Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Clutter vs. Collections

It's happening everywhere - garage sales abound as the spring cleaning bug hits neighbourhoods everywhere. A Saturday morning, coffee in hand, perusing the garage sales and flea markets can be a fun start to a spring weekend. Perhaps you pick up another book on old boats which you love so much, or an addition to your 1950's Irish stoneware.

Reality hits when you return home to find the bookshelf full and the china cabinet overflowing onto the counter, table and sideboard. "What was a thinking?" you ask yourself, "I'm surrounded in clutter but I love my collection."

You are facing a dilemma that is very common to many clients. Many, many of us have established collections of various items over the years. Whether one is downsizing, house clearing or just de-cluttering, the question of de-cluttering a collection is a difficult one.

One definition of clutter comes from the world of gardening. A weed is, for many gardeners, merely a plant growing where it is not wanted. Similarly, clutter can be defined as any item that is hanging around where it is not wanted. Perhaps the main difference between clutter and a collection is the relative value of the items to the world at large. A collection of stamps may have relative value in the world of stamp collecting. At the same time, if the stamp collection is collecting dust at your house, taking up space you wish to free for some other purpose, to you it may be merely clutter.

So, how does one downsize the collection of tea cups? The same way one purges any other group of items. Our collections usually arrive one or two pieces at a time and during their growth, we usually develop a few favourites amongst the group. Start with a photograph of the collection. Keep those few favourites to remind you of the fun your had collecting and the beauty you see it the items themselves. Free the rest to another collector who is still growing their collection or pass on a few more to friends who have admired your collection in the past. The items have a new lease on life and you have freed up your space.

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