Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Managing Collections

Sometimes it is challenging to know what to do with collections. After all, we don't live in museums, but homes instead. Collections sometimes take over and there is no comfortable place left to live. A friend once took me to her mother-in-laws home where I enjoyed a tour that I will never forget! It was a beautiful Queen Anne home, filled to the gills with appropriate period antiques. Elegance, beauty, and style were melded together in such a way that it took a few minutes for me to register that I was in the home of a "hoarder". Everything was neat and tidy, but there were only pathways of open space that led from room to room. I really had a hard time determining where the family actually lived. I remember a space at the breakfast nook where I believe the mister of the home resided. I wonder, did he have a man cave in the garage as well? So, how does one go about collecting and keeping balance in their lives? I can hear a couple of my friends giving a friendly snicker as they read this. I love my collections and how objects connect me to my heritage. Let's just say I work hard at not becoming the hoarder of elegance, beauty, and style that my friend's mother-in-law became.

How do you store or display your collections? Here are a few ideas that can help us figure new ways to store the things we love and enjoy.

~ a small wall display case for thimbles

~ china closets and hutches for china, teacups, and teapots

~ old farm implements hung on exterior walls of a barn or shed

~ antique yardsticks hung on the walls of a workshop

~ T-shirts with logos that feature the growing up years of a son that are made into a quilt

~ a bookmark collection stored in a shoebox

~ old books in a bookcase

~ photos and stamp collections in albums

~ silver teaspoons in a glass pitcher that's displayed on a counter top

~ old postcards in a wooden case

It's easy to get carried away when collecting and gathering. There are times that a collection needs to be sifted through and refined. An object that was valuable to you 10 years ago may now be superseded by a more recent find. It's an opportunity to sell some of the items you no longer cherish, or use them to give to another who is just starting a collection. Occasionally it is difficult to let something go, so finding a technique or tactic that helps you release an object is helpful. Photographing objects and placing pictures of them in an album can be helpful in this case. A picture and a short description can go a long ways in helping you pass along a collectible treasure.

What techniques do you use to help you keep your collections under control?


  1. I just turned a side room at my store in "Vintage-Retro-Reclaimed". It's working...I'm getting rid of all the excess and people love the cheap prices!

  2. My collections center around tea and dishware and sometimes I'm impulsive and buy more than I need. Fortunately I have storage space in my basement, which helps keep my first floor uncluttered. I've had several garage sales over the years, as well as donations to fundraisers at church, and that's a good way of purging. Estate sales are reality checks about "stuff." Finding a balance is the key to enjoying things without becoming obsessed with them.

  3. I keep setting things aside offering it to family or friends...whatever doesn't go gets taken to Goodwill. Other than that I use denial.

  4. Practicing letting go has been crucial for me - keeping the best/most precious to me and releasing others to new homes. Moving across the country helps!

  5. One more coping strategy - we live in a small house. That goes a long way toward limiting collections. ;-)

  6. I try very hard not to buy more, but if I do I then try to eliminate one or two things I no longer love. Yes, like Steph says moving does help. Each year after Christmas I walk through my house and say is this something I am using and enjoying or is it time to send it along with someone else. I go room by room. Right now I need to start the kitchen, it is the hardest room to do this.

  7. Oh boy, La Tea Dah. I'm not a good one to ask. I have a lot of different collections. A lot. Our house is on the large side. One way I've helped put the skids on is that I no longer buy cookbooks, dolls, or wooden Santas.

    Sometimes I have to RESTRAIN myself but I really try.

    I believe in surrounding one's self with beautiful things but if things start to look cluttered, I don't like it.

    Luckily, we have a big attic.

    One day, however, I'll really have to bust to weed out, to get ready to go to the other side. (Hope that's a long time from now. ha haha) Susan

  8. Of course, I have lots of china and teacups and books!

    I have been reading through The Next to Nothing House and it has been interesting to see collecting through the eyes of another person.

    She not only collects old furniture (at such cheap prices, the book was published in the early 1920s) but ended up with one of the best collections of silhouettes in the country.


Thank you for commenting on my blog post. I am always happy to hear from blog readers. Your words encourage and inspire me. I am glad you stopped by to share conversation, recipes, ideas, and thoughts on creating a welcoming home.