If you’ve got a shoe box full of old cards and letters, you’re definitely not alone. People have been stashing away meaningful notes from loved ones since forever, and it’s no wonder.
Unlike emails and texts, cards and letters are handwritten treasures that take time to draft and are often filled with messages intended to encourage, inspire or celebrate. They carry thoughts and feelings that really matter. And that’s ultimately why so many of us have our stuffed shoe boxes of cards—because words of kindness and appreciation make us happy and are worth reading again and again.
With that in mind, we’ve gathered alternative ideas for how to store your cherished memories from loved ones in new and creative ways.
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Keeping your cards on display in your home or office can be a nice (and frequent) reminder of a special event or occasion and can be an instant pick-me-up when you’re having a hard day. It’s also a great way to decorate your space in a meaningful way. Seeing their designs and the handwritten messages will help you remember the importance of some of your most valued relationships.
1) Keep cards in a large, see-through container:
- The more unusual the container, the better: a big pickle jar, wire basket, large glass vase or apothecary jar.
- Don’t worry too much about keeping things neat. Just dropping your cards in as you receive them actually looks pretty cool.
2) Frame individual cards to hang on a wall:
- No need to spend a lot. Most cards will fit nicely in inexpensive pre-made frames. (If they don’t fit perfectly, “float” them on a piece of colored paper with a bit of mounting tape.)
- Try selecting cards with beautiful designs or meaningful quotes on the cover that bring you joy.
- Frame your most cherished cards in special frames.
3) Create a collage of cards and put them in a shadow box:
- Cut out favorite parts of each card and arrange them in a pattern.
- Fold the cards origami-style to add dimension.
- Use mounting tape to create layers.
- Try organizing collages by color palette, style, subject matter, event or relationship (friends, family, colleagues, etc.).
4) Hang cards on a wall. (We love this idea because you can easily change them out.):
- Pin up twine or a wire and hang cards with clips or clothespins—or use a photo display with built-in clips.
- Hang clipboards in different sizes to hold the cards. You can paint them to coordinate with room décor or make a “gallery wall” display and combine cards and photos.
- Vintage wooden pants hangers (the kind with a clip) are great for holding cards.
5) Simply stand your favorite ones on a shelf, countertop or mantel—or stick them to your fridge:
- Use wire photo holders, recipe card holders or plate stands to elevate cards.
- Group them by occasion or subject.
- Use a step-style spice rack to display several cards of different sizes.
6) For more fun display ideas, DIY some everyday versions of these Christmas card holders.
For those of us who’d prefer to keep our private notes private—or if you just want to give your memories an upgrade from the shoe box or drawer they’re currently sitting in—here are some ways to fancy it up.
- Organize the cards and letters by date or occasion.
- Try including photos of the people the cards are from.
- Keep it on a coffee table or tuck it away.
8) Find a unique, interesting container. Great finds can be found at antique malls—think antique suitcases, vintage hat boxes or old cigar boxes. Use a pretty gift box. Have fun labeling your containers with luggage tags or gift tags.
9) Keep them on a ring:
- Punch a hole in the corner (a heart-shaped punch is even sweeter) and thread them on a large binder ring.
- This is a great way to keep cards organized by year or occasion—just add an index card to label them.
- Keep them in a desk drawer or nightstand where you can flip through them often.
10) Scan and save your cards:
- There’s no need to invest in an expensive scanner—you can get a high-quality photo of cards and letters with most smart phones. Be sure to capture the cover and inside.
- Don’t forget to back up your computer regularly—or store the cards in the cloud for more peace of mind.
- This is a great solution for those of us who are short on space or who want to avoid clutter.
11) Get a good, old-fashioned card organizer:
Looking for more unusual ways to treasure your favorite cards? We’ve got some ideas for you…
12) Instead of storing or displaying cards, leave them in unexpected places all over your home (for example in a sock drawer, in a suitcase, in the pages of a book, under the kitchen sink). You never know when you’ll happen upon one that’ll bring a smile to your face. (Have a friend or family hide them for you, to make it even more of a surprise.)
13) Tattoo a loved one’s signature. Take a card or letter to a tattoo artist and ask them to scan a few words, a wish or the signature and turn it into a permanent tribute.
14) Stitch a signature. Use a scanner or copier to enlarge a message or signature, trace it onto fabric and embroider over the letter. You can turn it into a handkerchief, frame it or make a sachet or pillow.
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