Ask The Desk: Organizing Correspondence

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I recently received a letter from Paul asking:

What are the best practices for archiving correspondence?

My first recommendation was the Paper & Type Letter Ledger which I use to archive all my correspondence. I use this to track regular correspondence as well as any thank you notes I might send. Christmas cards and thank yous get stored in a list in Field Notes since I really only reference those lists once a year. After some thought, I came up with a couple other ideas.

One idea is to tag letters with a sticky note with notes regarding your reply. You can write a few lines about what your reply stated, the date sent and any other info you think relevant. Then you can file the letter. I do store my letters.

I file my letters in accordion file folders by recipient. When I strike up a new correspondence, I have a folder for “Misc. Correspondence”. Once I’ve received a few letters from the same person, they get their own folder.

I read somewhere (it was ages ago so I’m not sure who does this. If its you, leave a note in the comments!) to store letters in 3-ring binders. You can slide the letter into a plastic sleeve with the envelope if you’re inclined to keep that too. Or simply hole punch the letter. Then you can easily review previous letters. You can add a 3×5″ card or sticky note to the sleeve with information regarding your reply. Add divider tabs for each correspondent.

For a digital solution, I saw this post on Lettermo. K. Tempest Bradford recommended using Evernote to photograph and tag your outgoing letters. You can then tag the photo and Evernote may even recognize words written in the letter depending on how tidy your handwriting is. You could actually photograph your incoming post as well and put both images in a collection so that you have quick access to the history of your correspondence. I think this is absolutely brilliant.

Hope these ideas help. Anyone have a different technique for tracking what you’ve written or how you keep your letters?

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3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thank you so much for posting this, I can’t believe I found it today. Just last night I went through all of my correspondence and put it in piles by sender. I thought all day about how to organize them and then a quick google and there this was at the top of the list. I’m so excited to get back into letter writing. Thanks again! Stephanie (Gray Dog Mail)

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