Ephemera is defined by Merriam-Webster as "paper items (as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles". In other words, ephemera is trash that for one reason or another was kept for another use. I am a HUGE fan of ephemera.
Growing up, it was considered by my parents to be a hoarding issue. I kept EVERYTHING: ribbons from swim meets, tickets from basketball games and movies, calendar pages, and fortunes from fortune cookies. But I knew I wasn't keeping junk...I was keeping memories. Over the years of junior high and high school I amassed enough to fill a Tupperware tote with photos and newsletters among the other items. It is now just a nice little plastic container of my teenage years. I love rifling through it from time to time. It's like a nice little trip down memory lane.
I have since continued my love of ephemera. My fiancee knows not to throw out receipts from a nice restaurant we go to on vacation or tickets to a hockey game that we went to together. I use these items in my scrapbooking quite frequently.
When Collin & I first started dating, he taught CPR. In fact, that is how we met. I kept his business card taped to my office desk for nearly three years...even though I very much knew how to reach him. I kept it there even after he no longer worked for the company on the card. But my hoarding came in handy. When I sat down to do a scrapbook page on how we met, I used his card as an embellishment on the page. Tada! Ephemera at work.
Ephemera is SO much more than just junk. It can bring your memories to life and help to really strengthen a page. Break out playbills, report cards, receipts, and other items to really document the experiences you have. I have used collars my dogs wore as puppies, sports tickets on more than one occasion (including my first date with Collin), a paper napkin ring from a favorite restaurant, a pamphlet from a resort we stay at for an annual trip, a coaster from a bar in Long Beach, concert tickets and a metal name tag from my workstation in school among other things. Really anything can be used as long as it will fit in a page protector. If you're willing to use a shadowbox instead of a scrapbook, you can use things that are even thicker. There are no limits.
So next time you're out and about generating memories...look around you. Pocket the little things that will remind you of your experience and then remember to remove them before doing the wash. You never know when those little goodies might come into use.
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