The Obsessive Storage of a Compulsive Pen Pal

25 Feb

Once upon a time, Kristiina over at Letters, Postcards and a Cup of Tea posted about how she stores all of her pen pal-friendly things. If/when you check it out, in the comments you’ll see me saying “I don’t know when I’ll do it, but I’ll have to do a post like this sometime!” Now is that sometime, Bleaders!

For as long as I’ve been writing letters, I’ve been saving the ones I’ve received in return. Sure, I’ve downsized as I stopped hearing from certain people, but that doesn’t make me much less of a hoarder. The letters I’ve saved over the past 8+ years are all in the binders below. My current batch of pen pals’ letters and postcards can all be found in the black binders, everything I’ve received from Nicole can be found in the bluish one, and the green one features the letters of three pen pals I used to have who I no longer hear from but wish I still did (2 of the 3 are FB friends so at least there’s that).


I have a few different places I keep stationery in as you can see, and while each organizational technique is unlike the others, they’re all equally obsessive as they’re all color coordinated. In general, the bulk of my stationery can be found in the file drawer of my desk, each kind of paper in its own compartment. The paper in the pink file folder is reserved for Jody– I hear from her weekly and in every letter we give each other an extra sheet of stationery so I have the paper picked out for her months in advance. The box of stationery, for the most part, includes all the paper Jody’s given to me that I have yet to use. Originally the box’s contents were used for a pen pal from Indiana, but she stopped writing so now I use this paper for Erika from South Carolina.

Both of my parents and a handful of pen pals and friends have hooked me up with a lot of postcards to use for Postcrossing and whatever else my lil’ ol’ heart desires. I also have another box I keep note cards in in the event I want to make my own postcards, and I’ve been keeping the stuff I’ve received via Postcrossing over the past few months in there as well since a “150 Postcards and Counting” post is right around the corner. Where are the first 100? Hanging out in a ziploc bag until our basement’s finished and I can out ’em up down there.


I have mentioned my “OCD book” before and how it’s where I keep addresses, make notes of when I got letters and the stationery I use, etc. etc.. What I didn’t mention was that between the last page and the back cover is where you’ll find my address labels. I like being able to just grab my book when it’s time to address an envelope and having everything I need.


A while back my mom sent me a bunch of stuff I could use for pen palling from Taiwan, and one of those things was an envelope that’s made out of plastic with a snap closure. I can’t exactly put that in the mail so I started keeping my stamps in there and I love it. With the exception of my roll, everything fits in it so well so thanks, mom.


I like having easy access to tape, glue, and staples, and the more I collect things like washi tape and other odds and ends the more I wanted something to put this stuff in. Enter the happy meal bucket (decorated in washi tape) from Halloween that Logan no longer uses.


I think that’s just about everything. I didn’t bother taking pictures of envelopes since they’re just in the box they came in (and when I decide to make my own, the scrapbook paper I use is in a box with the rest of my craft supplies). The mug I keep pens in is also nothing special, but it works.

And I’m glad I got to finally work in this blog post– sorry it took so long 😛

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

21 Responses to “The Obsessive Storage of a Compulsive Pen Pal”

  1. nerdinthebrain 02/25/2014 at 10:39 am #

    I love seeing organized paper products. I know that sounds like a strange thing to say, but it’s true. I’m planning on doing an “office edition” of Three Things Thursday this week, but, alas, none of my paper storage is pretty enough to make my heart go pitter-pat…yet. 😉 Also, totally loving the Hello Kitty! Again, on Thursday, you’ll see that I’m a big fan of HK. 😀 All of your paper and stamps are gorgeous!

    • Sincerely Kate 02/25/2014 at 10:57 am #

      That does sound like a strange thing, but I appreciate the heck out of it, hehe. Once upon a time Walmart had these decorative boxes that were perfect for manilla folders. I’m sure they still exist, you may just have to dig around a bit. If you’re interested, of course.

  2. kristiinal 02/25/2014 at 10:45 am #

    YAY! 😀 Nice to come home after a tiring day and have an email about approving some linking to other blog 😀 Great to finally see this post! 😀
    I’m happy I’m not colour coordinating the letter papers.. YET 😀 I have enough imaginary problems with not being able to have the postcards by themes in my new box for those 😀
    And do I see a Pixar postcard box? :DD I bought the “part 2” of those postcard boxes last year and I’ve almost used it up :3 Would love to buy another box of 100 postcards when I have money for that 😀 And oh my gosh I LOVE those American Pixar stamps!! Wish they’d make some international ones!! The international ones USA has are a bit boring as there’s a new one now and then and it’s used in letters and Postcrossing cards until next one comes along 🙂 But if it would be a bit more interesting design (for example Pixar character(s)) I wouldn’t complain at all for the multiple stamps ;D

    • Sincerely Kate 02/25/2014 at 11:03 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post, though I’m not surprised you did, hehe. My Pixar cards are almost gone, too. I’m mostly left with the strange “concept art” ones from the short films they have done. I do agree that there should be more variety with the international postage; the globes have gotten pretty old. I’m still saving stamps for you so hopefully some Disney ones show up on my incoming mail! You’ll be happy to know that my pen pal Allison has contributed quite a few of the seed packet ones you were interested in 🙂

      • Sincerely Kate 02/25/2014 at 5:09 pm #

        Coming in April apparently!

      • kristiinal 02/26/2014 at 3:26 am #

        Looks like USPS has decided to stick with the round stamps when it comes to International mail 😀 The upcoming stamp looks nice but it could be better (gosh I sound so picky :D)
        Yay! 😀 More seed packet stamps! 😀 I seriously don’t understand why USA has so many beautiful stamps but all of those are for domestic mail 😀 I get one or two now and then when some nice postcrossers use envelopes and stick some domestic stamps worth the international postage.. But that’s quite rare and I understand it 😀 I also rather just buy one stamp and use it instead of buying domestic stamp and then 0,1€ or two 0,05€ stamps (or use MANY of those “small” stamps) just to send a postcard abroad.. With letters I might do that if I have domestic and those small stamps but that’s quite rare 🙂

      • Sincerely Kate 02/26/2014 at 7:33 am #

        I definitely agree that the new stamp could be better. To me it kind of looks like someone took the original globe and messed with it on photoshop. It’d be nice if there were a couple international options, even if they weren’t Pixar a regular stamp-shape in addition to the circular one would be a welcome addition. Unfortunately, you’re going to keep getting the circles from me ON your envelopes– most of my pen pals are from the US so it just makes sense to keep the domestic stamps for them. However, I’ll keep stuffing the letters with the ones I can get my hands on 🙂

  3. cupitonians 02/25/2014 at 11:35 pm #

    Oh wow. You’re just as OCD as I am!

    • Sincerely Kate 02/26/2014 at 7:27 am #

      I can’t help myself. The thought of not color-coordinating my letters makes me a sad panda.

  4. thirteen1999 03/10/2014 at 5:00 pm #

    NiceI I’ve been meaning to sift through my letters to pick out the ones I haven’t heard from anymore, but just haven’t had the time. However, I did start making scrapbooks (or more like organized smashbooks) of my current penpal’s letters. I haven’t been able to update the current one (a red cloth covered scrapbook) in a while, but look forward to doing so this coming spring break.

    • Sincerely Kate 03/10/2014 at 5:17 pm #

      This is the second time in the past week I have heard the term “smashbooks”– what are they? I’m definitely intrigued!

      • thirteen1999 03/10/2014 at 5:27 pm #

        Oh, they are like scrapbooks but not as organized, and a bit more chaotic. Here’s a couple pictures of my first one:

      • Sincerely Kate 03/10/2014 at 7:29 pm #

        I love how fat the book is, hehe. I like the binder method I have for my letters, but I’d love to find something worthy of making a smashbook for!

      • thirteen1999 03/10/2014 at 10:26 pm #

        You should definitely try using a Smashbook. You can get them at Michaels, Target and a few other stores if not online, and they come with all kinds of accessories and styles. I like them but the pages just a bit smaller than needed, but I’m still glad I completed at least one. I have the Pretty Style one.

      • Sincerely Kate 03/11/2014 at 7:49 am #

        Thanks! The next time I’m getting a Chipotle fix I’ll be sure to swing into Michaels or Target since they’re both pretty close 🙂

      • thirteen1999 03/11/2014 at 1:27 pm #

        That’s great! I like Chipotle too, but hate it when it’s rushed and the steak is undercooked. I usually get chicken now.

      • Sincerely Kate 03/11/2014 at 5:03 pm #

        I haven’t gotten their steak– I like the chicken and barbacoa too much. I had the former TODAY, by the way! Smash goodness to follow later this month 😉

  5. Kat 09/11/2015 at 10:11 am #

    Will you be my new best friend?? I love the way you think!

    • Sincerely Kate 09/14/2015 at 7:36 am #

      As long as you don’t mind that it took me three days to see your comment, I’m totally on board with this 😀


  1. Happy Birthday to my Obsessive/Compulsive Daughter! | Container Chronicles - 03/01/2014

    […] Of course, she included posts about other aspects of her life, including her husband, Gabe, Mr. Logan (my adorable 3-year-old grandson, and her other activities. But she has lots to share about pen pals and the way she manages her hobby, including a post about how compulsive she is about storing and organizing all her pen pal stuff. She wrote about it here. […]

  2. The Obsession Strikes Back | Sincerely Kate - 01/15/2015

    […] before, I still can’t help but feel like once again I jinxed myself. Last February I shared the way I stored the bulk of my pen pal-friendly stuff, and while I still keep my letters in binders and stationery […]

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