I received an email last weekend which I will share with you now along with what was going to be my response but which turned into a post.
Hi Colleen, I’ve been going back over the archives and couldn’t find anything about the little notices you get at funeral homes. I have the one from when my mom died, but I also have several more I just don’t know what to do with. I notice that sometimes when I leave the funeral some people just leave them on the chair but I feel bad so I just take mine. I thought maybe you would have a good idea what to do with them. Right now I just throw them in the box with my yearbooks and other things my family can throw out when I’m gone. Any ideas would be great. Thanks.
My quick response to the emailer: My quick answer to this question is that you wouldn’t be asking if you really wanted to keep them so save the ones that really mean something to you (your mother’s for example) and recycle the rest. I sounds from your email that you are only keeping the others out of respect and obligation. Throwing away a piece of paper does not lessen your respect so don’t feel obliged to keep them.
I have found that my initial response to this question was becoming so long that I might as well make a post about it. Would you mind if I use your email in the body of this post?
Now for the post that resulted from this email
My advice to you is to only keep the ones you feel compelled to keep. By all means accept the ones offered on the occasion out of respect but feel free to dispose of them when you return home. Once someone is gone there is no forgetting they are gone and I am sure we don’t need reminding of that. If you do however feel compelled to keep all of these items I would suggest storing them as you would your photos, in an acid free environment. You could if you prefer scan the items and save them digitally. This takes up less physical space but can still be viewed if desired. I think though that if you find you are never unearthing these items to view but only stubble upon them periodically when adding to the collection you really need to ask yourself, how much do they really matter.
Last week I was asked, during a radio gig I did, what do I do with birthdays cards after the event. I said I leave them on display for that month (sometimes less) and then throw them in the recycling bin. I see no practical purpose in saving these things. Greeting cards are intended to show that someone cares for you once we are reminded of that do we really need to save them for future reference. I don’t think anyone is expecting you to save their cards year in year out. Think about when someone phones you on your birthday, they wish you a happy birthday, share that bit of time to show they care for you and then hang up, you can’t hold on the call forever but you can hold on to the memory. You can do the same with cards, enjoy them for what they are at the time and then let them go.
That being said I do save some birthday cards, usually only the ones my children give me that I feel are that bit special, due to the written personal sentiment. Though I must admit I rarely retrieve them from their hiding place and gaze upon them with loving eyes. To be quite honest I seem to have an unusally amazing memory for when my children say lovely things to or about me. I just keep the cards as proof just in case I have to use them as evidence against them ~ Just Kidding about that last bit!
I do much the same with Christmas cards, I leave them on display until the new year and then recycle them. I cut out the pictures on the front to use in producing my handmade cards for next year and put the remainder in the recycling bin. It is probably time I got to making this years cards as the holiday season will be here before we know it.
As usual with decluttering if you love all the greeting cards you receive and can’t bring yourself to part with any of them that is what is right for you. If however you have been keeping them out of obligation or tradition it really is OK not to. Try it with the next occasion, enjoy them for what they are at the time, a reminder that someone loves you, display them for a week or two and then let them go.
Today’s Declutter Item
The bag that is today’s clutter was used to carry home an item my mother-in-law kindly gave me some time back. I was please to receive a steam mop from her that she had received as a freebee when she bought a new vacuum cleaner. I have tiled floor and I thought it would be good for giving the grout a good once over every now and again. It proved to be pretty much ineffective so it went to the thrift store. The bag gto shuffled to the bottom of my daughters closet where I found it last week. I figured I would never remember to return it to my MIL so I sent it to the thrift store with a load of other stuff.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
Every night that I hear my son’s motorbike roll up to the garage door after his late night work shifts I feel relieved and grateful that he is home safe and sound. I don’t mind that I am roused at 2:30 or 4:30 am I sleep more soundly in the knowledge that he is home.