Identifying a collection

Collections aren’t inherently bad. The first book collectors helped create libraries and the first collectors of antiquities helped establish museums. Collections help us identify with the world around us and introduce us to like-minded people. However, labelling a group of similar items a “collection” does not automatically make it one. The following are guidelines to help you identify a collection:

Intention. A collection is intentional. There are certain items that meet the criteria for being a part of the collection and others that don’t. For example, when you collect “vintage pig salt and pepper shakers” you wouldn’t have brand new salt and pepper shakers or vintage cow salt and pepper shakers in your collection.

Time. You are able to spend time managing the collection without sacrificing the time you spend on your job or with your family. You take the time to ensure the items are clean, in good condition, and properly stored. You enjoy spending time with other collectors discussing the collectibles, trading, or buying and selling pieces.

Money. Your collection does not put your financial security at risk. You know the value of the items, know how much new pieces cost, and where to find the best deals for new acquisitions. You may also have prepared a budget for your collection and have ranked new pieces in order of priority of purchase.

Space. Your collection does not take up so much space that it impairs the normal functioning of your home. Because your collection reflects your life, you’ve taken the time to arrange the pieces to complement the beauty of your home. There may be many pieces to your collection but each one is has a special place.

Investment. The investment in your collection should be the joy that it brings you. You might be able to sell a few pieces for a profit but you’re not counting on it for your retirement savings plan. The last time I checked there were over 2700 Star Wars figurines for sale on ebay and 95 per cent of them were selling at less than $100 each.

Future Provisions. You’ve made some decisions on what should happen to the collection when you are unable to care for it. If you’re giving it to someone, that person has agreed to take care of the collection and enjoy it as much as you have. If no one wants to take the collection, you’ve made appropriate plans to sell it.

Overall, the collection should be a joy to own. Seeing it should reduce stress and bring peace-of-mind. The collection should bring a feeling of peace and contentment and reflect part of who you are. If your collection is taking up too much time, money, or space and/or if it isn’t bringing joy to your life, it may have crossed into the clutter category and it may be time to let it go.

5 Comments for “Identifying a collection”

  1. posted by Layla on

    I like this! A few years ago when I was reading all about the minimalists who travel the world with a backpack and only own items for their utility… I started to question my collection. So I put it in a box in my room, and now I still want it – the older pieces remind me of when I was younger, and the fun I had saving for them and playing with them. And they’re fairly small so they can be put in a box and moved with me when I move.

  2. posted by Pat Reble on

    I really like this one! My daughter started collecting elephant earrings – small, portable – an ideal collection. But then people thought, she likes elephants, so we’ll give her other elephant things. That’s when a collection becomes a problem, and how the vintage pig salt and pepper shakers turn into cow salt and peppers and pig key chains!

  3. posted by Another Deb on

    Don’t forget to organize your collection so you know what you have. I have a very large collection of rubber stamps and am getting them organized by taking them off those massive wooden blocks, then storing them on theme-based plastic cards that fit into archival boxes. The index notebook shows me what I have, is easy to update and makes it easy to access what I need.

  4. posted by Marie on

    I agree with Pat—other people meddling and being clueless about gift-giving is what makes a collection a hassle! When anyone asks me if I collect anything, I explain that I have an inherited collection that I don’t add to because it’s about the memories, not the items themselves.

  5. posted by jan on

    I agree some people don’t know what the collection means.
    What about collections of the past, no longer interested in?
    I think the part that touched base with me was categorization,
    You take the time to ensure the items are clean, in good condition, and properly stored.
    Stored collections are not out to be enjoyed or cared for.
    Provisions for care when I no longer can care for them, never thought about that.
    It is a collection but stored in a box is not a joy or any kind of comfort.

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