Ask Unclutterer: Concert tickets

Reader Ali submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:

For the last few years I’ve been saving tickets from concerts, plays, festivals and other performances that I’ve been to — I had no real objective in mind when I started, it just became a habit after a while. Now I’ve got a pile of the things and I’d like to figure out some way to display them, instead of just having them rubber-banded together in a drawer. I thought of getting a frame from IKEA and arranging them in there, but it seems so plain, and since they all look fairly the same I think it might just look boring to have them all lined up. Do you have any suggestions for a novel way to do something more interesting with them?

I like your idea of framing and displaying the tickets, but agree that numerous tickets, side-by-side in a plain frame might not be visually interesting. Do you have photographs from the events you could frame along with the tickets? Do you have CD liner notes that correspond to the songs played on the concert tours that might be interesting to include? Pictures with the casts of plays? Giving the tickets some additional context might improve their visual interest.

If you are okay paying a little more than what you would for a ready-made Ikea frame, you could head to a frame shop and have squares cut in a mat for each ticket you want to highlight. The mat would help feature each ticket. Also, you can buy more than one frame and organize the tickets by venue, decade, or genre.

My sister-in-law uses a ticket album for all of her ticket stubs. There are also ticket diaries and ticket stub organizers, if you are looking for more styles. A ticket album, diary, or organizer is a less prominent way to keep your tickets, but will protect your tickets and keep them in one location.

I’ll also offer up my method for storing tickets — I simply photograph the ticket with my digital camera, save the image to a file on my computer, and then throw out the physical ticket. I’m sentimental about a lot of things, but surprisingly tickets aren’t something I feel the desire to keep. If you’re not very attached to the tickets, consider the photographing and tossing method.

Thank you, Ali, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column. Please check the comments for more ideas from our readers. Also, our apologies for the weird posting date on this Ask Unclutterer feature. There was a small glitch on Friday and so I decided to run your question today. There will be another Ask Unclutterer column this coming Friday.

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33 Comments for “Ask Unclutterer: Concert tickets”

  1. posted by Tricia on

    I think you should frame them by colour.

  2. posted by Jody on

    Do you have a coffee table, desk or some other flat surface that you could put them all on and then cover with a piece of glass? It would be rather effective to place them under glass like that especially if you can add some photos of a few of the events too. Mind you, this would cost a bit more so you have to really like this idea and you need to know you won’t break or scratch the glass…ie, no feet on the coffee table.

  3. posted by Katherine on

    I found this idea for creating a shadow box display awhile back and am planning on using it for trip memorabilia, but if you have other items besides the tickets, it would work for you as well.
    http://kat-knits.blogspot.com/2011/04/iron-craft-challenge-16-travel-shadow.html

  4. posted by Aurora on

    I collect tickets too… and other crap… One solution I found is to make cute place mats by sticking flat memorabilia (ie: ticket stubs from concerts or transportation, baseball cards, small fliers… whatever) between two pieces of clear vinyl cut to the size of a place mat. Place cloth on top of the vinyl, iron, fix whatever your OCD demands with scissors, voila – place mat.

  5. posted by Re on

    I am another ticket saver. I admit that this is more an idea for the future than a solution for your current situation.
    For the last few years we have been using a calendar from “More Time Moms” because it has large boxes (we do not have kids and are not affiliated with the business). Anyway I staple tickets, receipts, and other things to it so it serves as a sort of scrapbook/record of our lives. This has evolved over the years. My husband thought this detailed record on the calendar with weird until he needed some dates and was able to easily find them on a calendar from a few years ago.

  6. posted by Honkytonkfoodie on

    I bought a birdcage and toss mine in there. It’s on a shelf so they don’t fall out and are uniquely displayed.

  7. posted by Aero on

    I’m just like you, I love going to concerts and keeping memorabilia. But I love seeing them.

    I bought two sticky cork boards (you can find them easily at any office supply store).

    I put them on my bedroom’s door, and whenever I go to a concert I love, I put the ticket on one of the board. Sometimes, I take on or two off, when I’m not that fond of the band anymore…

  8. posted by Allison on

    I keep mine in a tall glass footed jar with a lid. Something like this: http://www.potterybarn.com/products/pb-classic-glass-apothecary-jar/?pkey=call-bath-accessories

    Makes a lovely display, and I can take them out and rifle through them, which is better than framing for me because I write on the back of the ticket who I was with for the event.

  9. posted by EH on

    I use mine as bookmarks; I keep them in an old (small) aluminum bread pan (with highlighters and sticky notes) near my reading chair and use them that way. I’m reminded of the event whenever I open my book.

  10. posted by Rachel on

    Probably not the answer anyone is looking for, but…take a few pictures at the event and make a note somewhere (diary, journal) of the event, then toss the tickets. You can’t keep everything…

  11. Avatar of

    posted by rutheverhart on

    Have you seen those French bulletin boards that have criss-crossed ribbon over them? The idea is that you can tuck things behind the ribbon. Small items like ticket stubs work well. I like that you can pull them out and put them back. Plus, it’s cheap.

  12. posted by Jill on

    I believe craft stores carry tray kits (wood with a glass protective layer). That would give you a practical way to display and enjoy them.
    A friend of mine used tickets and other memorabilia to make a custom bar top. He covered everything with clear epoxy. It’s beautiful!

  13. posted by Anne on

    As an uncluttering purist I think you should scan the tickets with a ScanSnap and store the tickets in pdf or jpeg format on your computer. Then just chuck out the physical tickets. There’s really no need to have the tickets in physical form. And if you want a nice way to display the tickets, make a collage of your scans (Picasa can do this automatically) and get it printed by one of those photographic companies onto a canvas frame and put it on your wall. I would find a ticket album very bulky and I don’t think it really has any place in an uncluttered home.

  14. posted by Pammyfay on

    How about using them to frame a mirror?
    You can get a piece of wood cut in a square from places like Home Depot, then stain it or paint it the color you would like and affix an inexpensive mirror in the center. Then paste the ticket stubs around it (either everything horizontal or a mix of horizontal/vertical) and Mod-Podge the top to protect the surface (I’d try Mod-Podge on one less-valuable-to-you ticket stub to make sure the printing ink won’t run). And then affix hanging hardware.

    It’s something you’ll likely look at everyday and very functional!

  15. Avatar of

    posted by Ella on

    I save tickets to jazz concerts inside the CD jewelcase of that musician. Often I’ll buy their latest CD at the show and get it signed by the artist at that time. So altogether the tickets and the signed CD make a nice memory keeper.

  16. posted by jbeany on

    Like EH, mine become bookmarks, along with ticket stubs to the museum and the botanical gardens. I’m always amused looking at them, but when they inevitably get lost or destroyed, I don’t worry about it.

  17. posted by Hiccup42 on

    If you want to display them on a wall with a bit more visual interest than a frame, how about a wall collage? If you have a coloured wall, then the white tickets will stand out well against it. You could arrange them in musical note shapes, or start with the smallest ones in a corner and spread them out by size, keeping colours in streaks as you go. It depends how artistic you are I suppose but there is tons of inspiration online. Think carefully about how you can attach them however. One option if you can stick pins or tac, is to hang a piece of string across the wall and get some small craft pegs and clip each ticket on. Some tickets could be clipped to each other in a vertical line to add depth, and to group them by artist, venue, color, year or whatever.

  18. posted by Hiccup42 on

    *if you CAN’T stick pins or tac

  19. posted by Lea on

    I’m a big fan of the shadowbox idea, if you can get creative with it. A friend of mine who is an archaeologist and travels all the time has several well put together and shadow boxes in his living room, filled with ticket stubs, little trinkets, etc., from the big trips that he goes on, and it looks really cool without overpowering his living room.

  20. posted by Daniel M. Wood on

    I would like to give Ali a suggestion.
    Take a course or look at a blog about scrap-booking.
    The techniques they use to make a great photo album can be used for putting the tickets up on the walls.

  21. posted by alexandra on

    For every Broadway play my sister sees, she buys a cheap IKEA shadow box frame. She decorates the matte with ticket stubs and cut-outs from the playbill and in the center puts a picture of her with cast members or the poster. It looks really cool and is a fun post-show project!

    I see a lot of plays and films at university, so during term I collect flyers, posters, and ticket stubs and post them on my bedroom noticeboard, which i photograph and reset each term: http://alittleminimalist.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/on-keeping-ticket-stubs-posters-and-flyers/

  22. posted by CLC on

    My husband and I bought a gallon glass jar at an antique store to hold all of our tickets. The jar keeps them contained, but provides a colorful display!

  23. posted by Bibliovore on

    While depending on volume I think framing tickets could get overwhelming, if you’re going to want more than one custom-cut mat for this or other purposes, it’s far more cost-effective to cut your own.

    All you need is a mat cutter (freehand works, but for precision get one that maintains the cutting angle for you), a surface you don’t mind cutting on (can be just a couple of scrap layers of mat board so you can’t cut through to the underlying table), a ruler, and a straight edge (or whatever curved shape you wish). Choose your frame and layout, measure carefully, lightly pencil your cut lines on the mat board, cut, and voila — custom matwork any time you want it, as simple or fancy as you wish.

  24. posted by Perri Kersh on

    I saw this the other day via DesignSponge: http://www.designspongeonline.com/2011/05/before-after-muni-pass-wall-art-door-desk.html

    Lovely way of displaying tickets as art!

  25. Avatar of

    posted by s on

    These are great ideas! That is, if you really want to keep the tickets. I used to save tickets; putting them in a pretty glass jar. And then I realized that I NEVER go looking through them, they’re not really that pretty, I don’t need a ticket to have a memory. Unless you really need and will use the decorative/functional art, maybe it’s really best to just throw away (or recycle) the scraps of paper.

  26. posted by K on

    I mean this kindly, I really do. I wish my biggest organizing quandry was what to do with a bunch of tickets. You must really have your act together!! :-)

  27. posted by Lacey on

    I bought one of those photo albums with the peel back pages. I keep movie stubs that mean a lot to me and tickets. It doesn’t take up a lot of space (it’s a little binder), and I can add/take out pages as I need. It also stores any size paper.

  28. posted by Emily on

    We also keep ours in a large glass jar with a wooden lid. It sits on the floor tucked up underneath my piano. It’s fun to look through them and remember years of concerts, plays and shows we’ve attended with friends and family, some now long deceased.
    Honestly, if I was going to scan them and put them on a hard drive to store in a computer I would just toss them, because sitting at a computer and looking at them isn’t something I’d do, and if they somehow were destroyed I wouldn’t be devastated, either.
    They are just a nice little accent piece by the music area – piano, flute, guitars, harmonicas, and yes, we do actually play these instruments. They aren’t clutter. :-)

  29. posted by ecuadoriana on

    Shoot! I wish now I had taken a foto..! Ironic! Years ago, because of all my work as a professional rock photographer, I had acquired hundreds of concert passes and the coveted back stage passes. Kept them piled in a box. Some of my favorite bands & shows (especially if the tix were autographed by the artists) I displayed these passes under glass on my coffee table.

    I saw in a magazine article how someone had laminated a collection of old post cards & used the hanging as a room divider. They laminated the cards, trimmed the plastic down leaving just enough border around the edges to punch holes, then attached the laminated cards with ribbon. It looked really cool. So, I went to the local copy shop (that offered laminating services) and had a few sheets of laminated concert passes made. I knew ahead of time that I didn’t want to bother with the tedium of cutting them out individually & stringing them together, so instead I placed everything down on the laminating machine in a well thought out haphazard design. I also included guitar picks, copies of my published fotos of the bands (& fotos of me with the musicians), & magazine articles about the bands. I then cut them down to manageable 12″ x 12″ squares, punched 3 holes on all 4 sides & attached the squares with safety pins (at the time thought it was punky!). Some of the tickets that were boring or blank on the back I had glued a foto of the band so that it looked cool on both sides. I attached metal shower curtain hooks to the top to hang the curtain, & I hot glued black ribbon all around the whole thing to finish it off.

    I hung this “curtain” in my living room to section off the stereo/record album area. Everyone commented on how cool it looked. And I was even asked to make similar ones for friends using their own overwhelming odd ball collections. The funniest one was a friend who had a staggering collection of Monkees bubble gum cards (if anyone else besides me is old enough to remember them!)

    When I moved from that apartment I gave it to a musician friend who helped with the loan of his van. Would love to have it again, but I know it was well cherished by the recipient.

  30. posted by Luc-Rock Paquin on

    I keep my concert tickets as well. Our solution is to keep them with the latest CD from the artist. For jewel cases, I open it up and put it so that it shows through the back. For the carton cases, we just tape it inside.

  31. posted by Lisa in Florida on

    My husband is a sports nut and so has ticket stubs back to the 1970′s. For our 10th anniversary I gave him a ticket box from Pottery Barn. It’s basically a shadow box without a top. He chunks his ticket stubs in it. I think he was rather underwhelmed by the gift initially. However, he hung it in his man cave (bar, pool table, double flat screens and opens out to the pool area) and it is the most commented item in the room. He now carefully arranges the tickets, iconic close games, bowl games and Super Bowl games to the front. So I think in the end it was a good solution and a good gift.

  32. posted by miscdebris on

    Laminate them and use them as bookmarks.

  33. posted by Kristin on

    I’m an avid concert goer. I buy 11 x 17 black poster frames in bulk (ends up being about $3 a frame) and I get a small poster from each show. If the concert is in a small venue, they typically have what some call ‘one sheets’ up one the walls of the venue. I just take one home with me. Larger shows have them on sale at the merch table or you can do what I do and just find a good graphic online after the fact and have it printed for about a $1 at a local printer. I then put the poster in the frame, along with the ticket. I have probably 50 of them in our family room on one wall and we’re starting another.

    One more thing: ticket stubs can be worth something. I just sold a Grateful Dead 1988 stub for $90. Just sayin’. :)

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