Experts say: Retain most meaningful travel souvenirs

Concrete may crack more in a bathroom.
Concrete may crack more in a bathroom. PHOTO: JASPER YU

Retain most meaningful travel souvenirs

I love to buy souvenirs when I am on holiday. But now I have too many. How do I organise them?

It is difficult to resist buying a little souvenir while on holiday, but it can all add up, even fridge magnets.

Ms Nathalie Ricaud, a professional organiser from Get Organised & Beyond, shares these tips on dealing with your collection.

"You first need to purge. To do that, sort the items based on categories that make sense to you - for example, by country or type of item.


"Then select from each category the items that are most meaningful to you. Let go of the rest.

"If you find yourself struggling with this, take pictures of each item and put them in a photo album, scrapbook or a photo montage to be displayed on a wall.

"This way, you will free some space while retaining evidence of your trips.

"On future trips, before buying a souvenir, ask yourself whether it would fit the decor of your home and where exactly you would put it.

"A 'souvenir' can also be a memory of your experience in the country. Remembering the atmosphere, people, colours, food and smell of a place can be as powerful as bringing home an item."

Concrete may crack more in a bathroom

I have seen bare concrete floors and walls in the wet areas of a bathroom. Won't water damage the concrete? Can I use concrete near windows, where the rain might come in?

Home owners might like concrete for their bathroom walls to achieve an industrial look, but the material is not recommended for flooring because it can get slippery when wet and when soap is used. Falls will be harder too.

As concrete has a porous surface, hairline cracks will occur over time, says Mr Dess Chew, principal designer of interior design firm Three-D Conceptwerke. If a concrete surface is placed near a window, the heat that is transmitted through the wall will cause the surface to crack even more.

"When used in bathrooms that are not ventilated well, mold or a reaction with detergent or shampoos might cause patch marks on the concrete," he says.

If you are still keen on having concrete surfaces in wet areas, then you have to accept that the look of the material will change over time.

  • • Home & Decor magazine's editor Rebeckka Wong and experts in the renovation and home decoration answer queries from readers in this series. These questions first appeared in the April issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.

Homemade pepper spray to keep out lizards

Lizards creep me out and they leave their droppings all over my home. How can I keep them away naturally without killing them?

To clean out lizards from your home, block their entry points, get rid of the items that attract them and use natural repellents.

To completely seal your home off will be tough, but you can reduce the number of entry points to a space, such as covering the gap between the base of the door and floor. Do not keep your windows and main door open for too long as well.

Lizards come out to look for food, so do not keep any lying around. Throw the contents of your trash can frequently if they contain food scraps or cap it tightly so lizards cannot squeeze their way through. In doing so, you will get rid of insects as well, which lizards also eat.

Mop your floor after cooking and eating. If you spill food on the floor, wipe it up immediately.

Remove newspapers, magazines and clutter so the pests have nowhere to hide. As they also love to hide behind picture frames and furniture, leave a 15cm gap between the furniture and the wall. This way, you can spot and get rid of them easily.

For natural repellents, make a pepper spray with black pepper, red chilli powder and water and spray it around the home and in corners. Or place lemongrass around the areas that they enter from.

•Got a decorating or home renovation issue? Write to Experts Say, Home & Decor, 82 Genting Lane, Media Centre, Level 7, Singapore 349567 or e-mail Photos and layouts are non-returnable.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2016, with the headline 'Experts say: Retain most meaningful travel souvenirs'. Subscribe