What to Do with Your Old Souvenirs

By Charlie Fletcher | June 5th, 2023

Enjoying these elements of past memories

Tips on what to do with your old souvenirs and other meaningful items from your past, plus the benefits of caring for them appropriately. Credit: Unsplash

Do you have meaningful items from your past that you want to keep in tip-top shape, easy to access, to stir the memories? Writer Charlie Fletcher offers tips what to do with your old souvenirs along with benefits of taking care of them appropriately.

It’s normal to want to save and preserve things from your younger years. Nowadays, items from the mid-20th century are often considered “vintage” and classic. Some things are even coming back into style!

But if your old souvenirs mean something to you on a personal level, you’ll want to do whatever you can to ensure that your keepsakes are safe, well-preserved, and appreciated. Thankfully, that’s easier to do than you might think.

Let’s cover a few tips that will help you care your old souvenirs come while looking back fondly on the past.

The benefits of preservation

As you get older, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” you’ve collected over the years. If you’re downsizing or you just want to make more space in your life, decluttering is a great way to get started. It’s not always easy to let go of past memorabilia, so you’ll have to decide what you have room for in your home and your heart.

Once you decide what to keep, don’t hesitate to take a trip down memory lane while you’re packing things up for storage or getting them ready to display. Looking back on past memories is a great way to promote your mental well-being and reduce stress.

You might even decide to get involved in a few of your old collections or hobbies again once you start digging through things. Thankfully, there are even mental health benefits when it comes to collecting as a hobby, including:

  • Improved social skills (yes, even as an adult!)
  • A way to combat loneliness and isolation
  • A means of reducing stress

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How to preserve properly

Whether you want to display your old baseball memorabilia from your school years or make sure your travel souvenirs always stay safe, a little time can help you display the items that are most important to you.

When you go that route, you’ll want to preserve those special items the right way: invest the time and care into cleaning them, take them to a professional for preservation, or find the right storage solutions.

If you have a special place in your heart for some things but don’t have the room to display them, consider passing them on to your kids or grandkids, donating them to a local museum, or talking to other collectors who might have an interest. By passing them on to someone else, you might actually end up giving your prized treasures a second life.

When preserving your old souvenirs — whether it’s you or your loved ones putting them on display — there are a couple of pointers you should keep in mind:

  • Store your items in a cool, dry, place: The first thing to do with anything you’re trying to store in perpetuity is to make sure its housing and storage space are both cool and dry. Heat and humidity can damage souvenirs, causing issues such as mold, warping, and rust. Good air circulation can help in this regard as well.
  • Avoid displaying items in direct sunlight: UV damage can be just as bad as heat and humidity, and over time, can cause colors to fade or change. Other materials may warp as a result of direct sunlight. If you want to display old souvenirs in naturally well-lit rooms, make sure to place them behind UV-protective glass.
  • Clean, dust, and inspect regularly: Like most things on display, you’ll want to carefully clean and dust your souvenir — however, you’ll also want to be sure you’re cleaning and dusting with the utmost care. Take your time, and regularly inspect your items for any signs of damage or deterioration. Also, keep your eyes peeled for bite marks or pellets from pests, and get rid of varmints if need be.
  • Hold to specific requirements: Every souvenir is going to be different and will likely require its own preservation routine. Be aware of the materials your souvenirs are made of and look up how to care for them exactly, in case there are specific instructions you need to follow to keep your item from tarnishing or deteriorating over time.

Looking through your past is a great way to find comfort and boost your well-being, but don’t feel like you need to hang onto everything. Decide what’s important to you now and what you want to pass on, and those items will end up meaning even more as you declutter and downsize.

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees” – Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth. You can find more of her writing on her Contently.

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