Shopping Cart


What To Do With Old Cards: Ideas To Keep Cards Out Of The Trash

Table of Contents

A greeting card is such a lovely thing to receive, and it’s fun to display birthday cards and holiday cards for a month or so while they’re relevant. But what do you do with them when it’s time to stop displaying them? If you’re anything like us (i.e. super sentimental), you have a hard time letting go of pretty cards and the thoughtful notes they contain. If you’re a greeting card hoarder, there are ways you can keep your cards organized, or put them to new uses to keep them from cluttering your space.

Maybe you’re not a card hoarder because you don’t like the clutter – but you feel a little guilty every time you get rid of a sweet card. This article is for you, too! You may not want to keep every card, but every now and then when you receive one worth saving, there are things you can do with them to keep them tidy and organized – with or without keeping the physical card.

Which Cards To Keep And Which To Toss Or Repurpose 

First things first: do you really need to keep all of those greeting cards? How do you decide which ones to keep and which to toss? It can be helpful to think about the reasons why you’re holding onto greeting cards – is it because you’re really sentimentally attached to them all, or is it because you feel like you have to? If you can’t bear to part with any of your old cards, we support that! But if you’re doing some spring cleaning and want to clear up some space by getting rid of cards you’ve been hanging onto for fifteen years that you no longer need, you may be able to thin them out a little bit. 

If you’re doing some closet cleaning and you’re ready to let go of some cards, start by weeding out cards you definitely don’t need to keep. Usually these are cards from people you don’t know very well who are no longer a significant part of your life. Or there may be cards that don’t contain much sentimental content and don’t have a design that you love. Getting these cards out of the way can make it a little less overwhelming to handle the rest of your pile.

Next ask yourself why you feel attached to each of your remaining cards. Is it for sentimental reasons? Cards that contain a really thoughtful note from a good friend, or the handwriting of a loved one who has since passed away have a lot of sentimental value. These are cards that are definitely worth keeping. Other cards may have only a simple message inside, but you feel attached to their beautiful designs. Set these cards aside as well – either to keep with your sentimental cards, or put them in their own separate pile to repurpose. 

Ways To Keep Your Sentimental Greeting Cards Neat And Tidy

Whether you’ve gone through your cards and picked out the best of best from the last twenty years, or you don’t typically keep greeting cards but want to start saving your favorite sentimental ones, there are ways you can keep your cards and letters neat and organized.

Designate A Pretty Box For Storing Old Greeting Cards

Simple, but effective. Pick out a pretty box to keep your greeting cards in and then keep it neatly tucked away somewhere out of the way, but accessible. Pick a box that’s pretty enough that you can keep it out and visible so you’ll remember to look through your cards from time to time (otherwise, what’s the point of keeping them all?). If you’re trying not to let your card collection get out of hand, limit yourself by the size of your box. Once the box gets filled up, it’s time to go through and weed them out again.

For extra organization, use an accordion folder or put some simple file tabs in your box to keep cards organized by occasion or year. This makes it nice and easy to find a particular card should you ever need or want to. 

Punch Holes And Keep Them In A Greeting Card Sized Binder

Another way to keep cards organized and easy to look through is to keep them in a binder. You can find mini binders that are perfectly sized for greeting cards (the most common greeting card sizes range from 4.25×5.5 inches to 5×7 inches). Punch holes in the cards and stick them right in the binder. Separating the front from the back of the card makes them even easier to flip through. 

You can also store greeting cards in a standard sized binder. Fill your binder with clear sleeves for holding pictures and then slide the greeting cards in (you may need a variety of sizes for holding larger and smaller cards).

Make A Scrapbook From The Important Parts

If you’re crafty and enjoy scrapbooking, you can make a scrapbook from only the most important parts of your cards. Separate the front and back of a card and paste them next to each other, or cut out only your favorite parts of notes and card designs to save space.

Put A Super Special Card In A Frame

Every now and then you receive a card that’s extra special. From the message inside to the card design on the front, everything about it is something that you just want to treasure and cherish. A fun way to keep these cards front of mind is to put them in a frame just as they are – that way they’re protected, and you’ve created a unique, sentimental piece of art to display.

Keep Your Sentimental Cards…Without Keeping The Cards

In this digital age, it’s possible to keep all your cards safe forever and ever – without having the clutter of boxes and boxes of physical cards. 

Scan Cards And Keep Them On A Flashdrive

Use a scanner (or take a photo in a pinch) to capture the front and the inside of each greeting card. Store them on a flash drive, and organize them into folders for easy access.

Make A Photo Book

If you like the idea of being able to flip through your cards whenever you want but you’re not attached to the physical cards themselves, making a photo book is an even tidier way to keep cards organized and flip through them again and again. Scan cards into the computer and use a photo book service to organize and arrange them however you like. Include designs from the fronts of cards or just the notes inside.

Crafty Ideas For Reusing, Recycling, And Displaying Your Old Greeting Cards

If you find that you’re left with greeting cards that you’re not sentimentally attached to, but you like the designs and you want to find a way to keep them, there are so many DIY projects you can do to give them new life. Get a little crafty and creative, and have fun seeing what you can come up with. These can be fun activities to include kids in, too.

Turn Old Cards Into New Cards

Get out those scissors and cut out your favorite parts from your greeting card designs. Mix and match pieces and combine with colorful paper, ribbons, and other embellishments you may have on hand. Create your own new, unique designs for greeting cards you can use for all sorts of occasions.

Make Bookmarks

Cut the front of greeting cards into neat strips about one to two inches wide. Add your own embellishments to make them more unique, or leave them as they are. For an extra special touch, punch holes in the tops of each bookmark and tie ribbons through the holes. These can make fun little gifts!

Create Gift Tags

Cut out circles or squares incorporating your favorite parts of card designs, or for larger design components and unique shapes, cut around individual components. Punch holes through them, and loop through string or twine to tie onto gifts. Write who the gift is to and from on the back side of the tag. 

Make A Collage To Hang On Your Wall

Make unique and sentimental art for your walls with old greeting cards. Create a collage from your favorite elements from cards, or use a large paper punch in a fun shape to cut out uniform pieces from a variety of cards. Make a pattern, create a scene, or spell out a name with the pieces you cut out. 

To commemorate a special occasion, use cards from that event to make a collage and save the memories associated with them. Make a collage from all of your wedding cards to hang in your master bedroom, or make a design from baby shower cards for the nursery.

Turn Holiday Cards Into Ornaments

There are so many ways you can turn holiday cards into ornaments. Keep them simple by cutting out a card design, punching a hole in the top and tying a pretty ribbon on. 

Make a bulb ornament by taking the entire front side of a card, cut it into uniform strips, stack the strips on top of each other, and attach them at the top and bottom with round head fasteners. Spread out the strips and fluff them to make a sphere, then tie a ribbon on the top.

If you’re talented with origami, use squares cut from greeting cards to create origami shapes to use as ornaments, or make pieces that link together to make a larger ornament.

Don’t limit yourself to Christmas cards for making ornaments. Find creative ways to display ornaments made from cards for Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Thanksgiving as well.

Make A Garland

There are a variety of ways you can make a fun garland out of greeting cards. Make a paper chain by cutting cards into strips and making interconnected loops. Create a bunting out of holiday cards or generic cards by cutting uniform triangles, punching two holes in the top of each, and threading string, twine, or ribbon through them. Use them to decorate for a holiday or gathering.

Can Greeting Cards Be Recycled?

When you’ve exhausted your creativity and you’re left with cards you’re ready to get rid of, you may find yourself wondering whether to toss cards in the trash or the recycling bin. In most cases, greeting cards can be recycled. Cards made from some specialty papers, such as photo paper, may not be recyclable, and the same goes for cards that are covered in sparkles and shiny embellishments. Be mindful of cards with small non-paper ornaments and trim, and remove these before throwing the cards in the recycling bin. Envelopes can go in the recycling just as they are – stamps and all.

Donate Old Greeting Cards

Some organizations accept used greeting card donations for various purposes. For example, St. Jude’s Ranch For Children accepts used cards that teens turn into new cards to sell. You can also enquire at local schools, churches, senior care facilities, and Girl Scouts to see if any of these groups accept used greeting cards for crafting. Be sure to follow each organization’s guidelines, only donate when they are currently accepting donations, and be mindful of the artwork and content of the cards you’re thinking of donating.



Connect With Us On Social

Save Money On Prints & Cards
On Key

Related Posts


How To Hang Art Prints

So you’ve found a fabulous art print that perfectly matches your style and describes your personality – but the expression of your style doesn’t stop

Read More »