When I was a young mother I hit every thrift store and yard sale I could to get clothes for the kids and décor for our home. It was a game and I was in love with it. I had a few precious dollars in my wallet to spend and loaded my arms full of all the goodies I could afford. My husband was never as excited as I was and I can’t blame him. I was excited to get all these things so cheap and he saw our house filling up with garbage.
To prevent unwanted tension and a lot of fights I made myself some simple rules to follow so that I didn’t become a hoarder. These rules have helped me as I started collections over the years. Collections are healthy ways to take part in a subject or topic that we love. I love books, travel décor, shoes, serving platters, and unique kitchen utensils. I can enjoy other countries by reading books and decorating my home with items from other countries. We can participate in subjects that we may have no talent in. We can observe music appreciation, for example, by collecting sheet music, song books, instruments, and music stands. Collecting helps us immerse ourselves into things we love.
Collecting helps us practice the art of development. It is easy to drive to a store and buy a cute item to fit your home, but there is a special beauty that can exist in our home if we take the time to develop it. Over time I have collected items from around the country that together make a unique collection. I have statues from Africa, cork décor from China, post cards from around the world, and globes from my neighbor’s garage. Taking the time to develop a room has taught me patience and the richness that develops over time. I appreciate the items I have collected much more than the ones I bought at the store. Sure they look similar, but there is a story behind the items that I have picked up from yard sales, thrift stores, antique stores, and on eBay.
Collecting is a way to reuse what still has so much life! I saw a stand alone globe once at a garage sale. It wasn’t for sale. I asked the owner if she would sell it and she said she wasn’t ready. I kept asking her for the next three years and one day she said sure. How about $15.00? Yes! I snatched that up and have had it ever since. The globe is probably over 15 years old, but looks brand new. I have given it a new home to grow even older in. There are so many things that can be used for so much longer. Re-use is friendly to our environment and our pocket book.
Collecting can quickly transition to hoarding if we are not careful. Here are some simple rules to follow to ensure you are collecting in a healthy way.
1. Have a goal/purpose. I need___. I want to find X to add to my collection and that item will go in this specific spot in the house. I don’t stop at every book store and I don’t buy things that don’t have a clear purpose or satisfy a goal.
2. Make a budget. It’s easy to overlook this when you are buying cheaper items, but things can add up quickly. If you are hitting yard sales take out your budgeted cash and don’t stop by an ATM. Keep track of what you spend on your collection throughout the year.
3. Give it time. A great collection is flavored with variety and time. I visit used bookstores every time we travel to a new city. I keep track of books that I want to hunt for in my Good Reads app and work very hard to keep from ordering them all at once on Amazon. I filled a book shelf in my library quickly with books, but once that was complete I shifted to collecting books about specific topics. My collection is flavored with variety. Obtaining books from different stores and different times and is seasoned with time. I now collect slowly and enjoy the process.
Collecting is a fun hobby that we can enjoy for many years and by following a few steps we can keep ourselves from becoming hoarders. This isn’t like collecting social media posts or likes. This is about enjoying the process of growing a collection and letting time tell a story. Not only will we have neat items to talk about, but neat stories to go along with it.