Birthday Organization Challenge

Whenever a new year begins, I always feel a new sense of motivation to become more organized in specific areas of my life.  As a card maker, one of my biggest goals has always been to send birthday cards to friends and family in a timely manner.  I always seem to fall short in this area of my life, and it is with a new found sense of commitment that I decided to develop an organizational system that would really *work* for me and my lifestyle. 

To start, I looked at *why* I wasn’t sending out birthday cards.  It wasn’t a lack of cards to send, because believe me, I have boxes of them!  After a bit of analysis, I decided it was about addressing the envelope & having postage stamps on hand, paired with getting the card sent in advance of the birthday to allow for an on-time delivery.  So I figured there were three solutions that needed to be integrated into my birthday organization system:

1. Address the envelopes in advance each month.

2. Have a birthday calender on display as a monthly reminder that also holds each month’s addresses.

3. Establish a designated day each month to prepare the following month’s mailings.

3. Set up online or cell phone reminder system with mailing dates.

Calender_pages
To begin my system, I created my birthday calender.  I decided I needed something that would look great on display on my desk at all times.  I created a template for all of my pages and printed them out onto white cardstock.  After they had been trimmed to size, matted them each onto a piece of ocean tides cardstock that measures 4.75 x 9.5, justifying them towards the right. A small strip of patterned paper from the Polka Dot Parade collection accents the bottom of the page.  I’m including the calender pages I created as a free download here…

Download birthday_book.pdf

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Stamping_inserts
I then cut some aqua mist cardstock to 4.25 x 9.5 pieces.  The edges of these were stamped using one of my favorite patterns from Background Basics: Stars stamp set using ocean tides ink.

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Envelope_insert
These pieces were adhered inside business size envelopes that have had the flap removed, allowing about a 3/8″ extension of the cardstock past the edge of the envelope.  These aqua mist pieces will basically be serving as a decorative envelope lining.

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Cutting_scalloped_edge_2
The extra overhanging aqua mist cardstock that I spoke of earlier serves as the perfect place to add a scalloped edge for a decorative element.  Once the envelope is turned over, the edge of the opening serves as a great guideline when trimming with the scalloped scissors.

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Calender_page_envelope After preparing enough elements for each of the twelve months, it is time for assembly. 

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Scalloped_edge_closeup
The matted calender pages get adhered to the backs of the envelopes, with the right-hand edge of the calender page being aligned with the edge of the envelope opening.

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Addresses
Punched holes and binder rings hold all of the pages together, as you can see. To create an easy to use addressing system, I simply went into a standard word processing program that had a template included for address labels, and typed in ALL of the people I wanted to send birthday cards to this year.  I saved the file as Birthday Addresses.  I can now go back and print the entire document once a year and have all the addresses at my fingertips.  This also allows me an easy way to update the file as necessary when people move. I then cut the addresses into small blocks according to month.  For example, I kept all of the March birthdays together in one block, April in another block, etc…  These address label blocks can now be filed in the appropriate envelope for each month.

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Completed_interior
I purchased a few books of Forever stamps at the post office.  These stamps are a great solution to the increasing postage we continue to see because they are valid “forever”.  I can purchase enough stamps for the entire year of birthdays, and not have to try to keep up with postage changes.  The books of stamps were separated into appropriate quantities for each month and added to the corresponding envelopes with the address labels.  I am now prepared to sit down on the 25th of each month and prepare all of my envelopes & cards for the birthdays that will be celebrated the following month. 

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Main_calendar20081216
I opted to use my iPhone as my best option for electronic reminders to send the cards out approximately one week before each birthday.  I use the calender/task list every morning, so it is the most logical way to schedule reminders.  If you are not a regular or savvy cell phone user, you can also find reminder services online within your email program or calenders.

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Return_address_2
One last tidbit to share, is this fun website I found a few years ago to order a personalized return address stamp from, Paper Angel.  I always get so many comments on the stamp and it is so much easier than having to use return address labels on my envelopes.  Check out their full line of products because they also have really great options for the back of your cards as well!

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After coming to the conclusion that organization is key, I thought it would be interesting to see what the Senior Design Team members came up with when posed with same challenge.  You can click on each of their names below to take a peek inside their systems, whether they be old or new, and find something you identify with. Utilize one idea in particular that perks your interest, or combine a bit of each to form a single unique system that will work for you.  Either way, enjoy the variety of options that the team has put together for you today…
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Michelle
Michelle Wooderson created a Rolodex system paired with a beautiful box and customized clips to keep her organized this year.

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Debbie
Debbie Olson created an absolutely stunning card box, complete with an organized tab system that is simple & easy to use.

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Heather
Heather Nichols showcases her tried and true basket organization, which would be really simple to create in your own space.

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Lauren
Lauren Meader utilized the pockets from her All Boxed Up template to create a divider system that suits her needs.

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Lisa
Lisa Johnson developed a magnetic birthday calender system that can stay close at hand on the fridge.

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I think this month’s challenge was met with such thoroughness and ingenuity.  I hope you will stop by each designer’s blog today and thank them for their contributions.  With all of these ideas, anyone can successfully keep a goal of mailing birthday cards to the special people in their lives!  Happy New Year!

Signature

Nichole Heady

Author Nichole Heady

More posts by Nichole Heady

Join the discussion 60 Comments

  • 1
    scrapanath says:

    great idea!!!
    I have to do mine !!
    love all the projects!
    nath

  • 2
    Alyssa says:

    Thanks so much for the inspiration. What can I say? Stunning as always…10/10

  • 3
    Laurence says:

    Eveything is so clever, that’s the best ideas for Bday organization I’ve ever seen ! Thanks a lot for sharing !

  • 4
    Joan B says:

    Thank you so much for the download. I LOVE this and the attached envelopes. What an awesome, doable project and one that would also make a nice gift.

  • 5
    Rachel M. says:

    I really need to do this! What a wonderful idea!

  • 6
    Tricia T says:

    Oh, this is fabulous, Nicole!!! What a great present this would make. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  • 7
    Donelda says:

    Okay, while I love everyone’s projects (your design team really is the best), your project is exactly the system I’ve been attempting to create!! I love it!! I am off to my craft room to create now. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  • 8
    Tracy Y says:

    I love your system! I would like to modify your version slightly by adding an Anniversary listing to match the Birthday listing. Would you be willing to create an Anniversary listing pdf download file? Thanks for the motivation! I love to organize!

  • 9

    Thank you for the inspiration. I love all projects ! The magnets is a genious idea !! Thank you !! (and excuse my english, I speak french, and my english is not good… but I try !!)

  • 10
    Elizabeth S. says:

    Nichole,
    This is such a great idea!! I am going to get started on making something like this. I thought of even add my kids anniversaries to the list. Thank you for such inspirations. I might even make a couple for gifts.

  • 11

    WOW AND WOW.. I love it!! I have to do your idea Nichole that is one of my goals too.. WOW I LOVE ITTT and I think I could do it! hmmmm ๐Ÿ™‚ Off to print out the months thank you so much for sharing those! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 12
    Melissa K says:

    Oh, I can’t wait to make this! It’s always been a struggle for me as well. Thank you for sharing your system and the free download. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 13
    Kathi says:

    I too would like something similar for anniversary reminders…could you add the word under birthdays so it would be just one sheet for each month??? Just love all your neat ideas!

  • 14
    Leora Henkin says:

    Thanks Nichole. I loved your idea so much that I went and made one right away. I have just finished filling in the birthdays that I have, but I need to call family and update my list. Thanks for the inspiration. I love it!

  • 15
    Bee says:

    Such great ideas and projects! Thanks for sharing your downloads too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • 16
    Penny says:

    WOW Nichole! Absolutely love it!! Thanks for sharing and for your work on the pdf download. I’m going to make mine in my new fave color, raspberry fizz!

  • 17
    Sue says:

    Love the idea. I hope to make mine this coming week.

  • 18
    Beth Silaika says:

    Oh My GOOD Gracious Heart! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!

  • 19
    Jeanne says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your idea. I love the lined envelope to help hold them. Thank you for your template. I always love your design and crafty ideas. Don’t you just love Forever Stamps?

  • 20
    Rachelle says:

    Thanks for challenging the design team with such a perfect challenge for this time of year. I just love your new system and hope to find time soon to utilize all the new ideas I am getting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 21
    Karen says:

    Love the idea! I’m also really enjoying the DT’s ideas as well…no surprise there! I would love to see more organizing ideas in the future as well. I’m always on the lookout for those as I’m either super organized or a total disaster. Once I have a system in place, I’m good….but without one that works for me….well…sigh. And its really fun to make them pretty and enjoyable to come and get the task done with! Thanks for the download too!

  • 22
    Alyssa says:

    Do you not play anymore Nicole? I was looking through your archives and you seemed to ‘just happen’ to make cards alot more then instead of only during countdowns. I miss seeing some cards with old sets and different techniques. Hmmm….are you just really busy or do you not make as many cards anymore?

  • 23
    Margaret C says:

    Man, what BEAUTIFUL ideas !!! I already have a system that works (way simpler and not nearly as pretty!) but bookmarking to CREATE this as gifts for friends – not that I’m commenting on their organisational capabilities, seriously !!

  • 24
    Donna says:

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea and the template. I too would always have the best intentions of being prompt with my wishes and cards, but never got my act all together. I’m going to give your system a try. I promise to come back and let know how it’s going!

  • 25
    ER says:

    This is amazing! I, too, get held up at the envelope addressing/postage stage! love, love, love it!

  • 26
    Sue Jones says:

    Hello, I love your site! I am having trouble downloading your Birthday book PDF file. Is there any way that you could email it to me?

  • 27
    Jessica says:

    Thank you!! That is so funny that you came up with this idea. It has always been a new years resolution for me since I started making cards. Needless to say it never (or hardly ever happens). All I needed was motivation, inspiration and a little organization- like always you ladies are there to do just that.

    Greatly appreciate it!! :0)
    Jessica

  • 28
    Pam from Chicagoland says:

    Nichole you continue to amaze me. I could tell on our cruise that you are super organized and I love that about you but this project proves it once again. Thanks for the template – I agree with the other posters that a combined Birthdays/Anniveraries list would be great because I send cards for both. Life with an iPhone is so much easier ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks for sharing another great idea.
    Hugs!

  • 29
    Pat Hines says:

    Amazing ideas from everyone!!! Thank you for the birthday book template, I am printing it out now and am going to try it this afternoon.

  • 30
    mia.t says:

    Thank You for sharing this wonderful inspiration and the pdf-file! I love it!!

  • 31
    donna Vere says:

    Thank you so much for the calendar template. I made one several years ago and then lost it. I wasn’t looking forward to making another one and now I don’t have to. Thanks again..Donna

  • 32
    Terri E. says:

    Thank you for knowing how to meet my needs without any help from me LOL! It has been a goal for the past 3 years to actually send out these fabulous cards I make to family and friends, but it never seems to get accomplished. I have gleaned good ideas from all of your fabulously talented designers. Thank you so much.

    It’s a good life!
    Terri E.

    PS I am in love with Lauren’s templates and that you can get them right away. Geneous!

  • 33
    Crafty Math Chick says:

    Thanks for the terrific suggestions Nichole!

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

    ~Meredith

  • 34
    Charlotte Hutcheson says:

    Yall are the best, and I am so glad that I discovered Papertrey and the great designers. You have wonderful, creative ideas, the greatest stamps, and the best wrapped packages. I will do my best to keep you in business in 2009–and thanks for making it in the USA. Best regards, Charlotte

  • 35
    Lori A. says:

    Very cool idea!! This looks like something that would work for me.

  • 36
    Roxanne says:

    What a great project! Thanks for the PDF file and for the tip on the personalized stamps. Can’t wait to try it myself! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 37

    Thanks for the great ideas! My card storage box was functional but not pretty. Now it’s both. Check out my blog for before and after pics.

    http://www.danasdabblingstudio.blogspot.com

    Thanks,
    Dana

  • 38
    Patti W says:

    Thanks for these suggestions. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and even for gifts, but just didn’t know quite how I wanted to design it. Now I have some great ideas!

  • 39
    Area Rugs says:

    I really like the magnetic birthday calendar. It’s really neat and innovative.

  • 40
    tchrtiff says:

    Thanks for the great ideas! This is one of the projects I have to do this year. I make lots of cards but never seem to get them out in a timely manner and I figured out it’s b/c I need a bday calendar. Thanks for the template!!

  • 41
    antje says:

    what a great idea!!! That was just what I needed… I went through all the great ideas of your team … and made my own mix out of it. Thanks for sharing this wonderful project!

  • 42
    Tonya Peters says:

    Thank you for sharing the download! Your very generous and giving. I love all the ideas in this post!

  • 43
    Kim says:

    Wonderful ideas as always! Thanks for all the inspiration!

  • 44

    I LOVE, LOVE your bday organizer! It has been an idea of mine to get organized when it comes to friends and family bdays but it just somehow continutes to escape me.
    This is Teriffic! Thanks for the idea.
    ~Tracy (from Dream Street)

  • 45
    Cassandra says:

    Hi Nichole,

    I don’t know if you will get this a reply since you get so many… If so that would be greatly appreciated. I’m so hooked on your blog and just love all your inspriation. I’ve got everything cut and stamped for the birthday organizer.. I’ve got one problem..I’m not quite sure of the business size envelopes. I can find standard which are 4 and 1/8 by 9 and 1/2.. the measurements for the stamped piece of cardstock for insertion in the envelopes says 4.25 by 9.50… I’ve got to Office Depot and a few other places… Without any luck… If this is a careless mistake on me please someone let me know… I’m eager to get this put together… Thanks for all your inspiration along with the team, along with sharing so much with us… You really are appreciated!

  • 46
    Debbie says:

    Thank you for these sets, they take my breath away, just beautiful

  • 47

    I wanted to thank you for this challenge. I feel so much more organized for 2009. I took your birthday organization one step further so I could organize all my extra cards too. Here’s my final project:
    http://indianainking.blogspot.com/2009/01/birthday-organizer-and-more.html
    Thanks again!
    Donna

  • 48
    Alexandra Steeley says:

    great work i am going to do the birthday calendar this week. I have been wanting to do it and haven’t for years. Thanks for the inspiration

    Alexandra

  • 49
    Claire says:

    Hi Loving your blog.
    I had subscribed a very long time ago and am now finding that I am not getting any of your entries. Can you help me out?

    Thank you

  • 50
    Minxy says:

    WOW, i found you blog through a friends as i have been meaning to make up a new birthday book for ages, thank you so much for the download, and the inspiration, your blog is fab, and this project is definatly at the top of my to do list :O)

  • 51
    Vivienne says:

    Brilliant idea! One I will try for sure.
    Viv xx

  • 52
    Evelyn Morrell says:

    Once again you guys amaze me. I so long to be organized especailly with my birthday cards. Maybe some day I will have all the tools and time I need to creat one of these beauties.

    Thanks for sharing

  • 53
    Tracey says:

    That is so cute. I have the same problem-cards get made but it is the addressing and postage that is a problem. I love how the postage stamps is in there ready to go-no looking around. Thanks for the inspiration

  • 54
    Alex says:

    I can’t wait to have a go at this myself ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for a great tutorial and the Birthday Calendar pdf file.

    Alex from England x

  • 55
    Trish Foster says:

    Hello … I’m new to the Internet and am having a great time looking up graphics – I’ve especially enjoyed looking at your site; your work is tasteful, imaginative and a pleasure to look at. It’s inspired me. Thanks for sharing your work.

    Best wishes, Trish

  • 56
    Anne Chase says:

    HI,

    I love the birthday calendar. I wondered
    what you used to adhere the pieces together.

  • 57
    Megan says:

    Thank you! I have been looking for some new ideas that might possible work this year! I appreciate it.

  • 58
    Andrea says:

    I want to download the booket PDF but nothing comes up. I am so in love with this idea! Am I doing it wrong?

  • 59
    Biggie says:

    Thanks for the great idea and Download! Love this.
    Biggie

  • 60
    Emma Storey says:

    How do I buy one of these boxes?

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