Take Pleasure in your Collections

Everyone collects something...even if you don't consider yourself to be a "collector", chances are you have something lurking in your home that has accumulated beyond what is considered a useful amount that a person should own.

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Remember this photo from a few blogposts ago?

Or how about this one?

When doing a little research for this post, I came across this apt definition:

col·lec·tor
kəˈlektər/
noun
  1. 1.
    a person who collects things of a specified type, professionally or as a hobby.
    "an art collector"

So, there's a BIG difference between accumulating the stuff of life (e.g. bookmarks and pens) and collecting things that give one pleasure as a specific hobby or as part of one's work life.  It could be said that one could have a beautiful bookmark or special pen collection, and it could also be inferred that these collections above are indeed to related to hobbies of mine - reading and writing.  But the reality is that these piles of things, because that is what they really are - piles - were quickly reviewed for a few special items which were kept to revive a sweet memory, and the rest?  Well the rest were bagged and donated or simply thrown out.  So they are not collections in the true sense of this definition, rather they are just part of the detrius we humans tend to accumulate throughout the course of our lifetimes and left to pile up, become just that - piles, not collections.

So now that this difference is squared away, let's talk about the collections that people have that give them joy.  And let's talk about where these collections are kept.

I can say from working with clients that the things they profess to "collect" are often hidden away in boxes, or tucked away gathering dust in dark corners on shelves or worse, crowded together in a central place of their home, so many, that it's hard to discern what exactly one is looking at. Neglected and thus forgotten, often covered in layers of dust and even grime, depending on the location.

What to do?  Upon rediscovery, it's best to start off asking a few questions.
  • How long has it been since you've seen these things?
  • Are they intact or broken?
  • Have you missed them?
  • Are the memories that flood back positive or negative?
  • Are you plagued with guilty feelings or feel that little thrill of joy?
  • Would you rather spend your time dusting these things or living life?
  • Is there someone that might enjoy this collection and take good care of it, such as a museum?

Let your feelings guide you to determine what to do next.  It's absolutely okay to pitch the entire collection into the trash or bag it up and donate it.  

But if you feel joy then it might be time to find a creative way to display your special collection so that you can feel that thrill of pleasure everytime you see it.

Here are a few ideas that have worked for me!

Buttons:  I've collected buttons since I was about 10 years old, in fact, as a child, I belonged to The Michigan Button Society where I learned all about the history of all sorts of buttons.  I enjoyed countless hours sorting and trading buttons with friends in the Button Club we formed at our school. For years, I kept them in Mason jars, but a few years ago, I created this out of an old framed mirror that I happened upon and a hot glue gun.



I've also seen buttons sewn into necklaces, bracelets and brooches, sewn on to wall hangings, made into Christmas ornaments etc.  You get the idea. I love buttons; they are a happy reminder of my childhood, so it makes sense to me to display them as something useful.  This mirror is the last thing I look at when I leave the house to make sure there is nothing in my teeth!

Figurines:  My married last name means "owl" in Polish.  It also means "noodle" in Japanese, one can only imagine what that collection would look like!  When we were first married, family members delighted in giving me owls.  It was thoughtful and sweet, but I quickly realized that I could only manage so many owls in my life.  When I'm surrounded by too much clutter, it clogs up my brain and makes it hard to focus.


So when we moved into our house, many years ago, I set them on top of a door frame in our bedroom Every morning I wake up and smile seeing all my owls in one place, but that's the only time I see them!  It's like a special greeting just for me.  Whooo...whooo!



Found objects: I like collecting rocks, feathers and other ordinary things found in nature and the man-made world.  These glass bottles came from swap meets in Los Angeles, antique stores and from an outhouse excavation at a century farm.  Yes, that is where people used to dump their trash!


Place another object in the mix to liven it up!  That mosaic ball was a gift from a girlfriend and it's sitting atop a glass candlestick holder!

When choosing where to display, consider an area that has lots of natural light or install stick-on LED motion sensor lights like these to really brighten up a shelves in an otherwise dark cabinet.

Arrange your items so that there is space between them and even though you may have a large collection, consider only displaying those that you really love so that they easily fit in the space.  Too many in too small a space looks cluttered.  3 to 4 larger objects fit easily on one shelf.  You can always rotate items in for the season and thus display an entire collection over the course of the year.  Remember, the less you display, the less there is to dust!

Thank you for allowing me to show you my collections!

What special collections do you have that bring you pleasure?

How do you display them?