Four Keys to Managing Your Memorabilia

01/05/2010 at 4:00 am | Posted in Memorabilia, organization | 7 Comments
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I’m a memorabilia addict. I could feed a small city with the apples and oranges that once filled the produce boxes I’ve now packed with ticket stubs, brochures, postcards, letters, and papers. But I now feel overwhelmed by the mass of memorabilia, and I’m beginning to wonder if I need to save every ticket I purchase.

This year, I’ve resolved to be more conscious of the papers I save so my pile doesn’t loom as high as last year’s pile. If you have boxes of memorabilia like I do, ask yourself these four questions to help you narrow your selection and save only the items most worth preserving.

1. Does the memorabilia tell a story worth remembering? If you stopped by Red Robin for dinner simply because it was on your way home, you don’t need to save the paper napkin ring. If you chose that restaurant because it was an opportunity to revisit the place of your magical first date with your spouse, the napkin ring may be worth adding to your collection. If you saved a receipt to show the price of bread or gasoline in 2010, that’s fabulous; but you don’t need to save every receipt this year—that particular story was told with the first receipt.

2. Will the memorabilia last? I’ve saved receipts and ticket stubs only to come back months later to find the ink has disappeared. Make sure the memorabilia looks like it will last; if it doesn’t, scan or photograph it and then discard the original.

3. Does the memorabilia tell a detailed story? Look for memorabilia that shares many facets of a story. When deciding between two clothing tags, for example, pick the one that tells the most complete story. Rather than keeping a tag that shows only a brand name, save the tag that shows the brand name, the price, and the size—each piece of information reveals a component of your life in 2010.

4. Do I need the bulk of the memorabilia? If your item is bulky, how much of it do you really need? I love to save playbills, but I remove most of the interior pages, because they don’t add to my story. Likewise, on the layout below Elizabeth Kartchner saved only a portion of a menu from a restaurant. I love how she highlights the restaurant’s name and hours (see the punched butterflies) and the menu items she and her husband ordered. It tells her story in only a couple inches of space.

"Licked Clean" by Elizabeth Kartchner, as seen in "52 More Scrapbooking Challenges"

If you have other tips on how you select which memorabilia to keep, I’d love to hear. Just leave a comment on this post to share your ideas.

—Brittany Beattie, online senior editor



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  1. thanks for the tips 😀 i’m a huge memorabilia hoarder 🙂 i’m just starting to scrapbook my honeymoon and I saved everything from our hotel maps to receipts to room keys! one idea I saw somewhere that I plan on using is the idea of pockets- about 4-5″ wide and a layered row going from top to bottom, so in the back you have a deep pocket to store theme park maps, then a smaller pocket in front of that to store receipts, and then a smaller pocket in front to store room keys or small items, so with the layers you’re able to see all your items at once but it only takes up a few inches width-wise!

  2. Thanks for sharing these fabulous ideas!!!!

    Collecting the Memorabilia has always been a favorite past time of mine.. 2 ways I have organized it UNTIL scrapping is 1. in our old house, I had page protectors in a binder standing on my shelf 2. this house I share my scraproom w/the litter box & also having a dog there is a baby gate @ the door way & well, I am lazy so I put a cute, small, rope-handled shopping bag JUST inside the room that I can reach from the outside of the gate & I just toss/drop anything I might need to scrap later 🙂 NOW to get to scrapping w/it all!!!

  3. […] magazine, has posted an article entitled “Four Keys to Managing Your Memorabilia”. Click here to go to article. You may also […]

  4. thanks for the tips!

  5. Thanks for the tips!

    I would SOOOOOOOOO love to see a CK article on products designed to help you incorporate memorabilia into scrap projects, while being conscious of acid content. I’m thinking about the archival sprays and things like that.

  6. Hi, JJ!
    We actually have a memorabilia-related article coming out in our February 2010 issue, which should hit newsstands soon. It’s called “Bypass the Box,” and it gives great options for including memorabilia on layouts and also as stand-alone pages in albums. It doesn’t discuss archival sprays, but it provides fabulous design options for showcasing the memorabilia. We hope you enjoy it!

  7. I’ve photo-copied fabric for the look without the actual item that then goes in a box.

    Love the pocket idea above.

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