How do you dispose of your received postcards if you are not keeping them?

@ChristianJ suggested this topic and I agree, it is a good one that had a little traction in the “Classic Forum” as well, so I am starting it up again here.

Personally, I keep all postcards that are handmade, include a sketch or something similar, have a personal message, have an image that catches my fancy, or where it’s clear someone really went through some effort to match my profile. That covers most cards I receive, but still I end up with cards I don’t want to store for all eternity!

When I receive a postcard that I decide not to keep, I follow this triage:

If it has an interesting stamp I give it to a colleague who collects stamps with his grandson.

If not, but I think I can recycle part of the image for a craft project I will save it for that.

If none of the above, it goes into the recycle bin.

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I have only ever disposed of one postcard, whose sender inappropriately propositioned me. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: His account was promptly closed after I reported him, and he went into the recycling bin with enthusiasm. :triumph:

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I give the stamps to charity and toss the rest in paper recycling. (I know the whole postcard with stamps is a collector’s item in itself, but am not comfortable passing on cards written to me.) I’m not a collector, so this eventually happens to almost all cards I receive. I enjoy them all when I receive them, but over time only keep the very very special ones where the image & text combined make magic. :tophat: :rabbit:

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I don’t collect cards so unless the card has nice message, was handmade, or I liked the design so much it feels bad to throw it away / I want to frame it, the card will eventually be recycled. If the card was written in Finnish, I will keep it as teaching material for my Finnish students.

First I will take off the stamp(s) and then I check if the rest of the card would be good for any crafts done with the kids. If not, then I will cut it into pieces so my address will not be easily visible, and the pieces goes to recycling.

I was first planning to keep every card, but I hate to have lot of things around house and try to have as cluster free life as possible so that just didn’t work out.

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Yikes! I would have reported him, too.

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First, I was saving every card (unless it was offensive in some way), but then in August we moved to a smaller house and I had no good place to store most of my postcards, except for one drawer of which half are Finnish cards (I save all cards with a message in Finnish). So I had to sort through several boxes and keep only my favorites. Most went into the recycling bin.

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I haven’t done it much but I would cut off the stamps if they are nice and in good condition, and then I would shred the address and bin the rest.

The only ones I haven’t kept were a small handful of deeply disappointing cards - flimsy hand-made ‘cards’ with a newspaper clipping stuck on and without even a nice message to balance things out. Those got torn into little pieces and went in the recycling (I’m not counting most hand-made cards in this category, only the ones that really made very little effort. Those ones always seem to have no more than ‘Happy Postcrossing’ on the message side).

I have so many cards that I always have a stack sliding off my cabinets that I am meaning to find a home for - one day I will need to work out a way to cull some.

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When I first started I saved all cards and put them in albums…after filling 2 large albums and thousands of postcards it seemed impracticable so I recycle them…

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This is a really interesting topic, so I have a further question…whats the point of posting and receiving if you don’t collect them? (I’m not being negative at all, this is complete naivety for this newbie and interest) I’m amazed that people receive them but don’t collect them. :blush:

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Speaking for myself I have received over 5000 cards…even if I did keep them I would probably never look at them again however I do up load all my sent/received cards to my gallery…

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This is a great question I have also thought about many times when pondering why exactly I do Postcrossing!

I am sure everybody has different answer for that, but when speaking of myself: I enjoy the moment of surprise, the waiting to see what is in my mailbox, and the brief connection to people from other places. It fascinates me that I can contact with somebody for so short time, share a bit of thought, and then never heard about them again as we both continue our life just as it has been before. There is also the added excitement of waiting to receive (and send to) card from “new place”, and the writing of cards gives me a nice can-be-done-at-home hobby to do during weekends. Of course, I also collect stamps, so that is a big thing BUT I started collecting them because of Postcrossing, not other way around.

So to put it shortly: for me the goal and meaning of Postcrossing is the process of receiving and sending a card. The card itself is merely a nice outcome that I like, but I don’t hold emotional attachment on cards and even if I kept them all I wouldn’t come back to rewind the fleeing moments with strangers… As there are always new moment to look forward for.

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I would say maybe recycle them but take off any personal details.

however I haven’t done that.

Thanks this helpful to think about. :grin:

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I rarely get rid of cards (the storage boxes in my parents’ home will attest), even after 11 years of Postcrossing, private swaps, and approximately 9 long-distance moves (including 4 transatlantic moves).

It would have to be a really homely or disappointing card for me to dispose of it – and I don’t dispose of it right away. I keep a stack of these disliked cards and review them again before deciding I definitely can’t keep them.

Once the decision is made, I cut off the stamps to save for my collector friends and put the rest in the recycling. I have never thought about obliterating the address…I move so often, what would anyone gain by having my address on part of a postcard?

One thing that I get stuck on is that I dislike duplicate cards. For that reason, I often collect postcards blank – then, if someone sends me a written duplicate, I will send the blank card to someone else. However, I’ve kept all my w&s duplicate cards and don’t know what to do with them. :woman_shrugging:t2: Suggestions?

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@Joyful_SMILE Postcards were always a thing when I grew up. We would get them from friends and family on vacation and they would be displayed in the kitchen for a year or so and then one day, they would make room for new cards.
I used to think that that was heartless when I was young and so I stored my correspondence in a little box.
When I started postcrossing, I displayed the cards that I received on my wall and I filled a little book – but that was full soon – and then I started on another wall and another book…
But one day, a horrible thing – or a good thing? – happened. I had to move. I had to move from a very spacey big room to a rather small cramped room and I had to get rid off a lot of stuff (my books :sob:).
So when I moved, I started to adopt the “tradition” of my family again. I still don’t have enough space to keep all cards that I received and I don’t plan to one day have a big wardrobe full of postcards that I would possibly never look at again. Keeping too much stuff can also make you unhappy! I have postcards on almost all of my walls but I don’t collect them and they make room for new cards now and again. Some are favorites though and will probably still line my walls in years to come.
In the end, postcards are also only a means of communication, aren’t they? Albeit a very pretty one.
I do collect stamps! They are interesting, I like to look at them and you can keep hundreds of them in one thin album, that is quite neat. Maybe I will have to restrict myself in that regard one day, too, but that day hasn’t arrived yet.
I don’t always bin my cards. Often, I cover the text and reuse them as postcards to my friends or in recycling groups in the Socially Good Cards RR 🕊 or ♻ Environmentally Friendly Tag.

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This is a thing I have done with some cards as well. A fun start to some new mail art.

I scan the front and back of all cards I receive, so I can keep them without keeping them. (That being said, at this point I’ve only recycled or thrown away ones I actively didn’t want, as opposed to ones I’m neutral about.) I have 4 containers I store them in, and the space is about 2/3 full - I imagine that once it starts to get full, I will make that my limit for keeping cards and start making some harder decisions.

One reason I started doing this in the first place was so that I could scan and send postcards I liked instead of keeping them and starting a monstrous collection, so it follows that I should really do the same thing with the ones I receive!

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Thanks for your reply. It is so helpful getting all the replies. I hadn’t though too far ahead about collecting except that I wanted a new hobby of some sort. :joy:
Definitely something to start thinking about that’s for sure. :grin:

I don’t dispose cards, ever. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I keep them in some big clear boxes and so far my 5000 or so cards take less than 1m² in my 35m² apartment. I can live with that. :smiley: Maybe I’ll dispose them in the future. But it’s super interesting to read how we all take Postcrossing differently here!

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So far I keep all my postcards I have received (except all the postcards from my childhood / youth, they got lost when I moved). But with three persons on 72m² sooner or later all space will be gone and I also don’t like to live in a room full of boxes. So I think one day I have to sort out.
At first I’ll dispose the duplicates. I still don’t know what to do with them. Cutting out the stamps to give to collectors I think.
Aaah…I don’t want to think about it yet…

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