I was recently inspired to share how the Jupiter House manages our foreign currency. We haven’t had the opportunity to live overseas yet (not long enough to change addresses with the bank anyway), but we still travel when we can and need to sort currencies once in a while.
Like other military-aimed posts, this one also applies to civilian travelers. This is just another dimension of organization, and how a little bit of forethought can make future travel just a little bit easier.
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Like I said, I was influenced to write about this after the last PCS season when several friends were moving to different countries. A few came back to the USA, others left the USA, and other-others moved from one OCONUS to another OCONUS.
These friends are all sorting their currencies, and it’s amazing how far coins can scatter. Mostly I just want to corral all of the like currencies together so that I can keep it out of the daily items, but just as easily find them when it’s time to use them. So how do I sort it all? How to we keep the yen out of the pesos, the pounds out of the euros, and more?
It’s easy! Your incoming coins and other travel bits just need a home. This is something that you already do if you organize your home at all. Dry pasta usually has a home in the pantry. Toothpaste usually has a home near your bathroom sink. And so your leftover coins from travels should have a home too.
Like most of my ideas, this one is the product of having a problem [international coin clutter], and not being happy with whatever solution I had first [letting it get mixed up in domestic coins]. A little creative brainstorming gave me the idea of buying country-specific pouches, and the rest is history! Specifically I was trying to find a safe place to keep our Japanese stuff. Normally our yen and Suica cards would have gotten lost in a closet, but instead we moved three times in three years, so I couldn’t even keep the same closet for twelve months. I needed a mobile solution.
Once I finally had our Japanese bits together I realized that my best solution would be an obvious zippered pouch.
Now when I find l need to keep small, specific objects contained, I
- Order zippered pouches
- like Fujisan for Japanese yen (photographed)
- whatever you like that represents the contents for you
- Keep my leftover change & ephemera organized and contained
- Organize any other small items…like USB cords, chopsticks, extra lip balms
I love and recommend Society6.com (S6). If you’ve been in my home, you’ve seen S6 tapestries, posters, prints, and pouches. More products are available, but I have those handy. Today I want to highlight the pouches. Society6 carry-all pouches come in three sizes. The medium pouch is 9.5″ x 6″ which is perfect for a wide range of small items. My example today is a pouch with Mt. Fuji – a simple motif that I immediately associate with Japan.
For the record, I don’t keep true ephemera like receipts or movie ticket stubs, but I do keep coins and Suica cards because I definitely plan on being back in Japan. So when I find anything Japanese that can be used again in Japan – it goes in the Fujisan pouch.
If we had other currencies laying around I would search Society6 for designs representing those countries.
It’s a simple idea that is easy to work with, and the possibilities are endless!
Let’s think back on the original intent – managing foreign currency. Euros are broad and can be used in several countries, but if you only used them in Vatican City, find a great pouch with an illustration of the Pope-mobile. Have leftover shekels from your stay in Tel Aviv? There’s a pouch for that too – if not outwardly country-specific, you can always find something on Society6 that reminds you of a place or that specific trip. After buying and sorting your currencies as needed, you will always know where those coins are – and if you find some in the wild, you know exactly know where to keep them.
My very favorite thing about sourcing items from Society6.com is that ANYBODY can become an artist and upload their own content. Not to mention the product quality has been perfect for me! Prints are perfectly aligned, curtains and tapestries are stitched well and don’t bleed. The pouches are sturdy; flawless outer fabric, liner, zipper, and pull.
So let’s say that you took the perfect photo of…apple tea in a Turkish rug shop. If you’re okay with other people accessing it, you can upload that perfect photo (or artwork) and buy your own pouch to manage your wayward Lira. If you choose to upload content on Society6, anybody will be able to buy things with that image (you choose the products), and you will receive a small percentage of any sale.
And that’s how we manage our foreign currency! If we ever get in the habit of visiting other countries regularly then I’ll happily buy more country-specific pouches. Until then I will brainstorm other items that I can organize into pouches too. It really does help my brain to keep small things easily labeled and contained in one pretty bag (or box with an identifying stickers, etc.).