Organizing Collectables to Gather Compliments—Not Dust

I love things that tell a story, don’t you? Collectables can do that. They can tell us places people have been, activities they’ve engaged in, jobs they’ve held, memories they cherish, and more. Looking at someone’s collectables can be like reading a good book.

Professional organizers certainly don’t begrudge collectors their vast array of treasures. In fact, throughout my organizing career I’ve had the pleasure to come across some truly remarkable and interesting collections: buttons, bottles, Pez dispensers, banana stickers, keys, postcards, license plates, spoons, wooden puzzles, and more. I respect that a collector has probably spent years building their collection, and I’m sure the Internet has probably allowed them to add pieces that might otherwise have been unattainable.

Collection Do’s

So how about some stylish ways you can display and organize your treasures? For starters, collections won’t make your space look cluttered if they are grouped together and displayed in an interesting manner. Consider these ideas:

  • If the items are on the small side, store half of them in a safe place and only display some items at a time. In fact, if you replace them each season with ones that have been stored, the items will feel new to you each time you change them out.
  • Divide them into areas for display, which can also bring symmetry to a room or area. For example, your plate collection might look beautiful spread on two shelves on each side of a the fireplace. Same with the wall space around your bed if the bed is centered on a wall. So think of areas in your home where a divided display might be just the thing.
  • For a dramatic display, try arranging shadowboxes on an entire wall in a pleasing geometric pattern.
  • Do you collect plates? Consider them near the ceiling spaced out like a wallpaper border in your kitchen or dining room.
  • How about a glass lidded coffee table for small items? Or a glass lamp base for particularly small items?
  • Check out the recent spread in Real Simple Magazine which features eight beautiful and unique display ideas.

Collection “Don’ts”

Keep a few things in mind if you have a collection or are thinking of starting one. First, don’t collect items in hopes of making money from them someday. Remember the Beanie Baby explosion? I don’t have to tell you how that turned out for folks.

Second, don’t start a collection with the intent of passing it on to your children. They may not be interested. In addition, today’s millennials tend to live a different lifestyle from their parents, living digitally through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, and capturing their moments with discs and flash drives. So collect items because you love them, and because you get enjoyment from them.

Tell Your Story Well

It can be a challenge to incorporate a collection of items into your home without making it look like clutter. But there are plenty of beautiful and interesting ways to display your collection, no matter what you collect. If you’d like help with this, contact me. I can assist you in organizing your collectibles in a way that will make your story all the more enjoyable to “read.” Just like a good book.

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