Organizing Collections


collectionLast Thursday morning I was on Martha Stewart Radio sharing tips for organizing collections. So I thought I’d share some tips on that topic today.

I’m always trying to get inside the mind of the collector and what I often hear from them is that that being a collector defines who they are… they are Collectors. Which I find fascinating as I’m not much of a collector myself (big shocker). Their collections tell stories of not only the history of the item itself but also of the experience of acquiring it.

I have however had 2 collections. As a kid I collected what I thought at the time were unique pens and pencils. I picked them up from my travels to places like the Grand Canyon, the Smithsonian or even a state’s trinket shop along the Highway. It was an affordable collection for a 9 year old as well as easy to transport while traveling. Already organizing at a young age, I categorized them by size and color, then displayed them in cylindrical glass vases on shelves in my room. Every once in a while I would empty one out and stroll down memory lane.

When it came time to dismantle my collection as an adult I tossed all the pens when I discovered that they had dried out and then I donated the entire pencil collection to Good Will. It stung for a few minutes to do this but I figured what were my options. I wasn’t going to display the pencils in my current home and what was the point of packing them up and storing them in the basement to only find them again years later. I figured it might be fun for some little kid wandering the local thrift shop to find this whole collection in tact for them to use.

My other collection is bottle caps from soda bottles (no diet sodas or beer). This collection I do keep rather accessible as I’m contributing to it almost weekly. I have some grand vision for these caps but for now I just accumulate them in a box inside a closet.

But enough about me, let’s talk about you and your collections. Below are bullet points that cover a variety of aspects relating to organizing your collections big or small:

· Have a collection of small molded plastic figures? If they are out of their original packaging, tuck them in random places around the house. What a surprise to open the freezer and see Spiderman in there guarding the frozen blueberries. Reach for a drinking glass and find Mr. Incredible. Grab a q-tip out of your medicine cabinet and be greeted by Godzilla. These are especially good crowd pleasers when your crowd is kids (or husbands who came to the relationship with a sizeable collection of Bart Simpson figures).

· Got a comic book collection worthy of display? Try these cases from They’re recloseable and reuseable. Prop them up on a shelf or use an adhesive velcro dot to stick up on the wall.

· Not quite ready to toss your T-shirt collection but need the extra drawer space for shirts you really wear? Frame it or use a display hanger. A row of these in your garage or laundry room are bound to make you smile every time you walk in and see them.

· Are you vinyl records collecting dust in the attic? Pull out a few of your favorite covers and frame them for display.

· While surfing the web I found the most unusual collection… The Moist Towelette collection. It gave me a chuckle. I’m not judging, it’s just so fascinating what makes people tick. Maybe I should have been an anthropologist or archaeologist.



4 thoughts on “Organizing Collections

  • August 15, 2008 at 6:57 am

    One of my oldest collections from childhood still in my possession is Hello Kitty 🙂 and I’m glad to have reached a point where I will not get anything HK anymore (but that doesn’t mean no window shopping at Sanrio shops!)
    For me the best part of collecting (in general) is not to own every single thing out there but to enjoy whatever my collection stands now.

    clara’s last blog post..Tin and tin

  • January 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm


    This is thought provoking becase i also have been a collector since childhood. I guess it began with Dixie cup lids, and ‘vintage’ clothes; I now have more expensive and varied collections. My question is, “What is the most interesting way to display my antique necktie collection?”

    Thank you,

    Ann McGowan

  • January 8, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    That is a good question, Ann! My friend over at the Tie Rack Blog would be more than happy to research that one for you, I’m sure!

    🙂 Eva

  • December 2, 2009 at 8:08 am

    That’s a great idea about framing the old album covers.

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