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Saving on Souvenirs

A souvenir is something certain places sell to tourists and foreigners that you usually can’t find anywhere else. They serve as a reminder of all the fun activities tourist have and give clues to what kind of place they came from. You’re more likely to get a stone merlion fridge magnet from Singapore rather than Uganda.

But in a zeal to bring much of the island with them, tourists find a big cut of their expenses go to little knick-knacks, snacks, shirts, hats and a multitude of other things they probably didn’t expect to buy on the way there. Some people think having a lot of things to bring home isn’t such a bad idea until the whole pile begins to clutter up and steal more space, making them a hindrance rather than a memorable item. Sometimes, having less can mean getting more out if it.

Clothes are the usual case for people to stock up on when buying things for themselves or for family. Aside from the norm of shirts showcasing illustrations and colorful words from the place where it features, there are a multitude of embroidered hats, headbands, necklaces, bracelets and even footwear. While they are thoughtful, a wrong shirt size or an ugly design can make these souvenirs into next months garage sale items. Finding a design that suits the person and getting their shirt size before the journey can prove to be useful if you still want to go through buying one for them. Bringing necessary clothing items with you on a trip helps in avoiding the purchase of clothes on impulse as well.

Purchasing figurines and tiny pieces of furniture are another popular choice, but those can end up as early clutter since they more than usually end up being unused because of the presence of similarly functioning items in the household already. Thinking about the things you already have at home and the condition they are in can make you think twice of getting the things you spy at the local island marketplace. Thinking of how well they go with the style of your house also is a big factor as to whether you purchase it or not, from color to style to shape. Nothing makes a house any more tacky or ugly than a random “centerpiece” that doesn’t match or complement anything in the house’s interior.

Natural/locally made products and items, while nifty and different from the usual, can mess up and fill a room or closet quickly. Things like woven handbags or purses may seem like a best buy, but when overdone they can an already tiny space feel and look even tinier when owners hang them inside (and outside when they start to fill it up). Jewelry also follows this trend, making their owners buy extra jewelry hangers and containers that add to the inconvenience.

Here’s a checklist to find out whether the souvenir you’re eyeing is worth buying:

  • Do I already have this item? If yes, what is my current one that worn out/old?

  • How many of these items do I really need?

  • Do I have a proper place to put these items when I get home? Will I have to buy a container for it?

  • Would this look good in my home? does it accent a room’s style?

  • Would I wear this back at home? Does it match any of my outfits?

and more importantly,

  • If I buy this item, what will I replace at home?

With these simple questions, you can discern for yourself whether you actually need the item or not. Thinking about the purchase ahead of time will help you save space and cut out the unwanted stress you'd get from bringing home a bunch of things that would collect dust on the shelves or in the basement. Plan carefully and bring home only the most memorable of items that you can proudly display for your guests to ask, "This is an interesting piece. Where did you get it?"