Collections ... and limiting their size

marylizApril 1, 2008

Here's a topic that might be fun.

What do you collect? Why do you like these objects? How and when did you start collecting? Do you make any efforts to limit the size of your collection? Do you have some sort of physical container that naturally limits the size of your collection?

I always have saved cool rocks, feathers, shells ... lots of natural objects. I had them scattered around the house in boxes and bowls, here and there. Then I spied a table at Ikea. It has a glass top, and two drawers beneath that are divided into sections. We needed a better coffee table anyway, and I knew this would be a great home for my collection of natural objects.

The best thing of all is that the table will limit my collection. If I want to add something new, something else will have to go.

I also seem to be the target of people who seem to think I need another orchid. As if I don't have enough already.

There is a table in the great room that is the home of most of my house plants. It is already quite full, and plants are overflowing to other rooms. I think I ought to apply the same principle here as with the collection inside the coffee table.

As soon as the weather warms, I will Freecycle some of my house plants to new homes. That way, my collection will stay manageable. And if anyone notices that some of my plants have disappeared, then I'll explain that when they gave me the new one, I had to make room for it by giving away one of the old ones. Or would they be upset by that? Too bad! It's my house and I don't want it to become a botanical garden.

Let me know about your own collections, and whether you feel like they've acquired a life of their own, or whether you have found a way to keep them in check.


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I have a coffee mug collection that started years ago by my buying different ones from places I'd visited. It grew so large that it is now in one of those large dishpack moving boxes and I haven't unpacked it. I used to be able to put them all on top of the kitchen cabinets but this house has no opening there.

People have added to that collection through the years and I haven't stopped purchasing them but now I look for the small cups that are now being sold. I wish they were an option years ago.

I don't know what to do with these cups. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 9:07PM
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I collect the three monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil) I like them in jade, bone, wood, iron & steel. That limits the collection, and they are mostly good size. I have them in my office at work on the bookcases, and scattered around the house, they are pretty decorative and don't take up much room. They aren't very common so its not as easy to pick up a new one as it would be to get another cup. The more quirky your collection is--the less people will try to add to it. Never collect spoons or tshirts.
I had a lot of orchids but when we remodeled, some of them died, so I am starting over.
I have received house plants as gifts but I move them from work to home, and back again sometimes, so no body has ever asked about their plant.
Marie, I don't know what to suggest about the cups--but once I saw a wonderful wall somebody built in Chicago. They had broken pottery with words on it and used the pieces cemented randomly. The Disney concerthall in L.A.has a fountain dedicated to Lillian Disney which looks like a giant flower and it is dresden broken pieces cemented randomly. Its gorgeous all blue and white mosaic.
Or the next party you have, you could use some from different areas as centerpieces filled with ivy in water with a few flowers. If it says "Boston" or whatever, that would be conversational.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 1:47AM
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i collect penguins.

I once had a party and gave away a bottle of wine to the person who guessed the number of penguins in my apartment. It was kind of fun--people walked around counting penguins (each penguin counted--so the bowl rimmed w/ penguins as 8, not 1).

I don't really have a limit, but I have slowed down the purchasing of them, and I've finally gotten people to believe that they shouldn't buy me something just because it was a penguin/had a penguin on it.

I've packed some away bcs I just didn't have room. Or, they were displayed on the floor and I had a pre-toddler.

Now I *only* buy a penguin if it really speaks to me, or if it's a great memento of someplace I've been (I don't just buy a penguin bcs I want some sort of memento).

Otherwise, I've forced them over to the "Christmas ornament" category; that's where I will add on without restraint. If we ever had a bigger house, I'd have a "penguins only" tree and another tree for my kids' ornaments and the other general ornaments.

The hardest part of trying to limit my collection is that people would give me penguins, just because. And I ended up w/ some sort of unnecessary penguins--just ordinary ones, or a mug just bcs it has penguins on it.

I finally decided I wanted a true collection, not an accumulation. So I look for unusual materials, unusual designs, etc. I bought a penguin because it was blown glass and very stylized; I didn't have one w/ that look. But I walk right past the ones that are painted-and-glazed ceramic, bcs I have a ton of those.

And I refuse to buy cutesy ones w/ hats, etc. Or, I very *seldom* buy them.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 9:36AM
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For the past 15 years, it has been Christmas ornaments. There is the tree with pink ornaments, the tree with clown ornaments, the tree with clear glass ornaments, the tree with blue and yellow (not gold) ornaments. These collections are rarely added to these days, it seems there is a finite selection available.

Two years ago I again became interested in African violets. Went from 2 to now over 350 named varieties. Thank God they aren't all plants, some were acquired as leaf cuttings. This collection can grow to as big as I want it to, there are over 15,000 registered varieties.

One of the things I enjoy about the violets is that additions can be acquired without buying them. I have started a club here in my town, and we share leaves at the meetings. With so many varieties out there, everyone doesn't have the same thing.

How do I cope with space requirements? I have a lot of shelves! If they aren't in the window, I have fluorescent lights on them. And I am gradually turning my office room into a plant room by getting rid of all the crap I've been hauling around for the last 30 years that I'll never need/use again. That is what brought me to this forum to begin with. Well, actually it was the African violet forum on the garden side of this website....


    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 1:02PM
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