Clutter Hack: Repurpose Postcards and Travel Paraphernalia.

We love to travel. For me, much of the pleasure derived from trips and vacations comes from enjoying memories of the experience long after the luggage has been stowed away and the tan lines have faded. My favourite souvenirs are usually pictures (the kids? some touristy gitch they buy at a convenience store en route), but we inevitably come home with a carry-on full of miscellaneous stuff. Most of the time I aim to make it consumable (food, clothing, reusable bags), but I’ve found there is no way to avoid the stack of travel paperwork: ticket stubs, brochures, postcards. Most of it doesn’t even pass go, getting trashed before it even reaches home – in the airport, preferably. But sometimes those papers can hold deep sentimental value, helping to better preserve a memory.

Instead of keeping a static bin of random papers (I’m not one for scrapbooking or shadow boxes), I now repurpose special postcards and other paper paraphernalia as bookmarks. I do this with other sentimental messages, too; handwritten notes from the kids or letters I receive in the mail. I have a card from my wedding shower that was handwritten by the lady I boarded with during my undergrad. She passed away over a decade ago, but I love opening up a book and finding that note where, among other things, she talks about her own wedding – back in 1947.

While I keep a few regular “bookmarks” in rotation for my stack of bedside reading, I’ve taken to slipping special paper keepsakes into books that are sitting on the bookshelf. If and when I return to that particular book, it already has a bookmark at the ready. Plus, it adds a note of whimsy to my day when I pull my Chronicles of Narnia anthology off the shelf and discover a ticket stub from Broadway, or reach for Crime and Punishment only to find an old Mother’s Day card my daughter made in kindergarten, bedecked with tiny thumbprint flowers.

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