Got a lot of business cards piling up, that you never find the time to organize? As with so many organizing challenges, the answer lies in the divide-and-conquer approach.
Collected in piles or bundles, business cards tend to take up residence, but broken up into simple categories they become more useable. If they’re not useable, why keep them at all?
I’m not a fan of the Rolodex for three reasons:
1. No matter how large, the Rolodex is rarely an adequate size for all your business cards.
2. The Rolodex sorts alphabetically, which can often be confusing in finding a card. Do you sort by personal name, company name, or profession?
3. The Rolodex takes up too much valuable surface area.
I recommend a 1-1/2 inch binder with business card pages. I emphasize 1-1/2 inches because more than that becomes clumsy and un-useable. Again, if it’s not useable, why keep it?
Label each page a category. This does two things. It provides room to grow for resource you may want more of and it sets a limit on items within a category. Can you really use more than 20 lawyers?
Here are some categories I have found in almost every household:
doctors, health, lawyers, finance, insurance, contractors, home services,
real estate, restaurants, shopping, and assorted services.
Here are some additional categories I find with typical businesses:
Business services, computers, marketing/public relations, and graphic designers/photographers.
The answer to where you should keep something always lies in the question WHY you are keeping something. Business cards are no exception. Here then are some less obvious categories: odd services (fits no category), people I know (people whose services you have no intention of using, but you know personally), my cards (a professional history of your different business cards), and blank cards (ready to fill out for contacts without business cards.)
One thing I hear a lot is “I just need to find the time to scan them all, then I can throw them all away.” I have yet to meet the person who has all their business cards scanned and in their data base, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong this goal. In the meantime, however, my binder plan would put you way ahead on this goal, quickly and easily.
Finally, there are just some cards you use more than ever. Again the question of WHERE you keep them comes back to WHY you keep them. A clear shoebox sized box will do for the back up supply and for a handy assortment of your favorites, again keep them in a business card pages. I like to keep these pages inside a large clear envelope inside my work bag, so I always have them when I need to refer my favorite services.