Memories in a Box

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When I am old and grey, I will open this box of cards and read every single one.  I swear I will.


Those cards are filled with my favorite memories, insides jokes that I can’t remember, and descriptions of vacations, parties, milestones, and hot dates. :)  I can’t throw them away!


I have kept about 75% of the cards I’ve received since 2001.  I am a CARD HOARDER.  The wedding cards have their own box.


Do you keep cards, too?


I was in crazy-lady organizing, cleaning, and packing mode today.  We move to North Carolina in… 11 days!


This evening’s task involved going through all of our photos, letters, and other memories and organizing them into plastic boxes.


Guess what I found?  A letter I wrote to myself in 2004 (I was 20).  I was on a plane going to Europe with BFF Sarah, and my personal life was in a major upheaval.  I had a “epiphany” about life on that plane ride across the Atlantic, and I wrote it all down.  I was going to share it on the blog, but on second read, maybe it’s too personal.  But it was a fun thing to find, and I think I’ll write myself a letter NOW so I can find it in 2016 and relive everything I’m doing now. 🙂


Fuel for packing was a Naturally Nutty chocolate toffee peanut butter sandwich!




Glorious two-egg omelet with spinach, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and gorgonzola cheese.


And polenta “hash browns,” which I made by stir-frying slices of polenta next to the ‘shrooms and sundried tomatoes.  The flavors mixed perfectly.  Plus – one dish clean-up!



I’m eyeing up an apple for dessert!


Good night, my friends!


Edited to add:  Just stayed up real late… so late I got hungry.  So I had more PB toast.



  • Jenny June 16, 2010, 9:23 pm

    That’s amazing ! I love finding old letters, and have some in my closet. Maybe I’ll bring them
    out tonight?

  • Whitney @ Lettuce Love June 16, 2010, 9:24 pm

    I am so glad that I am not alone — I am a card hoarder too! I have cards from middle school. I love finding letters that I’ve written to myself years ago or old journals. So much fun 🙂

  • Kaz June 16, 2010, 9:24 pm

    I can’t throw anything away. I have old essays and homework assignments from my childhood that I can’t bear to part with. I love to re-read the essays now, almost ten years later, to see how my writing has evolved.

    Your dinner looks simple and delicious! I love the polenta hash browns idea.

  • Lauren (Clean Eats in the Dirty South) June 16, 2010, 9:25 pm

    that’s so awesome. i need to start keeping more cards, so sentimental. i wish i’d kept cards from my grandparents along with the pictures i have of them. i’m very minimalistic. i don’t keep anything and it’s a bit obsessive!

  • Erika @ Thirty, House and a Baby June 16, 2010, 9:25 pm

    I am also in the midst of packing and was trying to figure out a way to organize cards that I receive….I have them all in random places and want to keep them in one place!

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat) June 16, 2010, 9:28 pm

    In 8th grade, our teacher had us write a letter to ourselves as seniors in high school. She kept them for 4 years and at the end of our senior year, she mailed them to our home address!!

    We also wrote letters to friends too. Both fun and funny to read!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine June 16, 2010, 9:29 pm

    I wrote a letter to myself on a retreat my senior year of high school and won’t recieve it for another two years…I can’t wait to get it 🙂 There’s something to personal and wonderful about seeing how far you’ve come, and how despite all the hardships and triumphs, you’re still the same person, only stronger!

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter June 16, 2010, 9:30 pm

    I wrote a note to myself my freshman year of high school and I got to read it after graduation. It was about my friends, my crushes and what was going on in my life at the time. It’s funny that I really couldn’t dig deeper than that.

  • BroccoliHut June 16, 2010, 9:31 pm

    I keep cards too, but I am not nearly as organized as you are–all of mine are scattered about my bulletin board in disarray. I love them though, and I can’t bear to throw them out.

  • Christina June 16, 2010, 9:32 pm

    Yes! I am totally sentimental about cards and photos, I totally have cards from when I was younger than 5, they’re fun to look at!

  • Sydney June 16, 2010, 9:35 pm

    I wish I had your discipline to organize… I am such a mess! And breakfast for dinner sure sounds good; I haven’t done that in forever.

  • Mo@MommyRD June 16, 2010, 9:38 pm

    You’re so creative – that dinner sounds fantastic! Good call on polenta hash browns. 🙂

    Great job on organizing.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) June 16, 2010, 9:38 pm

    i am totally a card hoarder…it’s a sad, sad thing to see how many cards i have and don’t really know what the context is 🙂 i’m proud of you for packing so early! when we moved to colorado we STARTED packing 2 days before the move!

  • Kristie June 16, 2010, 9:42 pm

    I save all the cards that have a personal message in them – if they’re just birthday or Christmas cards that have the person’s name signed inside I can part with them :). But I still look through cards I got at my high school graduation (5 years ago) when I need a little pick-me-up!

  • Dorry June 16, 2010, 9:44 pm

    Yes, I keep greeting cards, too! Especially the ones from my grandparents – those are priceless to me. Stacks and stacks of them filed away in a very safe spot. 🙂

  • nicole June 16, 2010, 9:45 pm

    When I was in eighth grade we wrote letters to our future selves in language arts class. When we were seniors the teachers sent them to us-OMG I read it and was so surprised how much I had changed! I actually threw it out because I realized how embarrassed I would be if anyone else read it lol!

  • Paige June 16, 2010, 9:48 pm

    What a tease! 😉 I love looking through old stuff when I move…even though it’s tedious, I love re-discovering things that, at one time, meant something to me. I’m sure you’ll uncover more treasures as you continue to pack!

  • Marilou @ Mostly Healthy June 16, 2010, 9:59 pm

    Since I turned 18,I write a letter to myself every year at my birthday. I keep them somewhere and before writing the new one, I read all the other one. It keeps me grounded as from where I was to where I am now.

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething June 16, 2010, 10:08 pm

    i can’t believe you move in 11 days! i have a bin in my garage-of course i am 40 so many more cards to hoard away!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) June 16, 2010, 10:08 pm

    oooh I love the idea of the polenta hash browns!

    I am a hoarder – but with limits. I kept cards from special birthdays – (and our wedding) but not too much!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie June 16, 2010, 10:20 pm

    Haha, my sister and I used to write letters to future selves all the time. They were fun to read but I had such a good memory that I usually remembered what I wrote!

  • Annie June 16, 2010, 10:22 pm

    I am definitely a card hoarder. I have boxes under my bed filled with them. I keep all of them. I started when I first went to sleep away camp (at 6 or 7). My mom used to write a note before I even left for camp, that way I’d have mail the first day. 🙂 Re-reading cards and notes family and friends took the time to write is precious.

  • Steph June 16, 2010, 10:32 pm

    Hey Caitlin, on FutureMe.Org you can write emails to yourself to be sent in the future. I did one to be sent to me on my graduation date this year and made my own self cry HAHA 🙂

    • Caitlin June 17, 2010, 1:16 pm

      thats awesome! i love the idea of that website.

  • Jacquie June 16, 2010, 10:33 pm

    I love how once one person say they’re something (like a card hoarder), we all finally admit it. Because, yes I have sooo many cards at my parent’s house and probably won’t throw them away anytime soon 🙂

  • Chelsey June 16, 2010, 10:38 pm

    Sometimes I wish I were a card hoarder – I usually only save the ones that are really funny and/or have a long note in them.

    I do, however, have a box of notes from junior high and high school. I go back and read them at least once a year – it totally cracks me up and brings back awesome memories!

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance....after a 100+ Pound Weight Loss!!! June 16, 2010, 10:43 pm

    Love the Polenta! And, the organizing……did the recently before our move as well. It always takes you down memory lane. =)

  • Julie @ Pickley Pear June 16, 2010, 10:44 pm

    I could probably eat polenta that way, never tried it, because I don’t know how to cook it!
    I don’t keep cards. I’m a hoarder of other things and cards would be a cluster. I have a box of sentimental items though – from ex’s, grandparents and friends. Just things to remind me of the important things in life!

  • Ash Bear June 16, 2010, 10:45 pm

    I actually regret the fact that I didn’t keep wedding cards, etc. But, Bo and I have every letter/note that we’ve given to each other during our 7 years together so I guess that’s headway! I really need to get better about printing out pictures now and putting them in albums.

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople June 16, 2010, 10:47 pm

    I used to save all of the notes my friends would pass to me in class. One day in high school I was cleaning my room and thought to myself “I will absolutely never read any of these again” and I THREW THEM ALL AWAY!

    I still can’t believe I did that! I had notes dating back to the beginning of middle school! That would have been so neat to come across now. Ah well. I can always write a letter to myself to find in the future, too!

  • Mary June 16, 2010, 11:24 pm

    i used to be a card hoarder. when I moved to North Carolina though last year I had to go through and I think my mom threw them away accidentally. very upsetting.

  • Jolene ( June 16, 2010, 11:46 pm

    I used to write letters to myself all the time … I don’t do it anymore and I don’t know why.

  • Kristin@MissOnMyOwn June 16, 2010, 11:51 pm

    I keep all of my cards and I am hurt when others don’t keep the cards that I give them and I buy special cards for my niece and nephew hoping that they will look back at them. It’s my Mom’s fault! She saved all of mine for me from birth!

  • Camille June 17, 2010, 12:39 am

    I don’t keep cards… but I have a “Memory box” with all sorts of other keepsakes!

  • Amanda (modernation) June 17, 2010, 1:01 am

    Ooooh…I love the idea of polenta hash browns. Yum! I save cards, too, but usually go through them once a year to get rid of some of them. We just did this and it was cute reading cards Aaron and I wrote to each other.

  • Wei-Wei June 17, 2010, 1:31 am

    I wrote myself a letter on the last day of school along with four of my friends… I don’t know where they went, but I do remember that they were written before my ED struck me. I don’t even remember what I wrote on the letter… I wish I could find it. 🙁 I don’t keep cards, though. I may have gotten like… 5, over the years? Sad, I know.


  • Helen June 17, 2010, 1:54 am

    I am a keeper of cards too! Both me and the bf have separate boxes where all our memory things are kept. I refuse to throw any away as I know that I will regret it.
    It would have been interesting to know what was in your letter but it must have been really personal – I’m just glad things are so much better for you now.
    Loving your omelette btw, love sundried tomatoes in anything.

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 17, 2010, 3:14 am

    Writing a letter to yourself – that’s such a beautiful idea!
    I’m a hoarder of letters and random bits of crap like cinema tickets the most I think; I only keep birthday/christmas cards if they’ve got something special written in them. I have a box full of my stuff 😀

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit June 17, 2010, 3:53 am

    I have saved cards and letters I’ve received since I was little, so I have a lot! I’m not a big hoarder/collecter in general, only with cards and letters. My Grandmother and I have been penpals since I was around 7 (I’m 24 now!) so I think those letters were what inspired me to save. I love writing and receiving letters.

    Good luck with everything! So excited for you.

  • Julia @ Brit Bride June 17, 2010, 4:28 am

    Ha ha I too am a “keeper of the cards” – not all of them, but those that mean something to me. I have kept ALL our engagement cards though and will do the same with our wedding cards. I also keep things like orders of service from other peoples’ weddings, race badges, that sort of thing. I hoard, but with purpose! I can literally spend hours going through everything if I happen to chance upon the boxes whilst cleaning. I have cards in there from my boyfriend (now one of my best friends!) when I was 16 and things.

    Loving the shoes by the way.


  • jen June 17, 2010, 6:03 am

    This summer, I actually found all of the cards I got through the first year of my birth (apparently my mom is a card hoarder too). There were cards from my birth, easter, christmas, and then my first birthday. I spent about an hour just reading them all, and it was definitely teary-eyed and awesome. You will definitely, definitely love looking back through those memories.

  • Cassie @ Tasteful Tales June 17, 2010, 6:47 am

    Card hoarder here! So don’t feel bad 🙂 I even organizing them by who gives them to me – Can you say OCD?

  • Katherine June 17, 2010, 7:12 am

    I had to clean out my childhood room and so many of my old pictures, cards and notes were thrown away. It really was painful seeing them all gone into the trash can because it did feel like throwing away memories (I hid all the cards in a box in the attic; I know I’ll appreciate what my grandmother wrote on my seventh birthday when I look back)

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) June 17, 2010, 7:14 am

    I love cards too…they hold such fun memories, thoughts, and words. Love it. 😀

  • Sarah June 17, 2010, 7:21 am

    My grandmother saved every card ANYONE ever gave her. She died when she was 87. My mom and aunt went through every card and separated them for every grandchild…all 13 of us! I received a package of cards in the mail that I had given her when I was a little girl…all the way through college! (They smelled like smoke…her bad habit which I hate…but that made them even more real) So…you’re not crazy!

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) June 17, 2010, 7:41 am

    I am totally a card hoarder- I love keeping cards! 🙂


  • Diana (Mymarblerye) June 17, 2010, 7:50 am

    i only keep cards that have something meaningful written in it..I toss the ones that say “WISH YOU ALL THE BEST! HAPPY BIRTHDAY”…CHUNK.

  • Diana June 17, 2010, 8:23 am

    Yes! I’m a card hoarder too!!! This year, I’ve been starting to toss them…it’s so hard to let them go, though!

  • Jackie @ carolina_vogue June 17, 2010, 8:40 am

    I collect cards 🙂 I keep the ones I receive, but I also buy vintage ones I find at flea markets!

    I’m so happy for you and your move to Charlotte – it was the best thing I ever did and I hope you love it!

    • caitlin June 17, 2010, 8:57 am

      thanks!!! i’m so excited!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman June 17, 2010, 8:54 am

    I save all the cards I get too, but now it’s becoming clutter so I may have to suck it up and trash them. I hope future me forgives me.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin June 17, 2010, 9:04 am

    I love your idea to write letters to yourself. Those would be so fun to read a couple of years down the road!

  • Juliene June 17, 2010, 9:08 am

    I’m so glad I am not the only one who does this. I have kept every card that my husband has given me since we started dating 7 years ago, now I have a 10 gallon rubbermaid container full of memories. It’s something I can’t wait to share with out kids and grandkids someday.

  • Emma June 17, 2010, 9:53 am

    I save all the cards I get too! I have an overflowing box in my closet. Some are not really sentimental but from relatives and I would feel bad throwing them away.

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing June 17, 2010, 9:56 am

    I have to MAKE myself throw away cards. I did keep the wedding ones, though. 🙂 That dinner looks awesome. I LOVE polenta.

  • Amy June 17, 2010, 10:20 am

    Have you ever heard of You can send yourself an email that will be delivered at a time of your choosing in the future. When we have 100 days until our wedding, I am going to send one to myself for me to read on our wedding day. 🙂

    • Caitlin June 17, 2010, 1:18 pm

      that is such a sweet idea… i just love it.

  • Nicci@NiftyEats June 17, 2010, 10:43 am

    I keep cards too, funny looking back at what friends have written inside and the jokes make me laught too.

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing June 17, 2010, 10:47 am

    That is such a cute idea! I hardly ever save cards unless they are super, super special but it would be fun to have a nicely organized box of them to read through years later. Maybe I will borrow that idea from you 🙂

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg June 17, 2010, 10:47 am

    I save a lot of my cards…not all of them, but all of the significant ones, for sure. How cool that you found that letter! I love finding things like that.

  • Rebecca @ Tales from the Range June 17, 2010, 11:00 am

    My husband is a card hoarder and I can understand why but I just don’t know what to do with stacks and stacks of cards. What a great idea to keep them organized like that – I’m going to the container store this afternoon! 🙂

  • Mindy @ just a one girl revolution. June 17, 2010, 11:01 am

    I save a good chunk of cards…the ones that people actually take time to write something, even if just a little. If it’s just a signature, I usually don’t. I definitely need to steal the idea of that box though!

  • Angie(River Trekker) June 17, 2010, 12:10 pm

    I was thinking that in a way you are writing your self a card but in a huge way by keeping this blog and relive it all with all your fantastic pictures. I hope that makes sense,my sister once made fun and said “I think inside the box.” 😀
    I’m crazy and throw most of my cards away because I so messy.

  • Olivia @ Blissful Runner June 17, 2010, 12:43 pm

    I save cards too, but I have to hand it to you for being far more oganized about it that I am!

  • Heather June 17, 2010, 12:56 pm

    guess what i did yesterday – WENT THROUGH MY CARDS. Dead serious. I was on major memory organization mode on my day off yesterday – first i put all of my high school photos in albums and organized my photos from 2001-2010 for when i get more albums.

    Then i sorted out my HUGE memory box. (im talking, like HUGE. Like, Bigger that the biggest suit case HUGE.) i would guess about 40% of the contents are cards and letters from my life time. I am making my own scrapbook with the cards – seperating them by year and occasion. Now that a bunch of my photos are organized, I may try to incorporate a few copies of them from the events (birthdays/holidays/etc) too. It’s going to be a huge, fun project and im pretty excited about it.

    The first piece of writing work I ever REALLY started as a “piece” was a play. It’s a one character stage play, with multiple character voiceovers. the character is sorting through his memory box and as he unvcovers pieces from his life, so much character development appears as he “relives” emotions (this is where the voice overs come in – letters read in the voices of the people who sent them, remembering dialog between main character and the person who gave him the trinket he’s holding, etc.) I need to find it and give it a polish because I think it’s a really interesting concept, and I cuold probably bulk it up a bunch since I first started working on it before I was in my twenties.

    i dont know why i just told you about that. ha.

    • Caitlin June 17, 2010, 1:17 pm

      i love your comments. side note.

  • Ellen Collis June 17, 2010, 1:33 pm

    Cards and letters are my favorite thing in the WORLD! I have stacks of cards in my kitchen of all places! They aren’t organized at all, but they always make me smile. My dad passed away a few years ago, but I have kept a few letters he wrote me when I was in college and when I first moved to NYC. I absolutely love reading them. Letters have a way of making you feel like the person is actually talking to you, which is just so special.

  • Kati June 17, 2010, 2:18 pm

    I’m so happy you showed your card box! I have something extremely similar and I always feel like a nut holding on to cards. But, I would feel so bad throwing away something that someone else put thought into! Even though I hate packing up and moving, I always enjoy the part where I sit on the floor, spread out all the cards and feel loved by all the kind words and letters I have received over the years!

  • Jackie (Peaces of Earth) June 17, 2010, 4:37 pm

    I CANNOT throw away cards! Glad I’m not the only one. 🙂

  • Natalie @ cinnamonbums June 18, 2010, 2:17 am

    i can totally relate to you on the hoarding cards thing! i totally do that. i keep ANYTHING that has even the tiniest bit of sentimental value – cards, letters, tickets, etc… and i’ve been doing this since i was 7! such a bad habit.

    i loveee polenta!

  • Heather Rose June 18, 2010, 3:29 am

    I save all of my cards too! I’ve been doing it since 8th grade graduation…there fun to look back on, but when I stumble across that box the rest of the day is done, I’m not going to get anything else accomplished b/c I’ll be reminiscing!

  • Jessica June 18, 2010, 8:11 am

    I save all my cards too! I have numerous notes from middle school and high school that my friends and I would pass in class… I haven’t read them in years, but I’m sure those would be entertaining now 🙂 I save everything…

  • Jes (Self Motivation) June 18, 2010, 3:21 pm

    I have cards back from when I was little. My mom saved them for me, and now I save my own. I have a box where I keep ticket stubs, playbills, cards, and other assorted items. Cards are my absolute favorite though. My boyfriend knows that is my favorite part of any holiday or gift. I also collect post cards.

  • Meredith @ An Epic Change June 18, 2010, 11:31 pm

    I’m a little late getting to this, but I love letters to yourself! actually my university has a tradition for all the freshmen and senior women during the first few weeks of classes. the seniors wear grad robes, the freshmen wear white dresses, and we all gather in the chapel. after speeches, awards to seniors, and signing the honor code, the freshmen are given paper and envelopes to write letters to themselves. the seniors are then given back the letters they wrote 4 years ago to read. it was so powerful! we were all crying and laughing and some of us (me) were even still sitting with the same people as we did freshmen year. it was a really powerful thing and I think it is such a great idea.

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