If you’re anything like me, you’ve collected quite a bit of memorabilia over the years, and all of it holds a special meaning that brings you back to a particular point in your life. I’ve been lucky enough to attend sporting events and live concerts at some of the coolest venues in the world, and I often hang onto at least one item from every event to keep as a memento.
Needless to say, those things can pile up over time, and if you don’t do something with your concert T-shirts, replica jerseys, commemorative posters, ticket stubs and other pieces of memorabilia, they can end up crammed into random boxes and dark corners of your closets. They become clutter.
So how do you give these items the respect they deserve in your home? Here are some ideas for taking control of your collection of fan gear—even if that means just storing it properly to preserve it.
- Pick what matters most.
If you’ve been to more games, concerts and shows than you can even remember, you’re probably not going to have room for everything to be on display. Rather than overloading your wall space with every concert T-shirt or game day program since 1995, try to pick out the items that mean the most to you—or the ones that you know will look good when they’re hung up.
Think about something like a signed game-worn jersey that can be a statement piece in your living room or recreation area. Those really look great when they’re professionally mounted. If you’ve collected autographed photos, think about grouping them together to create a collage that shows off your favorite stars.
A great display is not always about how much you put up, but rather how you curate your collection and choose to present it.
- Make it into art.
The key is you have to actually do something with these pieces. It’s not like when you were a teenager and you could just tape your favorite photos and most recent ticket stubs onto your wall. That doesn’t generally add to a home’s décor.
To make these items true pieces of art, use a proper frame to put them on display. You can even think about creating a shadow box that combines different items—say a ticket stub, T-shirt and guitar pick from your favorite band. If you got some great action photos during your last concert or sporting event, have the best ones printed and get them professionally mounted and framed to make an impression.
To get this stuff out of the attic and into the living area, you’ve got to make it an attractive part of your home.
- Put it out of sight, but not out of mind.
Maybe you’re not sure exactly what to do with your stuff right now, or you’re saving it for when you move or renovate. If that’s the case, it’s perfectly fine to keep these pieces in storage—just do it right.
I’ve found that plastic bins are one of the best tools for this. They come in almost any size to fit any type of collectible, from tickets to photos to hats and more. And they generally seal up tight to protect your stuff from the ravages of time, even if it ends up in a musty basement. Plus they’re easy to label, stack and move.
It may seem simple, but taking the time to organize and label your stuff makes it a much more appealing project when you want to access the memorabilia to do something special with it. And if you’ve stored it in a decent bin, you know it won’t be damaged when you take it out from under wraps.
- Keep it fresh with a rotating display.
Another idea is to start by buying or building a display case or a set of shelves that really works with the décor of the room. Then you can put whatever you choose on the shelves, and you can easily change it out as you please.
I’ve seen simple, attractive shelves that housed some incredible displays—from a full lineup of NASCAR replica stock cars to decades’ worth of concert tickets to baseball hats commemorating a visit to every park in the Majors. This is an option that gives you plenty of versatility, so it’s a good choice if you’ve got an especially large collection.
This not only gives you more opportunities to get your stuff out of mothballs, but it also keeps the décor of your room from getting stale. Put your favorite football gear out in the fall, and switch it over to your collection of autographed baseball cards in the summer. It can always be changing, and it’s easy to add in newer memorabilia as you rack up more outings to games, concerts or shows.
And whenever certain pieces are not in use, organize them and seal them up in those plastic bins! Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
When Adam Young isn’t working as the founder and CEO of Event Tickets Center, he’s attending sporting events and live performances at venues across the country. He writes on his experiences to inform and inspire readers to get out and create memories.