It’s almost spring in Minneapolis. Almost. The weather keeps messing with us and switching from warm to cold. It’s like it knows that I want spring to be here sooo bad. I get a cleaning and organizing itch in the spring. Winter puts me in hibernation. When the first hint of spring comes along I am an organizing monster. Today we are talking COLLECTIONS. An organizer’s dream…or nightmare.
Collections. Love em or hate em somehow we all have them. I think it starts when we are kids. Our grandparents or parents figure out that we like something, in my case frogs and snowglobes, and they start a collection for us. I received so many snow globes as a kid that I had a whole bookshelf full of them. It was awesome! The problem with collections is sooner or later you get sick of them or change your interests. Well…I think that happens to most people. I am notorious for doing this. One reason why I don’t have a large collection of anything.
Collections can make or break your house. When done right collections can bring rooms together. Collections can also take over. Like hoarder status. We have all been to someone’s house that has walls full of a huge collection. Dolls, ceramic figures, sports memorabilia…etc. ALL OVER THE HOUSE. It can be overwhelming if not designed and contained.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good theme. But big collections aren’t my thing. Some people love to have collections. They collect something from their childhood, important event in their lives or something else that has special meaning to them. I am totally for that as long as it doesn’t take over your house.
Collections can work on a few levels. I like to divide them into sizes. Small, medium, large, and super sized. A small collection of say less than 5 items can easily be displayed together in one spot. A medium collection of 5-25 items may be able to be together in one spot or could be displayed in multiple smaller locations in the house. A large collection of 25-75 items usually needs its own room or multiple display cases. With a collection this size rotating items that are on display is a good idea. A super sized collection is more than 75 items. This is a big collection. These need their own room, rotating items for sure, and maybe a general thought about reducing the size of the collection to something manageable.
I have some small-medium collections of around 5 pieces around our house. Glass apples are one of them. My mom gave me them because I had admired them when I was younger. I have two on our coffee table, one on my side table in the bedroom, and 3 on the fireplace in our dining room. This is a great way to do a small collection. Spread them out throughout your house and they don’t look overwhelming. We do the same thing with our gnome collection. Yes, we have a gnome collection. We have some gnomes around the house. Together we have probably 10 but they appear in natural spots so you don’t know that they are a collection. Check out the house tour and try and spot the apples and gnomes collections!
A good example of a large collection is my Mom’s coffee mug collection. She has a bunch of mugs that she has collected over the years. She rotates them through her kitchen whenever she feels like she is looking for something fresh. I have been trying to put a freeze on the mug spending but she gets around me somehow. The reason her collection works is because she only puts out the amount of mugs that fit in her cabinet at one time. She keeps the others safely in rubbermaid containers in her garage. When she rotates them it’s like getting new mugs every time!
A supersized collection that works is the collection of my friend Dave. Shout out to Dave! He loves Lego’s and Star Wars. He has a whole room full of Star Wars themed stuff and Legos. The great part about it is that is he has a designated room in his house. The collection looks great all in one spot and it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the house.
So what happens when your spouse has a collection that you despise? It makes your skin crawl and you get the vomity feeling. How do you deal with this? You love this person but hate their stuff. This is a tough situation to be in.
I believe the solution for these collections is to find a way to incorporate them into your house in a way that supports your spouse and encourages them to be proud of the collection. Collections are very personal and they make the collectors extremely happy. Most collectors have fun collecting and looking for that perfect piece to add to the collection.
This can be hard to understand for us non collectors. We don’t get the high collectors feel when they find the right piece to add. We need to be supportive. Design a shelf for their collection that you like. Do you have a favorite hutch or bookshelf? Let them put the collection there and you both can enjoy it. If it’s something bigger that doesn’t fit on a shelf dedicate a room/area that they can have and display the collection. The collection can be contained and doesn’t need to spread to the whole house. The collection is more powerful when there are quality items displayed, not quantity.
If you are the collector be sympathetic to the non collector and their feelings that your collection may be taking over their lives. They didn’t ask to have 1000 frogs or snowglobes in their life. They don’t understand the joy that these pieces bring you because they don’t have the collector gene. Know that your full collection doesn’t need to be displayed all of the time. Rotating the items keeps the collection fresh. It’s also good to take a hard took at what is in the collection and determine if there are things in the collection that are not desired.
Collections of any size can work in a home. It really depends on how big the collection is and how integrated it is into the home decor. Whether you are a big collector or like me, you just have a few themed things, you can make it an attractive part of your house. Think about how committed you are to the collection long term. Are you going to get sick of the items? Do you really need dozens of them or will 5 high quality items mean more?
This spring, take a look at your collections. Edit them, add new pieces, change the display, and organize them. If they are small look for ways to disperse them into your home decor.
Yes! That picture is our GNOMIE!
Have fun organizing!
I’d love to hear how you all display your collections, large and small! Comment below!