Hi everyone, and hope you all had a great start to the New Year. I’ve been quite productive this week in cleaning, closing out 2017 spreadsheets and starting 2018 ones, and getting caught up on documentation and organization. I am getting a lot of new cards soon, so I went shopping on Aliexpress and Amazon for some new storage options. I decided to write a little post to share how I organize my army of credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, personal-use gift cards, and more.
I have a wallet that I keep my “everyday” cards in. It’s a zippered clutch (link goes to my exact wallet; but this is a private label item, there are a lot of similar ones you may be able to find for cheaper) that is large enough to fit my iPhone X or Pixel 2 XL (but not both simultaneously), has an inner zippered compartment for coins (I also store SIM cards and an ejector tool in it), pockets for cards, and long open compartments for cash. To be honest, I don’t really like the card slots, because they slow down my ability to grab cards easily by a few milliseconds (#firstworldproblem). For the cards I really use a lot, I just throw them in the larger compartment with the cash so they’re easy to grab. I’m thinking about changing my wallet to this one, since it’s about the same size as my current wallet but has a much more convenient way of dividing/accessing cards. The WestCreek store on Aliexpress has a lot of other interesting wallet designs.
This wallet goes in my purse of choice, which is almost always the Longchamp Medium Le Pliage Tote Bag (beware of fakes on Amazon; the straps will fall off within months). I love this purse because it is one large compartment, into which I can throw my down jacket, battery pack and cables, things I buy, or anything else I want to bring, which I organize into smaller zippered bags. The soft flat cloth amenity kits really come in handy here. I’m not a big fan of purses with a billion compartments because I feel like it’s harder to find what I’m looking for. At least with my amenity kits, I can be like, “Ok, I know my VGCs are in the Jack Spade bag.” This purse is also awesome for travel because it folds flat and small. Since you can only carry on 2 items on most flights, I prefer to use my quota on larger items such as a carry-on spinner and a backpack. The Longchamp then gets packed flat inside either the carry-on or the backpack.
Storage of Extra Cards
There are generally two more types of cards I have:
- Cards that might need to go out with me occasionally (such as most Amex cards, gift cards, extra Priority Pass cards, or a Citi Dividend to hit the bonus, but is sock-drawered the rest of the year)
- Cards that virtually will never step foot outside the house (like most loyalty cards)
Most of my “occasional outing” cards are organized into little card books (I just plucked the first link I found, shop around for the cheapest price or styles you like). I got these from Aliexpress, and I love them because they are easy to open, flip through the pages just like a book, and insert/remove cards. Mine have 28 pockets but I’ve put up to 2 cards per pocket without much issue. The current ones on Aliexpress seem to have 32+ pockets now. The pages are top-loading and are partially cut so that it’s very fast to grab the card, use it, and slip it back in. Another nice feature is the card divider tab. You can use the tabs to label sections of the card book, or use them as a marker for when you’re running through multiple Amexes at the cash register and want to mark where you left off. I got a set of these books, and designated each color:
- Red – all Amex cards. Dividers are used to separate cards into MR, SPG, Hilton, and Cashback.
- Orange – store loyalty cards like my buy 9 get 1 free boba stamp cards.
- Green – all debit cards.
- Blue – all Chase Ink cards.
- Purple – credit cards I might occasionally use outside. Dividers are used to separate cards into Points (i.e. UR/TYP), Hotel/Airline Points, and Cashback.
- Pink – personal use gift cards.
The rest of my cards, including the “permanently sock-drawered” cards, are stored in a Honolulu Cookie Company box.
Many of my friends use binders like Trapper Keepers (like what you used in elementary school) or Case-It zippered binders (like the ones you used to use in middle school) with pages of business card or trading card plastic sheets. The zippered binder has the benefit of containing cards in case the binder mechanism fails and the pages want to explode all over your car, plus you can throw in a Sharpie and a Scotty peeler (as an aside, if you don’t already own a Scotty peeler, you need one in your life STAT!).
I thought about doing the same with something more like this (600 slots) or this (180 slots), but I realized that I love my Honolulu Cookie Company box for the following reasons: it’s a great width for cards, it’s easy to rifle through all the cards, grab a bunch (such as when purging cancelled/expired cards), and quickly and easily re-order them. My cookie box even has 2 dividers, so the thirds are divided into credit cards, debit cards, and loyalty cards/etc.
However, my cookie box is starting to fall apart, so I decided to look for something that is more durable but still has all the same benefits. My cookie box used to close with velcro dots that have now fallen off, so I thought something zippered would be more durable. A clear plastic shoebox with some homemade dividers would also work, but I liked the zippered case idea in case I accidentally drop it.
It turns out that there is a niche for this in the board games world. I found a few I liked, and they all come with adjustable velcro dividers:
RLSOCO Carrying Case for Pokemon Trading Cards (holds up to 600 game cards, probably fewer than that for credit cards)
Caseling Hard Case Bag Box Holder for Card Games (holds up to 630 game cards)
Caseling Extra Large Hard Case (2 Row) for C. A. H. Card Game (holds 1650 game cards)
Hermitshell Extra Large Hard EVA Travel Case for Cards Against Humanity (holds 1950 game cards)
There were also some super long ones but I personally don’t like how awkward they look. I’m estimating 1 credit card probably is the equivalent of 2-3 boardgame cards (more like 3 when considering most cards have the raised text). I definitely have over 200 cards, so the 600-card cases are probably not enough for me. I decided to go for the Caseling 1650-card one, but wanted to share all of the various size options in case they help anyone else who has similar storage styles as me.
…and no, rubber bands aren’t good enough for me, I only use them to contain and designate piles of unprocessed cards. 😉