15 Old 09-13-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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I have special cards and letters. Not a ton of them, but more than just a dozen. I am creating a "Life Journey" scrapbook series. I have worked on it in phases.

Step 1: All the photographs have been gathered and cropped and organized. The memorabilia has also been gathered and organized. I weeded out some stuff at that point, mostly bad photos/duplicates/etc.

Step 2: Things that made the cut went into magnetic pages for short-term. I kept all the cards/letters in page protectors in the chronological order within the photos in the magnetic pages.

Step 3: I have been scrapbooking everything into albums. I've been combining the aforementioned items and other paper memory-type items. Specifically for cards and letters, I usually make pockets on the page and insert the related card(s) so that they can be removed and read. Some cards have been cut up and added to the pages in "shapes" (just the image or just the words and sometimes both...whatever visually worked with my intent). Some I have "hidden" (fully intact) between the pages for my eyes only.

I have seen some scrappers do entire albums just for cards and letters...similar to what zoebird described, but less labor intensive.

Best wishes!

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#8 of 15 Old 09-18-2010, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to everyone for the wonderful advice!

I may do a scrapbook in the future, but for now I think I will place them individually in page protectors in a large binder.

It's funny, I've always felt bad for not sending people cards and now I'm reading that people are intentionally cutting back on sending them. I do tend to value the handwritten messages. I'm so sentimental that way. But I have to be very careful to only keep the most meaningful of those messages.
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#9 of 15 Old 09-19-2010, 06:09 PM
 
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This is a little harsh, but after dealing with the death of a few very close relatives and going through tons and tons of stuff, I'm trying not to keep much if anything in the way of old cards and even photos. The thing is they collect dust, sit in boxes, etc. I think there are some exceptions such as a husband or wife sending letters when deployed, but otherwise not really. For me I think I might try to keep one or two mothers day cards from the kids that are really cute with a little message, that's pretty much it. I am pretty unorganized and I just can't keep more or it will be a mess. I would pick one or two, add them to a photo album, and be done. Same with kids art work. Maybe one or two pieces a year from elementary school in a folder, that's it. I don't keep any school papers like tests and worksheets or reports, I will only keep a poem or maybe a short story, and only if I have one. There are very few kids who want their school work when they are older IMO.
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#10 of 15 Old 09-21-2010, 08:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoetryLover View Post

Two questions:

How do you store old cards and letters?

How do you determine which ones to keep?
.
Congrats on your mission. The paper seems to be really hard as there can be so much of it. I went through this earlier this year and it took a long time.
We each have one plastic tote where we can keep "keepsake" and "blast from the past" items of our choosing. But it is limited in space so that helps a lot.

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#11 of 15 Old 09-22-2010, 11:13 PM
 
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I used to keep every freaking thing that came to me in the mail. And I did this for about 30 years. Then it took me another 5 years to get rid of the accumulation after I stopped keeping the incoming ones. I kept three or four--a couple of my birth cards simply because they were beautiful, one from my biological dad and one from grandpa. I threw out every other thing, which ended up being about 4 moving boxes of Christmas, birthday, birth announcements, kids' photos, family photos, interesting letters from high school, the endless notes from school days. Oh yeah, I held on to everything. I even ended up pitching crap from dances in the old days--corsages, buttons, etc. It felt GREAT, and I haven't missed any of it. I honestly believe now that there is no reason for me to keep great aunt's letter about her trip to Greece. It was a nice story, but doesn't really mean anything in terms of family history. That old stuff was really pulling me down--yesteryear dreams, etc.

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#12 of 15 Old 09-25-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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Another thought if you have a scanner could be to scan them in and just keep a digital copy.
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#13 of 15 Old 09-26-2010, 06:02 AM
 
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I only keep cards that either 1) mean a great deal to me or 2) are photo cards. In the first catagory I have to admit I have like 5 cards: the card from my grandma on my graduation from high school, the card my mother mailed to me from the hospital a couple of months before she died (she died when I was 14, this is one of the few things I have to remind me of her since she refused to take pictures), a card from my MIL welcoming into the family, a card from my church when my mother passed (which I still read during times where Im just plain sad, it has a lot of good advice) and a card a close friend of mine sent me in Iraq. These Im planning on scrapbooking into albums when I do the albums (which have been on my to do list for a while, I should have done them before I had kids!).

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#14 of 15 Old 09-28-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearGirl View Post
This is a little harsh, but after dealing with the death of a few very close relatives and going through tons and tons of stuff, I'm trying not to keep much if anything in the way of old cards and even photos. The thing is they collect dust, sit in boxes, etc. I think there are some exceptions such as a husband or wife sending letters when deployed, but otherwise not really. For me I think I might try to keep one or two mothers day cards from the kids that are really cute with a little message, that's pretty much it. I am pretty unorganized and I just can't keep more or it will be a mess. I would pick one or two, add them to a photo album, and be done. Same with kids art work. Maybe one or two pieces a year from elementary school in a folder, that's it. I don't keep any school papers like tests and worksheets or reports, I will only keep a poem or maybe a short story, and only if I have one. There are very few kids who want their school work when they are older IMO.
A few years ago I pared down my photos but I still have quite a few. Thank goodness for digital!! How did you decide which to keep, which to toss? What I did was to get rid of duplicates, blurries, uninteresting, etc. It was quite a bit but now I'm wanting to pare down more photos. I have pics going way back of my two sisters and my brother's families and their family excursions to museums, zoos, etc. (They all live in another state.) I have all kinds of photos like that which my family sent me over the years. I also have tons of school pics, nearly every grade from nearly every niece and nephew. I guess I'm going to have to decide for myself which ones mean more and which ones to just let go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dingletwitz View Post
I used to keep every freaking thing that came to me in the mail. And I did this for about 30 years. Then it took me another 5 years to get rid of the accumulation after I stopped keeping the incoming ones. I kept three or four--a couple of my birth cards simply because they were beautiful, one from my biological dad and one from grandpa. I threw out every other thing, which ended up being about 4 moving boxes of Christmas, birthday, birth announcements, kids' photos, family photos, interesting letters from high school, the endless notes from school days. Oh yeah, I held on to everything. I even ended up pitching crap from dances in the old days--corsages, buttons, etc. It felt GREAT, and I haven't missed any of it. I honestly believe now that there is no reason for me to keep great aunt's letter about her trip to Greece. It was a nice story, but doesn't really mean anything in terms of family history. That old stuff was really pulling me down--yesteryear dreams, etc.
I bolded the last sentence. I agree, I think we can be too caught up in the past even if the present is happy. Keeping too much from the past, for me, makes me long for some of those days when what I need to do is to make the most of my time right here and now. I finally got rid of the last of my high school yearbooks. Of course, I'm not just willy-nilly throwing everything out but thinking of what truly means alot to me and what I cherish.
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#15 of 15 Old 09-28-2010, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really like the idea of scanning pictures that I want to keep. Of course this is a long project.
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