My sister-in-law collects Christmas ornaments from all the places she and her family have visited. She keeps all these beautiful items in a chest of drawers she chose specially for them. It resembles the cabinets libraries use to keep maps, long deep drawers that run the length of the width of the cabinet. At Christmas she decorates her tree with these exquisite pieces and can tell the story behind each ornament.
A good friend collects tea cups, not sets of teacups but single cups and saucers in beautiful colors and designs. She keeps hers in a glass étagère that keeps them dust free and easily visible.
I collect a variety of things. My favorite are my Willow Tree angels, the original beauties that started the trend. My husband made me a corner cabinet where I can display them, but I know my limits. I prefer to collect and not hoard.
A collection is controlled by the owner; hoarding controls the owner. To own something or hold on to it just because of obsession is hoarding, and it becomes a collection of stuff instead of a discreet collection of something valuable.
I have had to teach myself to get rid of things, things I value like books, stuffed animals, kitchen gadgets. Whenever I feel these things are taking up too much of my time and space, I force myself to reduce them by half. For every item I keep, I get rid of one. It hurts and it takes discipline and I am weak but I do it anyway, so I can stand back and value the results.
Is it a collection or is it just a mass of “things?” Is the result pleasing and enjoyable? Do I control it or does it control me?
Before you marvel at my self-control, know this: I secretly covet my sister-in-law’s collection of Christmas ornaments from all over the world, but she has promised them to her only daughter. The same goes for the collection of colorful tea cups at my friend’s house, but I know those too have been bequeathed to a family member, still it does not keep me from picturing what I would do with them if they were mine. They would go well with my Willow Tree angels.