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My New Collecting Obsession

And tips on how to start your own.
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Thoughts on Having a Collection1

There's something about starting a collection that feels nostalgic. When I was young, I collected everything from troll dolls and Pogs to baseball cards and stickers. And it's fun to watch the same thing in Sloan, who's already passionate about her ever-growing stack of books and impressive Band-Aid stash (which she wears strictly as accessories on her hands).

As an adult, the idea of a "collection" can either take on a creepy factor (like a room full of porcelain dolls) or be synonymous with hoarding. But a collection can also be the source of joy. Years ago, I had seven or eight globes I'd amassed during trips to flea markets. I loved how the mismatched series looked above our bookshelf and that some of the globes were so dated their maps had countries that no longer existed. However, when we moved into our new home, we didn't have a good spot to display them and ended up selling all but one at our garage sale. It now sits in Sloan's room and serves as a sweet reminder of our past.

Since then, the only thing I'd really collected were white blouses (if that counts), until I saw a friend's collection of vintage vases. She keeps them in a hutch in her dining room, where they're just visible behind the screen panels. I had them in mind when I went to the Long Beach Flea Market a few weeks later and spotted a vintage French pitcher/vase similar to one I'd bought a year before. From that moment, it became my mission to find more. It was blazing hot as I dragged myself up and down the rows, but the ceramic vases appeared in nooks and corners of different stalls, turning the day into a treasure hunt.

Since then, the vases have become some of my favorite pieces—for a reason that wasn't clear to me until I'd lived with them for a few months. While I haven't figured out just yet how to display them (I envision them atop kitchen cabinets in a future house), I like how they look clustered together on our dining room table. I probably won't ever use them all at once - that would be a bit much - but have enjoyed the process of grabbing one at a time to fill with fresh flowers around the house. 

The Unexpected Thing I Started Collecting_QT

1. If possible, collect something you can use. I love the French vases, because they're something I can display, then pull down to fill with flowers. Collections become sad when they gather dust on a shelf—or in a box.

2. Collect timeless things. Collections can take years to amass, so they should stand the test of time. Rather than collecting something of-the-moment, consider classic items that will be just as cool in five or fifty years.

3. Be mindful of kitschy-ness. The line between kitschy and cool is particularly thin when it comes to collections—a set of ceramic containers can be cool. A set of chicken-shaped ceramic containers? Not so cool. That being said, the beauty of collections is that you're free to collect what you love! If chickens are your thing, go for it.

4. Don't become too attached to your collection. At the end of the day, they're just objects. If you come to a point when your collection is causing you more grievances than joy, either consider editing it down, or find someone to gift it or sell it to.

I'd love to hear: Did you have a collection as a kid? Anything now you could see yourself collecting now? 

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