I am a big advocate for snail mail.
Sending handwritten notes in the mail is one of my favorite things to do. Sitting down at my desk with new stationary and a fresh cup of coffee brings me a lot of joy. It’s something my mom taught me to do and expressed the importance of sending people thank you notes, birthday cards and notes just because. I have fond memories of she and I going to the store to pick out new stationary, then we’d head to Starbucks and work on our correspondence together. In this post I thought I would share some of my tips for how I keep track of people’s birthdays, addresses and my favorite places to pick up stationary. When I tell people I like writing cards and sending them in the real mail, a lot of the reactions I get are, that it’s really nice but it sounds like a lot of work. I guess it does involve a little more effort but the reward and happy feelings I get out of doing this makes it all totally worthwhile. Also, once you get a system down it’s really not that hard to keep track of.
Let’s start with where I like to get my stationary: TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Target, Nordstrom and Papyrus. TJ Maxx and HomeGoods are probably my biggest go-to’s, they have boxes of assorted stationary for great deals, a lot of times I can find a really nice box of thank you cards (12-24 cards in one box) for under $10. They also have really beautiful cards like the ones you see below for $1.99 each, pretty hard to beat when some places charge anywhere from $5.99-$8.99 for one card. Target has a section of cards for $.99 a piece. The designs are super cute, from cupcakes and balloons for birthday cards to simple and sweet thank you notes, you can’t beat a really nice card that costs you $.99. Papyrus also offers a nice selection of cards and boxes of notecards, a few times a year they offer box sets of cards at buy one get one free or buy one get one 50% off. This is the time I stock up on cards there. They are my go to for box sets of holiday cards that I send out a Christmas and New Years. Nordstrom offers a great selection of cards that I order online, sometimes online ordering is easier than going into a physical store. Kate Spade New York’s stationary is especially my favorite for their playful prints.
Each one of these cards is from HomeGoods, I bought them for $1.99 each!
This thank you card came in a pack of 12 for $4.99 at TJ Maxx, I love the floral detail inside the envelope.
About once a week I sit down at my desk to review the correspondence I need to send out. For a long time I struggled with how to keep track of my address book and growing list of contacts. I used to write them all down in a paper address book in pencil, but so many times I would need to access my contacts when I was away from my desk and couldn’t because the addresses were only available in one place. I’ve since ditched that and put all my contacts into an Excel spreadsheet online. This way I can access my address book no matter where I am or what device I’m using. I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me at the Post Office when I’m addressing something and realize I forgot to bring the address with me. I like to include the person’s name, address, phone number, email address, how I know them, their birthday and any other important details to remember (like if they recently bought a house or got engaged).
Now for birthdays, there are a lot. I created a separate “birthday” calendar on my online calendar, this is where I plug in everyone’s birthdays that I know. I set a reminder to pop up at me one week before their birthday comes so I have time to write a card or send a gift in time for their special day. I also create the birthday as a recurring yearly event so that year after year their birthday comes up on my calendar. When I don’t know someone’s birthday for sure I look to Facebook! A lot of people share their birthdays there so it’s an easy place for me to add birthdays to my calendar.
Stamps! I love buying stamps, I order them from the Post Office online. The ones above I think are really fun and personal.
So there you have it, a few tips on how I keep track of birthdays, addresses and where I like to buy cards and stationary. It might feel like a lot of work in the beginning to get contacts in order but once you get through that it’s easy to manage things and in the end really nice to have.