It’s Valentines Day this week… did you send cards to the people you care about? Hopefully you’re not trying to get comfortable in the doghouse.

Wouldn’t it be great to get permanently organized to send cards? If this is something you’d like to improve upon, I have several suggestions that include some great Outlook tips!

Outlook Task Settings

There are many options out there for getting reminders one-at-a-time, and you can certainly write birthdays into your calendar. However, for many people this still doesn’t seem to work for getting cards out in the mail on time. A system that works well for me is to use an Outlook task to pop up and remind me to write cards once a month. I usually do this the last week of the month on a day when I am going to be in the office doing administrative work. You can use an equivalent reminder in your own time management system if you don’t use Outlook.

Hyperlink insert

I have developed a spreadsheet that I refer to each month when it’s time to write cards. In the notes area of the Outlook task, I have provided myself a hyperlink to this spreadsheet so I can get to it quickly. You might want to do this for a lot of different reasons–from the menu bar of your task, you choose “Insert–File” and then navigate to the document you want. Just before clicking “Insert,” note there is a drop-down arrow where you can choose to “Insert as a Hyperlink.” This trick is very useful for any task that involves a frequently-accessed document.

You can have a copy of my Greeting Card Calendar spreadsheet to use for yourself. Some people refer to this kind of list as a “perpetual calendar.” It’s just an easy way to list everyone’s birthdays and all of the holidays permanently in one place. You can sort it and filter it in various ways, and I have written instructions for using it right into the document. When it’s time to write cards, just open the spreadsheet and filter for the occasions for that month. Anytime you hear of someone’s birthday, make a solid habit of adding it to the list.

If you need to mail the cards out later, write a small send date on each card where you would place the stamp, and place it with your outgoing mail to send at the right time. There are some great options for sending out cards online (not e-cards), such as American Greetings, CardStore, HallmarkGreetz, and SendOutCards (these are sold by individual distributors). All of these options will send out a personalized paper card from you with a stamp on it. It’s great to be able to create all the cards for the month at once and post-date them to be sent out automatically!

For organizing paper greeting cards themselves, I recommend purchasing a greeting card organizer box from your local discount store. They usually come with dividers for the common types of cards, and they also typically come with a few cards to get you started. You can also use an expandable accordion file that you label with your own categories, but boxes do work better for flipping through your collection easily.

Sending greeting cards is a great way to make your friends and acquaintances feel remembered and special. Now you can be that person who always remembers!

Lorie Marrero is a Professional Organizer and creator of The Clutter Diet, an innovative, affordable online program for home organization. Lorie’s site helps members lose “Clutter-Pounds” from their home by providing online access to her team of organizers. Lorie writes something useful, funny, interesting, and/or insanely practical every few days or so in The Clutter Diet Blog. She lives in Austin, TX, where her company has provided hands-on organizing services to clients since 2000.

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