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The Joy of Collecting

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Have you ever had a passion for collecting? Do you find yourself arranging and displaying your collections for all to see? Could there be such a thing as healthy collecting? I know there is, and I would love to share my story of what and why I have chosen to collect.

My dad was an interior designer and growing up, my favorite time was when he and I ventured out of the city and into the country to go treasure hunting for unusual, surprising items that he discovered specifically for a customer or to sell in his studio.

Collecting taught me to seek answers to my inner questions and to develop a keen eye for items that sparked my imagination.

That was when my desire for collecting began. Collecting was fun and almost always free. It provided an invaluable pastime to preserve the beauty and memories from places I had visited. I was a very curious little girl and collecting taught me to seek answers to my inner questions and to develop a keen eye for items that sparked my imagination.

My collections of choice included small items: keys, rocks, feathers and shells. These tiny treasures inspired me to craft something out of nothing and create one-of-kind projects and gifts. Here are some ideas for how to use your own collections:

  • Design dream catchers out of feathers
  • Embellish gloves, blankets and scarves with interesting buttons or gems
  • Create jewelry out of unique keys or other metal pieces
  • Build a shadowbox to hold everything from ticket stubs to matchbooks
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I loved collecting everything from keys and rocks to buttons and shells. They often found a way onto my works of art including jewelry and wind mobiles.

I was fascinated by buttons and to this day have a collection that my mom started for me. There was satisfaction in researching the various eras of buttons made from wood, molded porcelain and hand-cut glass.

Collecting is an integral part of telling my life story.

I also loved baseball and still have a collection of baseball cards given to me by my first boyfriend when I was 12 years old. I am not quite sure what I will do with that collection—or those classic wheat pennies I saved all these years. You see, my dad was an avid coin collector, and all his coins were inventoried and organized in Whitman coin folders. I guess my collection of wheat pennies gives homage to the memory of my dad. (Fun fact: wheat pennies were the first currency to feature the profile of Abraham Lincoln, and the first regularly circulating U.S. coin to feature an actual person. Some are even worth up to $2,000!)

My special collections have taken me on extraordinary and meaningful voyages throughout my life. The joy I receive from finding new gems gives a voice to the inquisitive girl I was as a child. I now realize that collecting is an integral part of telling my life story—experiences gathered, moments revisited, people loved and places that influenced me.

Healthy collecting is a beautiful slice of the past, present and future. What collection can tell your story?