Do You Have a Collection or Does a Collection Have You?

We all collect something. There is something that we value or are drawn to own. We have all heard of the stereotype of the woman with tons of shoes. I’ve known people who have collections of binoculars, watches, portfolio bags, muffin tins, CD’s, figurines, and the list goes on. It matters little what the collection consists of, we often have something we collect.

Recently we decided to go back to the House on the Rock. At one point I turned to my husband and said, “Now, this is where I would step in and say, ‘Do you really need more than 300 Santa coffee cups? How about we try to cut this down to a more manageable size?’” Although some were unusual or antique looking, most looked like the typical mugs you would find at Walgreen’s each Christmas.

And it wasn’t just Santa cups, but cigarette lighters, whiskey barrels, rifles, scrimshaw, and far more. Picture of: Scrimshaw, Model Ships, Ship in a Bottle, Wooden Sailor

Alex Jordan collected things, to the point that he kept adding buildings to contain all the things he was collecting. This is not something that many of us can realistically do. If we run out of room to have access to or display the things we collect, we need to start to make hard decisions.

How often do we collect something and then stop to consider whether this still reflects who we are and what we want? We continue changing and evolving throughout our life and need to make time to re-evaluate what we have around us.

If you have been keeping up with my newsletter/blog you know that I recently went through my collection of class notes, some dating back to my middle school days. Taking the time and knowing it was time to part with these things, I was able to recycle more than 90% of the papers I’d saved.

On the other hand, I loathe parting with books. I was so pleased that, in planning our redecorating of a room, we had come up with a way to combine the functionality of holding more books, without limiting the use of the room. Although the total count of books is not yet complete, it looks like there will be more than 2,000 books in our home! (See why I think the term hoarding can too easily applied?) So far in the rearranging, I have only found 4 books that I willing to part with. Books hold importance for me.

Whatever we collect, the determining factor is whether there is room for the items. Are there things that we can part with, if need be, to make room for what we are determined to keep? Unless you have the resources of Alex Jordan and can keep expanding your house as your collections expand, you have a limited amount of space to work with and it is important to live well within those dimensions.

I want to be able to appreciate the items I value enough to keep. I do not want to be overwhelmed by the things surrounding me or even to become blind to them by their familiarity. It is a continual process. I periodically will look around the house with a critical eye, watching for things that have lost some of their value to me. It is important to not forget the things that are behind doors, in drawers, anything that is not immediately visible are worth going through.

Is there something you are reluctant to examine with the possibility of parting with it? When was the last time you looked through your collection and pared it down?

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  1. Pingback: Collections, When to Stop | Sustainable Organizing, Milwaukee WI

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