Whether or not I’m serving to a consumer clear out a household house or attending an property sale the place every part however the kitchen sink is up for grabs, inevitably, I discover piles of 1 sort of ephemera that by no means made it within the recycling bin: greeting cards. Used or new, many years outdated or perhaps a century outdated, older generations often save these paper salutations. Learn on to study extra about this acquainted S.O.S. (Surplus Outdated Stuff) merchandise, why we maintain them, and what to do with them now.
Predating Electronic mail
The historical past of greeting cards is well-documented. Early cultures exchanged paper well-wishes for grand occasions like Chinese language New 12 months, and by the fifteenth century, Germans had been utilizing woodblock printing strategies to breed their New 12 months’s playing cards extra shortly. Add in new holidays comparable to Valentine’s Day, and the subsequent factor you recognize, exchanging greeting playing cards is a part of standard tradition. By the mid-Nineteenth century, each women and men took pleasure in receiving a paper card within the mail, simply as your coronary heart could leap as we speak at getting an necessary electronic mail from a brand new suitor or job prospect. Add within the 1840 introduction of the postage stamp and industrialization’s always enhancing printing strategies, and the marketplace for greeting playing cards exploded. Right this moment, Hallmark and American Greetings proceed to be America’s largest producers of greeting playing cards.
Mountains of Christmas Playing cards
Nonetheless, the enjoyment of receiving a greeting card has all the time been fleeting, leaving the recipient with the query: now, what do I do with the cardboard? That fleeting pleasure persists as a little bit of reminiscence, nonetheless small, encouraging the recipient to “do one thing” with the cardboard quite than merely throwing it within the trash. Due to their folded nature, you’ll be able to simply show greeting playing cards on a shelf or mantel for a while. Maybe you have got houseguests dropping in, and also you wish to impress them with the legions of playing cards that stuffed your mailbox on your birthday, otherwise you wish to subtly remind them to ship you a card subsequent yr.
Perhaps you combine greeting playing cards into vacation shows, comparable to nestling Halloween playing cards between ceramic witches and pumpkins. Oh, and what to do with these mountains of Christmas playing cards flying into mail slots each December? Personally, now we have a marriage reward Waterford salad bowl we take out every year (as a result of we don’t serve salad in Waterford…) and fill with all the vacation playing cards. This bowl is ideal for all these “flat” playing cards with household images and straightforward to go round at vacation dinners for the aged relations to leaf by and “see how huge” all of the nieces and nephews in far-flung states have gotten.
Stuffed in Desk Drawers
In order that solves the instant query of what to do with just lately obtained greeting cards, however now let’s sort out the larger query: what to do with them after a month or a yr … or a decade? What number of older relatives are you aware who merely squirreled a few of these playing cards away in a bag in a closet, a field within the attic, or a drawer in a desk? I will likely be sincere right here on two factors: this isn’t a nasty factor to do, and I do it myself. Why? As a result of greeting playing cards are small and thus simple to retailer, they usually include the aforementioned reminiscence of a time value saving.
Greeting playing cards take up little or no house in comparison with other S.O.S. items like china, crystal, and magazines. You don’t want an entire cupboard or devoted piece of furnishings to retailer them, and they’re simple to overlook about as soon as they’re tucked in somewhat field or drawer someplace. What greeting playing cards have I saved? Whereas I’ve held onto some birthday and vacation playing cards, most of my saved greeting cards are “new child” playing cards in bins with different kiddo mementos, comparable to child books, college images, and vaccination information. These bins are so necessary to me that they fall below the class of “issues to grab if the house is on fire.”
Type, Save, Recycle, Donate
Nonetheless, you’ll be able to depart the majority of outdated greeting playing cards to burn if your home is aflame. Except they’re tremendous outdated (i.e., 18th or Nineteenth century), they typically haven’t any worth, however a lot of the outdated greeting playing cards we maintain onto aren’t that historical. Most are from the Twentieth century and haven’t any worth until they’re unused or characteristic a well-liked theme like Barbie or Gary Larson, through which case you’ll be able to resell them. Learn on for a step-by-step information on how one can eliminate these bins of outdated greeting playing cards!
S.O.S. Step-by-Step Information to Sorting Outdated Greeting Playing cards
- Type into two piles: Used and Unused.
- Resell or donate the Unused Pile if they’re “classic.”
- Open those within the Used Pile to see if they’re any sentiments value saving (comparable to a wartime notice from deceased Nice Uncle Charlie, and many others.). Put these in a manila envelope labeled “Household Historical past” and mail these off to a youthful relative.
- Return by the “Used Pile” and recycle any which might be stained, yellowed, worn, or just ugly. Attempt to recycle at the very least 75 % of this pile so you’re left with a brand new pile referred to as “The Finest.”
- Lower the entrance off the entire playing cards in The Finest pile. If you’re feeling helpful, use these to make new greeting cards. In case you merely need them out of sight, contact your area people artwork heart or public highschool artwork division to see in the event that they’d be considering a donation. Likelihood is they’d be thrilled to have your fastidiously whittled-down pile for future pupil artwork initiatives!
Amy Moyer is the proprietor of Antmuffin: Art, Antiques & Collectibles. She holds a B.A. in Visible Artwork from Brown College and lives in Boston.
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