As a child, I loved to collect anything. Small, shiny rocks, stickers, Precious Moment dolls, etc. My son enjoys collecting objects that we had to learn how to display in his room when we re-organized his space and now again, when we moved. Some collections were started for us, out of love or tradition. I would get a ceramic number princes fairy from Hallmark for each birthday and I have lovely group of 18 of them in boxes in my storage. A wonderful thought at the time, not sure what to with them today. And they take up space, lots of space!
Today, I still love to collect items but have learned to be much pickier I need to be intentional about the collection and I can use or display it in my home. A few considerations I like to keep in mind when starting or adding to a collection include:
• Where am I going to display this?
• How much space to store the collection?
• How long can the collection be displayed? It is a seasonal collection (example, holiday plates).
• Do I really love the collection and enjoy adding to it?
• How much can I afford to add to the collection?
• How to care for it? (Example leather items or historical clothing)
Some of my small collections include vintage trophies, blue dishes, and plaid items (for the holidays). Recently, I was going through some magazines and came across collection ideas and decorating which one collector had pictures of horses up for the Kentucky Derby. I loved the idea and thought if I could find some old horse pictures, copy them, frame them, and use my vintage trophy collection or pieces from it, that this could make an interesting display in my house. I love the Derby and follow it, have never been but would love to go (and wear a big hat!).
I found some old photos of race horses from my family photos albums. A race horse that belonged to a Doctor in Kewanna and a race horse that belonged to my great-great-great uncle Jesse Washburn. I made copies of them and enlarged them. Brought downstairs a few trophies (but I am avidly looking online and on eBay for more) and I had purchased a Church Hill Downs pendent years ago. On eBay, I found some sets of vintage derby glasses that I can set around the trophies and the pictures and can use for flowers/candles as well.
I had most of these items and just needed to pull them from other places and storage. I will then keep trophies and some ribbons up through the summer which makes me think of the Fair. Blue dishes come out for spring/summer as well which reminds me of water/beach.
But I truly think the key to collecting is to find objects that you really, really love. Don’t collect anything and everything. Don’t collect just trendy stuff because other’s do. I have seen some really interesting and amazing collections in homes that I loved but knew that I had no desire to start a collection of tobacco pipes, baskets, salt and pepper shakers, etc.
Here are some of my tips and ideas on starting and adding to collections:
• Research, research, research: if you are really invested in collecting a certain item, and you want to get good quality items to grow the collection, learn, read, etc. about the items, those who made the pieces, how they are labeled, etc.
• Make sure you have room or space to display or share your collection. Nothing is worst then creating a collection that is oversized or you have no place to display and it sits in boxes in storage.
• Be creative with your displays. Not all the objects need to be one spot in the house. You can sprinkle them around, in each room and that also provides a flow from one space to another.
• Display collections permanently (if you have the space) or seasonally. I like rotating collections and pieces per season. It changes the look of the rooms and adds new interest to spaces.
Some really trendy collections that I see in magazines, homes, and online right now include:
• Ribbons from livestock shows or sports (vintage) and they are so versatile! Lots of fun colors. I have some of my dad’s old ribbons and like to hang them from time to time.
• Trophies are popular as well. They make for interesting statement pieces. Especially if they have story behind them.
• Dishes: who doesn’t love dishes! White dishes, blue dishes, and vintage dishes are always in high demand. They are easy to display on shelves and on walls.
• Vintage signs are super popular. Especially if you have some place to hang or display. Some people seek out only coffee vintage signs or signs with livestock on them. Those are just a few examples.
• Tins and anything metal have been highly collectable for decades. Some people seek out more automotive tins (like oil cans) as a collection while coffee tins, tobacco tins, and many others are very interesting, fun and colorful to collect.
I think at the end of the day, you can make any collection work as long as you love it. Don’t collect it because your mother started it for you and you feel bad if you don’t keep it going; collect items because you love how they look, you find them interesting and you love to share them with others in your home!! Be intentional with your collection!
Love it, grow it, display that collection with pride! Happy collecting!