by Susan McCarthy
Everyday practice: Do you need to keep that memento or can you take a picture of it and let go of the item?
While decluttering your closet or desk or another spot in your home, have you found souvenirs from past vacations? What did you decide to do with them? Did you gather them in a memory box, toss them, or move them to another location so you could decide about them some other day?
There’s no right or wrong answer, provided your decision was a mindful one.
What I mean is – keeping souvenirs just because these tchotchkes are proof that you visited someplace says nothing about whether your memories of a vacation are pleasant ones and tossing those souvenirs just because you are decluttering also ignores your memories.
And, keeping them so you can decide another day? Let’s be honest, that was really a decision to keep them; you just didn’t want to admit it.
Declutter Vacation Souvenirs
You hold your memories of your vacations in your mind not in things. You can take a picture of a souvenir and tuck it into a digital file with photos of that trip. (I’ll talk about digital photos in June and October as part of A Year of Decluttering.)
Use your decluttering efforts at home as a reminder to avoid buying souvenirs during upcoming vacations. (If you are in the habit of buying souvenir tee shirts, do you really wear them multiple times?)
And, do you have souvenirs of other people’s vacations? Appreciate that the individual thought of you and then toss the item if you don’t care for it; it isn’t really your keepsake.
Display Keepsakes from Trips
Are your vacation souvenirs focused on a single type of object, say, shot glasses or magnets? Do you currently display them in a prominent location? If others are visiting you, does the collection catch their eye and prompt a conversation?
If you are reluctant to toss those vacation-site tee shirts (even though you don’t wear them), would you be willing to invest in hiring someone to turn into a quilt?
There’s nothing wrong with keeping the souvenirs from your vacations, if you enjoy them and aren’t just holding onto them because you think you need something to show from your trip. Having one souvenir from a trip is more meaningful than have a shot glass, decal, tee shirt, figurine, and magnet from each trip.
Decide What You'll Do with Mementos from Travel
If you say that you are happy leaving your keepsakes in a box in the basement or garage (or scattered in random storage spaces), question what you get from these souvenirs by keeping them this way. Maybe it’s just me, but I always feel that if something can stay in a box and never get pulled out then it isn’t really a part of your life. It’s okay to keep the memories and let go of the knickknacks.
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Susan, chief (and only) organized squirrel at A Less Cluttered Life, pursues learning, practicing, and sharing information about the everyday habits that can lead to living a better life.