Sunday, June 26, 2011

How a recovering collector is going to buy souvenirs from NOW ON!!! After my Goodwill run.

The kids and I are visiting with my dad for the week, while Steve is fishing with his dad, brother, and uncle in Canada for 10 days.  I'm using this extra time to go through the items we'd put in my dad's guest room closet. Mostly childhood treasures and things from my single-girl travels.

Oh my.

What I'm learning from this: 

(1) I'm really excited to have a fresh batch of stuff to de-clutter.  We'd been running low on extra things in our regular living space. ;)  Steve once joked that he'd go to a thrift store and buy things to hide in closets, just so I'd have something to de-clutter.

(2)  I'm never collecting anything EVER again.  I have my button collection from childhood. Every Babysitter Club book I ever bought.    My toothpick holder collection.  Toothpick holders?!  I see the price tags on the bottom of Yellowstone, California, Branson toothpick holders that show I paid several dollars for each of these, back in my childhood.  You only need one toothpick at a time, people. I appreciate my parents giving me the freedom to collect those, and it IS fun to look at them.  But there are better ways to do this. See below.

(3) I am done with buying a Thing that *just* represents a trip.  I now have these items...tea cups from Turkey, Murano glass plates from Italy, mug from Paris, snow globe from San Francisco, etc etc etc...that I "need" to keep because they represent the trip I loved.  Okay, apparently I don't really NEED them, as shown in the trunk full of new boxes for the thrift store.  But I wish I'd done things differently in the first place.

Here are the things I wish I'd done all along:

- Jack started collecting flattened souvenir pennies when we were in Las Vegas.  The ones where you put in 51 cents and they flatten your penny with an engraving of the place you're visiting.  They have them all over the place, which makes it a great collection for a travel-kid.  Also, they are cheap.  And they all store in a small wooden box.  When he's older, he'll have a pile of those pennies that take up almost no space - instead of a big box of toothpick holders to give away. :)

- I still treasure my "from a special place" functional items that I bought on trips.  The olive-wood mortar and pestle from Spain is used almost daily to crush tablets, herbs, whatever.  It doesn't say "Spain" on it, but it's a beautiful, functional part of my life.  That's what I'm going to do going forward.

- Or, my jewelry from special places.  Necklaces and bracelets take up little space, and I wear them anyway.  Beyond the jewelry pieces from my mom, the "souvenir" ones are my favorite ones to wear.

- Magnets.  We still have/love every magnet I bought around the world, because we need magnets anyway.  Cheap and take up little space, too. 

- Of course, photos.  I will never stop loving my photos of trips.  I was just looking at our album of the album commemorating the "why the heck did we go backpacking in Europe (with a toddler) when I was pregnant?" trip...and looking at the pictures, it all seemed worth it. :)   

Jack made an adorable backpacker...especially when he was literally IN the backpack:

If you have other ideas on ways to commemorate moments or memories in small spaces, please share them with me!