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Not all Hallmark Cards are Forever!

Recently, I was sorting through kids’ memorabilia for a client who is getting ready to move. She needed to make some sense of the collected chaos. With three grade school kids, she is still in the thick of it, with lots of artwork and projects coming home daily. She wanted to save these things for her children, so we decided to create two boxes for each child: Baby/ Preschool & Grade School. (By the time kids are in middle school,  they can keep their own memorabilia boxes.) We sorted and preserved all the piles of preschool art work, clay creations, and excessive awards and medals. As we were moving along, I collected the birthday, Valentines & Christmas cards. Each child had piles of cards. For now, we separated them and kept them in a ziploc bag in the box. I didn’t press her since it’s very time consuming to open each card and determine the worth, so we continued the process.


Soon the kids memorabilia was contained,  and now it was time to go through HER memorabilia. She dreaded this chore. She took out bin after bin that her parents recently dumped on her from her childhood house.  “One foot in front of the other,” I told her as we labeled three bins: Growing Up, Highschool, and College. As she looked through the boxes there were hundreds of saved cards. Everytime I opened one and read the name, she said, “toss.” These were not cards with long messages. They were your store bought greeting cards with a signature, similar to what she saved for each of her kids.  It became apparent to both of us, that maybe those greeting cards we saved for her children should be tossed.



What is my rule of thumb? I don’t think you should immediately toss anything.  She did find a $5 bill, a letter from a grandmother who just passed away, and a savings bond.  Each card should be opened. Was there a long personal message that is meaningful to you, or is it your standard greeting card? Does the card spark an emotion, make you laugh, or jog a memory? If it’s just a signed name and doesn’t check any of those boxes, it’s okay to toss.  Four recycle bags later, she kept a handful. There were some love notes, notes from her immediate family and her husband. Those were special and meaningful to her. So, before you store every single card for your kids’ memorabilia boxes, take a glance and make some decisions for them.  I keep anything with a sweet personal message, and I toss the rest. I hope to save them from the headache of going through piles of memorabilia one day. This is the same formula I use for their artwork. Usually, Less is More!

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