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Why Neil Patrick Harris Takes a Prop from Every Show

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Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Turner

One of Neil Patrick Harris‘ showbiz traditions? Collecting on-set souvenirs!

“I try to take a prop from every show,” Harris, 43, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

As for his latest acquisition, “I took a painting of a snake from A Series of Unfortunate Events,” the actor says of his new series, based on Lemon Snicket’s popular young-adult books, now streaming on Netflix. “We have a room in our house — it’s a den — and it’s in a very similar theme, so it’s now on the wall in our brownstone.”

  • For more on Neil Patrick Harris and A Series of Unfortunate Events, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere now

While some of the props serve as décor, the How I Met Your Mother alum insists they serve a practical, as well as sentimental, purpose.

RELATED VIDEO: Neil Patrick Harris Reveals Why He Loves Playing the Villain in A Series of Unfortunate Events

 

“When I’m 90, someone can walk me around and say, ‘Remember this brand with your initials? You branded a stripper’s ass in Harold & Kumar,” Harris says with a laugh of the 2004 comedy. “And it might spark some sort of memory in my brain.”

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is currently streaming on Netflix.