On Monday I shared some online greeting card shops and promised to give you some tips today that will help you become a regular at sending cards (if you want to, that is). The more you send the more likely you will inspire your friends to give it a whirl too and return the favor which always feels so good. Who doesn’t love a funny card now and then or something that just says "You Rock". (I actually have a set of You Rock cards.) Wouldn’t it be nice to receive regular mail from the people in life that you cherish? Why not start the trend of giving?
I have friends that I can divide into three categories: the card senders, the sporadic card senders, and the non-card senders. The first group never misses a beat. I have dinner at their house and two days later there’s a card in my mailbox thanking me for the cookies I brought. The second group is a bit less predictable. One year they remember my anniversary, the following three years it slips their minds, and then an anniversary card shows up again on the 5th year. It’s certainly fine because I appreciate any gesture of kindness but I know they always feel bad about it because I often hear apologies whenever we get together that they meant to send me a card but it totally slipped their mind. The third group I call the non-card senders, which is perfectly fine unless those in this group actually want to send cards but don’t really know how to get into the groove of it.
If you want to become a card sender, either sporadic or the never-miss-a-beat kind, here are some tips I applied in my own life that worked for me:
1) Purchase cards in advance, a variety of them, and keep them in one place. If certain people come to mind as you shop, note that on the outside of the envelope using a small post-it note. I purchase cards at random, basically when I see something I love, but when I first started my card file I purchased a few for all categories, new baby, new house, congrats, thanks, etc.
2) Purchase a card file. In the file you can organize your cards by occasion/thought or even person. Here are a few below from The Container Store. You can also make your own with a sturdy shoe box. Cover it with wallpaper or gift wrap and make your own paper dividers inside.
3) Keep need supplies close like a book of stamps, your return address labels (those peel and stick kind), address storage (Rolodex, book, etc.) and a pen. Keeping it all in the same place helps a lot. I have my cards in a file box and then on my desk I have a Rolodex. Inside my desk drawer I keep my address labels, business cards, stamps, and pens. On my computer I have a calendar with special dates listed that pop up. When I need to send a card, I take the card file off of the shelf and place it on my desk, write out the card, refer to my Rolodex for the address, pop on a return address label, write down their address, press on a stamp and viola! Done.Then it goes into the mailbox for delivery.
4) Remember special dates either by using an old-fashioned date book (honestly I never cracked mine open), the calendar on your PC, or an application online like Birthday Alarm or these 5 covered in a previous article here on RealSimple.com.
With a simple card file, supplies nearby and a place to reference for easily locating special dates and addresses, you will become a card sender in no time that your friends will greatly appreciate especially in this economy when all we seem to get lately is bad news. This is a nice way to really show our support and friendship!
(images top: real simple and bottom: the container store.)