Many times when coming back from vacation, we bring items that we use only once. The Mickey Mouse cap from Disneyland or the Cape Cod t-shirt, are so tempting to buy when we’re visiting a place, but not so likely to be used when the trip is over. Just being more selective about what you buy will cut down on clutter, and help you avoid having to make painful decisions about what to do with that drawer full of “interesting” t-shirts.
- Be choosy about the souvenirs you buy. Try to consider which items you’ll really use or treasure after you get home. When, I vacationed in Sedona, Arizona, I purchased a box of finely crafted notecards from a local artist. They cost twenty dollars, which is more than I usually spend. However, I used all the cards, and my friends enjoyed receiving them. This was a meaningful purchase for me and a way of sharing the beauty of Sedona with my friends.
- Make a conscious effort to bring back more memories and fewer objects. Taking a trip with friends or loved ones, we can find ways to share novel vacation experiences. Recently, we had a family reunion in Sedona. We all decided to take a two hour local jeep tour. In the course of driving on the rugged roads, we experienced the beauty of the looming red rock formations and painted desert sky. Those happy memories bonded us together. Of course, we had to compare who had the best tour guide! Does your family still tell stories about that trip you took? If so, that would emphasize that the memories as lasting and important as a physical object.
- Clean up digital clutter. Soon after your trip, look through all the digital photos that may be stored on one or more devices. Delete all those duplicates and out-of-focus photos. Now it will be easier to use the remaining photos for some beautiful and organized reminders of your trip. Some options might be: making a slide show of your trip to share with friends, using one of the many services such as Flickr to create an online photo album or purchase a book based on your adventures. You’ll save space and have a more manageable set of photos.
Consider savoring the memories and your chosen souvenirs. You may buy less and treasure what you have. Your load is lighter and you don’t have to worry where to store it.