Thursday, January 19, 2012

In Which I Overhaul The Way I Keep Track Of My Mail

Being the start of a new year, I wanted to revamp the way I was keeping track of the lovely mail I've been getting and sending.  Originally (that is, in October, at the start of the 52 Weeks of Mail project), I had printed a 2 columned sheet of paper that looks like this:

I discovered from using this method for about 10 weeks that I am a "batch sender", which is to say, I write around 8 or 10 letters over a period of a couple of days and then send them all out at once, rather than write one or two a day and stick them in the mailbox in the mornings, a few days in a row.  Although my post office is just 5 minutes down the road, it is actually past the interstate, so it's not really technically "on the way" when I am out and about.  So I have to fit it into my day to remember to get over there.  While this list does show what I'm sending and what I'm getting, the sending list is much longer than the getting list, since things take a while to arrive.  It was getting... messy and confusing, very quickly.

Then I read The Pen Thief's Post About Her Mail Log and I fell in love with her idea of making it more like a daily journal than a list.  (Go check it out and come back, I'll wait!)  She's right that a computer generated list conflicts with hand-written letters.  It just does.

I decided to give it a go.  I found this awesome peacock journal at Ross:

I don't really have a good sample page to photo yet, but so far it is working MUCH better than my other method.  Like The Pen Thief, I'm keeping track of the postage I'm spending so I can see what my hobby is running per year.  (I'll tell you this- so far it is waaay cheaper than Civil War Reenacting!  The gasoline!!!)

I also organized my actual mail.  I got an accordion file and put the senders in alphabetical order by last name.  I copy all of my letters before they go in the envelope so that I have both sides of the conversation and don't end up repeating myself.  All of the letters to and from one person are paper clipped together.  Right now it looks like this:

It's getting pretty full (Thank you!!!), so I'll have to go through and bundle some of the earliest ones and archive them in a storage box pretty soon.

I also have gotten so into making my own envelopes and such, that I have gone through all of my old boxes of art supplies and pulled out anything that can be used for letter writing:

A lettering guide for envelope addressing
and a rainbow of pens for coloring and embellishing!
Remember that I worked my way through my college and early married years at Michael's, with a lovely employee discount!  Remember also that even now, I work at Hobby Lobby, which also comes with a lovely employee discount and coupons as well!  Over the course of the last 12 years, the MANY bits and bobs that are leftover from other projects are showing up as very useful for mail art! :) :) :)

Lots and lots and lots of papers for making envelopes! :) 
This pad of beautiful pages was procured at a 40% off sale.
Half the pages have glitter!  All are gorgeous, with or sans glitter.

This is my FAV out of the pack.  I love old sailing ships! :)
I also got this guy around Christmastime, to keep watch over my shoulder as I write.  He's not much good lighting by himself, but combined with other task lighting, he serves as a wonderful little muse. :)

What have you treated the Letter Writer in you to, lately? :)


  1. I have been praying for you and I have been praying alot lately for myself as well and God has been so good to me , I am finally off the ozygen during the day and hopefully will be off of the night time asap as well , Please drop me a line and let me know how you are doing , I have been worried about you, take care my dear .

  2. That is wonderful news, love! Glad you are doing better!! You are constantly in my prayers (and thank you for yours!)!! I am writing to you tomorrow after work, as a matter of fact, so I will see you at the mailbox very soon! :)

  3. I like the ideas. I've started using misty's log idea too ilove it

  4. I want to work at Hobby Lobby! Although I'd probably spend all my pay check on stickers. It sounds like a great hobby you have going - it's nice to get letters and know someone has taken the time to get in touch. Texting, email, blogging - technology gives a lot but sneakily takes away some things too.

  5. It really does! Oddly enough, during Christmas I didn't spend much of my pay at all because I was too busy working all the time! (no days off but Sunday and they are closed then!) :)