Good morning! This week, I’m dreaming of a world where people send a few more greetings by snail mail. Yes, snail mail. Our tastes and preferences change as we grow older, but one thing that will never grow old with me is the art of sending and receiving written correspondence. Why do I call it an art? Well, I think that it really can have an artistry to it and that it’s quickly becoming a lost “art” in today’s techy world. Who doesn’t like opening the mail and finding that one hand-addressed and stamped piece of mail amongst the catalogs and bills? Ever since I was a child, I have enjoyed writing to pen pals, friends at school during the summer, receiving mail from family at summer camp, and sending postcards from travels abroad.
I am also a paper lover and collector. Not in a creepy hoarding way, but in a “I love paper and design of all kinds and enjoy having paper or notes for every occasion.” I love sending cards to friends for a variety of occasions or sometimes just because I found something that only he/she would appreciate. I’ve heard many people bring up that they love getting mail and wish they had time to send more things themselves. As with anything, time isn’t just going to appear out of no where. You have to make the time and prioritize the things most important to you.
So, if you’re one of those well meaning people who just need a little inspiration and direction for upstarting or rejuvenating your letter writing, please see my tips below! I’ve also shared some of my favorite places to find cards and stationery. Many of these locations are accessible to everyone via their online stores.
I Dream of Pretty Things
P.S. If you have a favorite line or store for writing utensils, stationery, etc., please share in the comments section!
1. Stockpile, Stockpile, Stockpile
Okay, if you’re envisioning an extreme couponer’s stockpile, I admire your gusto, but you don’t need to be that extreme to get a nice inventory of cards. I think this is probably the most important tip I could impart. Most people find going to the store for a one-off card to be a nuisance and inconvenience. If this feels like something that’s always happening to you, I challenge you to just go all out the next time you’re at Target or Walgreen’s and form your stockpile of cards. I also really like this “A Year of Gratitude” set that you can buy at Uncommon Goods. By having a variety at your fingertips, you will be much more likely to actually send or give your card. Not sure where to start? Here’s a basic list for you to follow:
Baby (and related activities): 3-4
Birthday, Adult: 2 generic, 2 for women, 2 for men
Birthday, Children: see if you can find a boxed set (if you have a lot of friends with children) or just get 2-3 generic
Wedding (and related activities): 3-4
Blank on the inside: 2
Get Well Soon
Well, it’s a no brainer that I dream of pretty things and writing letters is no exception. When things are more visually appealing or different, we tend to be drawn to them more frequently. This is why I invest in things that make letter writing more fun. See some of my favorites below!
3. Clean Up Your Address Book the Easy Way
Don’t let outdated contact information stop you from becoming the best pen pal. Check out Postable for a multitude of time saving services including updating your private address book online. It’s free, secure, your friends do all the work by filling out their information, and you can export the information easily and even print labels.
4. Don’t Forget the Stamps!
Sending cards requires postage. I know a lot of people mention that they don’t send letters because they never have stamps and never go to the post office. The thing is….you can buy stamps online and in many other places aside from your local post office. We buy our Forever stamps from Costco because you can get 5 booklets at a time. Other places to try? Try your local grocery store, your mail room at work, Etsy (for special collections) or purchasing online.
5. Save the Date!
Become the most thoughtful person in your family or friends group by sending them a sweet note to commemorate their special life moments and milestones. It’s not hard, and with today’s technology, you can keep yourself on time year after year. In my experience, the most efficient way to do this is to add dates such as anniversaries, birthdays, etc. to your online calendar. Brent and I keep a joint google calendar and I’m able to easily add these events and set them as a recurring status. You can also set reminders to send the cards a few days before that can pop up on your cell phone or be sent to your e-mail address.
6. Keep Yourself Organized
Out of sight, out of mind right? How many of us have bought cards or note cards and then forgotten about them as they get buried under stacks of stuff or thrown into bags and boxes never to be seen again? I’m guessing it’s happened to most of us. After you’ve gone to the trouble of buying everything, take the next step and get yourself organized. I really like the organizer below and use it at my house. It’s simple, compact, clear (so you can easily see your inventory), and has tabs to divide your cards by type. For $8.99, it’s really a no brainer!
IDOPT’s Favorite Places to Shop for Cards and Stationery
Luxe Paper Goods
American Stationery– Correspondence cards are essential and this is my favorite place to order them! American has great prices, ships quickly and I’ve never had a problem ordering from them. P.S. These make a great gift idea for a recent grad, someone starting a new job, or someone who is recently married.
Blue Leaf –(Houston)- Blue Leaf boutique in Houston has some of the most beautiful treasures and gifts I’ve ever seen! They have an amazing collection of cards that you (or any recipient) would never want to throw away!
Etsy– The mecca of creativity and fine craftsmanship…the place where you can customize anything and everything! Etsy has some of the most fun cards I’ve ever purchased, including this one that all you Drake fans will appreciate.
May Designs-If you’ve been following my blog, you already know that I love me some May Designs! Their custom options are cute and fresh and every time I send a May Designs card, it instantly brightens my mood.
Paper Source– Oh my goodness. I could spend hours (and sometimes do) in this store! This store has truly unique cards of all shapes, sizes, and paper types! Visit Paper Source for all of your crafting needs!
Papyrus– Most people regard Papyrus as the gold standard of greeting cards. Their signature gold foil envelope stickers, thick envelopes with beautiful liners, and heavily gilded cards stand out in a crowd. I love giving and receiving Papyrus cards because they are truly works of art!
Gorgeous Cards at Discount Prices
Looking for cute cards or stationery, but don’t want to spend $5-$7 a card (hello, Papyrus!) ? Don’t worry. Some of my favorite places to by cards at bargain prices are below. Check out their websites to find a location near you.
1.Big Lots– Going to Big Lots is a relatively new thing for me. 🙂 Growing up, my Granddad loved buying all kinds of gadgets and tchotchkes there, so I decided to check it out for myself when we moved into our new house last year. The next time you go for a new garden hose or lawn chair, please stop by the cards section. I think you’ll like what you find!
2. Card$mart– The Houston location I go to is the one on Bellaire Blvd. Their cards are so fun and they also carry tons of gifts for every recipient at some great price points.
3. Dollar Tree– Next time you’re by a Dollar Tree, check out their card selection. The one by my house has an extensive collection that cover all occasions including birthday, baby, sympathy, get well soon, congratulations, new home, milestone events, and cards in Spanish. Some of my favorite cards come from this store and many of them were actually .50 ea or 2/$1.
4. Half Price Books– This is one of my favorite places to go in general! They have some great postcard sets, greeting cards and boxed sets at wonderful prices. If you love classic art, they usually have several note sets with images by the classic painters.
5. TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Ross– These three stores always have a great variety of stationery sets and note cards, including designer goods by Vera Bradley, MOMA, and other well known brands. The best part? All sets come at a fraction of normal retail prices.
6. Walgreens– Walgreen’s has some great assorted card box sets (sympathy, birthday, children’s birthday, friendship, etc.) for less than $5 a box!