If you’re an avid traveler, chances are you’ve amassed quite a collection of souvenirs over the years. Maybe your mantle is home to a decorative bottle of sand from your favorite Caribbean beach or an art print from a bustling bazaar in Marrakech. Alternatively, you might display a cherished figurine from your study abroad semester in Europe or a magnet collection that grows with each far-off destination you visit.
These quirky mementos keep us connected to special memories we’ve made around the world. But here’s the thing: They can start to take up precious space in our homes. After a while, these items that were once super valuable to us can start to feel like knick-knacks that do nothing but collect dust.
How to Organize & Store Travel Souvenirs: A Step-by-Step Guide
In this guide, we’ll discuss some of our most helpful souvenir storage tips and tricks. These solutions will help you navigate the process of condensing your collection and nailing down the perfect storage option for your beloved keepsakes. (Who knows, maybe you’ll even make room for more along the way!)
Step One: Declutter What You Have
The first (and maybe most important) step in tackling the task of organizing and storing your travel souvenirs is decluttering your current collection. What mementos will you hold onto, and which ones are you willing to part with? Whittling down your stash is crucial to creating more space and a more manageable souvenir storage system.
How do you declutter travel souvenirs?
When it’s time to declutter your assortment of mementos and keepsakes, one highly effective method is the “four-pile declutter” approach. (We’ve already discussed this method extensively in articles like How to Downsize Your Home in 6 Simple Steps and How to Clean Out and Declutter a Storage Unit.)
This simple yet powerful decluttering technique helps you start by sorting souvenirs into four piles: Donate, Keep, Sell, and Toss.
With each item you encounter, take a trip down memory lane as you evaluate its current significance in your life. The “Keep” pile is reserved for items that you’re absolutely positive you want to hold onto or display inside your home. When you come across something you feel somewhat indifferent about, you may consider selling it online or donating it if it’s in good condition. (Do you have a friend who loves a certain destination? Maybe someone who was on the trip with you would like to hold onto it for a while?)
And finally, be honest with yourself about the souvenirs that have lost their charm or have become damaged beyond repair. Tossing them will make room for the ones that truly matter.
As you embark on this decluttering journey, remember to search beyond the obvious places where you store your travel souvenirs. Check everywhere you may have tucked certain mementos away, like the basement, garage, attic, or even in a self-storage unit. This will help you ensure that no beloved trinket is left behind or overlooked.
Step Two: Organize Your Collection
After you’ve decluttered your space and narrowed down what mementos you’ll definitely be keeping, it’s time to get organized.
While there’s no best, one-size-fits-all approach to souvenir organization, finding a method that works best for you based on personal preference and available storage space is key. Here are a few ideas to help get your creativity flowing:
Organizing Souvenirs by Location
Group together keepsakes from each destination you’ve visited. This can vary based on how widely you’ve traveled— you can dedicate sections or souvenir storage boxes to your favorite cities, regions, or countries as you see fit. This method allows you to easily access and revisit the memories of each place. (Just don’t forget to add labels!) Bonus: This method also creates a visually appealing display of all of your adventures.
Organizing Souvenirs by Year
Alternatively, you can opt to organize your souvenirs by year, arranging them in storage chronologically. Maybe you initially caught the travel bug on trips with family members and eventually blossomed into an avid solo traveler in adulthood. This souvenir organization approach captures the progression of your travel journey over time and allows you to look back with a sense of nostalgia.
Organizing Souvenirs by Trip Type
Another fun way to organize travel keepsakes is by the type of vacation you took or who your travel companions were. For example: Create separate sections or storage totes for family trips, outings with friends, or solo travel adventures. This method allows you to highlight the unique dynamics of a trip and brings a personalized touch to your souvenir organization.
Regardless of how you choose to organize your travel souvenirs, it’s important to focus on creating a system that makes sense to you. Don’t skip this step— by taking the time to organize your belongings thoroughly, you’ll make future storage an absolute breeze.
Step Three: Store (or Display!) Travel Souvenirs
Finally, the last step in the souvenir storage process is finding a permanent home for your keepsakes. For some, that might mean tucking them away inside durable boxes or an off-site storage unit. But you can also opt to display these items in a cozy spot where they’ll be admired on a daily basis. The choice depends entirely on what storage and living space you have at your disposal.
How And Where to Store Travel Memorabilia
Not sure where exactly to put your collection of travel souvenirs? Here are a few popular options to consider:
Storing Souvenirs in a Garage, Attic, or Basement
The advantages of stowing your travel items in-home are obvious. Convenience and ease of access are hard to argue with, especially if you’d like to revisit these mementos relatively frequently. However, it’s essential to consider the environmental conditions in these areas. Extreme temperatures, humidity, and potential exposure to dust, mold, and pests can pose risks to delicate items or moisture-sensitive items. If you plan on storing anything in a basement or a similar setup environment, learn how to package and protect these items first effectively.
Storing Souvenirs in a Storage Unit
Renting a storage unit is another great way to create a dedicated space for your travel souvenirs and keepsakes. If you opt for a climate-controlled storage unit, you’ll immediately solve the problem and protect your items from temperature fluctuations, humidity, and pests. Plus, living in a big city or a particularly small apartment may be more convenient.
On the other hand, it’s important to consider the cost of renting a storage unit and the distance you may need to travel to access your souvenirs when you want to retrieve them or add them to your collection. To learn more about Life Storage facilities in your area, contact a local storage manager today!
Souvenir Storage Boxes: What Should You Use?
Whether packing up your cherished mementos in preparation for a move or just for a long stint in storage, we highly recommend opting for sturdy and durable souvenir storage solutions.
Plastic totes are a fantastic choice in these scenarios, especially when you want to preserve and protect your items for years to come. For starters, they provide superior protection compared to flimsy cardboard boxes. Whether your basement floods or your attic undergoes major temperature swings, these containers will keep your items safe and sound. Plus, they come in a multitude of sizes and are resistant to moisture, pests, and other general wear and tear.
How to Display Sentimental Mementos in Your Home
Low on storage space? Love a certain art print too much to hide it away in the attic? Another great souvenir storage hack is to put your keepsakes on full display throughout your home.
There are plenty of creative and stylish ways to showcase your travel treasures, all of which add a personal touch to your decor. (And turn these pieces into potential conversation starters!) Here are a few examples to help inspire you:
- Use shelving displays. One of the easiest options is to keep souvenirs on shelves or inside open display units. Mix and match souvenirs from different destinations and intersperse them with books, plants, or other decorative items that suit your aesthetic taste.
- Frame unique pieces. Select your favorite photographs, postcards, or small items and arrange them in a collage-style frame. This tip is a double-whammy— you might already have a frame from one of your favorite destinations you can use!
- Incorporate your wall space. Consider mounting larger souvenirs or art pieces directly onto the wall. From tapestries and masks to vintage signs and tattered maps, these striking pieces can serve as statement focal points in your home decor.
Where Do You Store Travel Souvenirs?
Whether you’re a certified expert on all things travel or just enjoy the occasional getaway with friends and family, hopefully, this guide helped spark some souvenir storage inspiration you can use in your everyday life. If you have any other tips, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to continue the conversation by contacting us on social media.