Alright! We're here to talk about all things "on it." We want to be on it when it comes to birthdays and greeting cards. We want to be on it when it comes to graduations, weddings, get well soons and thinking of yous. We want to be on it when it comes to sending out thank you cards. Basically we want to be snail mail on it!
The key to being on it is to find what works best for you. If you already have a system in play that helps you remember dates and times, you are already on it. If you're looking for a system or wanting to try out a new one then these Tuesdays together are going to work out really well for you.
Before we get going on the how, we first need the things. This week is all about the tangible tools of the trade that will help you elevate your greeting card game. I am much more of a pen and paper woman versus a tech woman, so the following list is exactly what I use to get out all my cards on time.
These may seem antiquated, but I find a wall calendar is the perfect tool to stay on top of dates. My advice would be to hang your calendar somewhere you frequent often (mine is by the refrigerator, read into that what you will). If you are consistently made aware of the date and what you have coming up, you're more likely to remember to send a card. If the aesthetics of your abode is important to you, there are some gorgeous wall calendars out there right now. You don't even have to mess up these works of art either; your wall calendar can just be another place to remind you of the date. Stay on top of the date, stay on top of your snail mail.
Another calendar? Yup! Realistically you are unlike me and work in an office or somewhere that's not half of your dining room table (if you are like me, fist pound). So having a desk calendar is important because it reiterates the date - it's all about the date! You can get a desk calendar that lays flat on your desk like these beauties: one, two and three. Or you can opt for a more stylish set up like this or this. And there is always the option of another wall calendar which is convenient when you can't decide which of these to put by the fridge...
[And my heart goes pitter patter] I love planners. Organization is my jam. Each year I deliberate and spend a shameful amount of time comparing planner details, watching reviews on organizers, and driving myself crazy trying to imagine which one is perfect for both my personal life and this business. Because let's be honest: if I'm going to spend over $50 on a planner I better have compared it to every single planner out there ever. This is the one I go back to year after year, but I have tried this one as well. The benefit of a planner is that it's portable; you can organize, list and track your events from month to month; and you can seamlessly blend personal, business and any any other projects you have going for the year in one place. For the purposes of being on it with your snail mail, I would look for a planner that has pages specifically devoted to listing events per month as well as having the grid calendar view of each month. It may seem repetitive, but the more places you have those important dates, the less likely you will be to forget them!
Pens and Markers
If you are a minimalist and prefer your organization to be black and white, then go ahead and skip this one. I used to be staunchly loyal to just one color in my planner, but I've made the switch to color coding. I have black for work, one color for daily to do, another color for birthdays/card-worthy events, and green for bills. The way I was able to make the switch to color was to find a pack of color pens that are complimentary or have a color story (like these or these). This way, even though my planner is multicolored, each page is complimentary to each other. My planner looking good is important to me because if my planner is organized, I am organized. Moral of the story: invest in a writing utensil that makes you want to sit down each day, week and month and feel good about writing down what you need to accomplish.
You're probably thinking, "hey crazy, it's 2018 don't we have this information online these days?" And the answer is yes, we (hopefully) have it online or on our computer. But we should also have a hard copy of addresses in our life if for no other reason than to avoid yelling at our computer to boot up faster because the mailman is coming down the street and you HAVE TO GET THIS CARD IN THE MAIL TODAY IF IT'S GOING TO GET THERE IN TIME. True story. You can go fancy or keep it simple, but I've found it's convenient to be able to grab the address book from my junk drawer and fill out my envelopes quickly. Extra tip: write addresses in pencil so when someone moves you don't have to cross things out, just erase and update!
Funny story: I asked for one of these for Christmas and my lovely little sister purchased one for me...with the wrong address. Never a dull moment with that one! So I am still on the market for my own, but aren't these so beautiful? Maybe this year I'll go ahead and get one myself before holiday cards have to go out. Saves so much time and makes getting those monthly cards out that much easier.
Pretty obvious, but for several years of my life I didn't keep these on hand and it definitely impacted my snail mail game. I now keep a roll of forever stamps, a sheet of post card stamps and a few specialty stamps (looking at you Harry Potter stamps!) stocked at home. I have an entire blog post devoted to stamps coming at you in a few weeks!
You don't say! Keeping an inventory of cards at home that cover a range of occasions is key to keeping you on it each month. Having a mini inventory may seem like a lot, but you'll be thanking yourself when that inevitable month rolls around when your friend gets engaged, you have 4 family birthdays, your brother starts a new job, your sister moves across the country and you need to send out thank you cards for house and dog sitters. Some months are crazy and by keeping a back stock of all your snail mailing needs you're setting yourself up for a successful year of staying in touch with the ones you love. Cards will also need to be ordered occasionally throughout the year for things like weddings, Mother's and Father's Day, holiday cards and so on. But you can give yourself plenty of time to order those cards by signing up for my monthly events reminder newsletter where I give you a heads up to check your calendar each month for any cards you may need to order!
Most cards are sold with envelopes, but you'll find that keeping a few extra envelopes on hand helps when penmanship is not at it's most legible, you mess up on an address, or you've stuffed so many magazine clippings in the card you need a bigger envelope to hold it all. You can find all sorts of fun envelopes at a store like Paper Source or keep it simple and pick up a few on your next Target or craft store run.
Some little extras that are fun to have in your supplies are stickers, washi tape or rubber stamps and ink. These can add life to a boring envelope especially for a child's birthday card. I also have a little box where I keep magazine clippings like recipes, DIY projects and health advice that I think someone will enjoy and just toss it in with my next card to him or her. And lastly, now that I have a daughter, a lot of my older not-on-the-internet snail mail correspondences love getting pictures so I keep a stock of updated prints on hand to mail out.
And there you have it, first lesson done! Staying on top of greeting cards can be hard from month to month, especially during busy times of the year or when events sneak up on you. However, we just took the first step toward being on it this year by gearing up with all the products we need to be organized and ahead of the game.
Okay, I'll see you back here next week where we'll discuss tools of the more techy persuasion to help us get our cards out on time.