Detox Your Collections

What collections do you have in your home? Do you love books? Pottery? Bears? Flowers? Butterflies? Cats? Roosters? Glassware? Everyone has things they love and enjoy placing in (large) groups around their house.
But what do you do when your collections take over your living space? It might seem like there are books spilling out of the bookshelves and piling up in every room. Or maybe you have more stuffed animals than people! Perhaps you can't close your kitchen cabinets because you've collected so many different baking pans.

The idea with any collection is a combination of enjoyment and moderation. There is nothing wrong with surrounding yourself and your family with the things you love. That's one of the joys of having your own space. But as with anything in life, moderation makes your collection manageable and fun.

I adore Boyds bears. I used to work at a store that sold them, so each and every bear that came into the shop grabbed my heart. Great for making a fun work day, but not so great for my home and pocketbook. After a while those sweet little bears were everywhere - and there was no room for anything else! So with a tender heart and some ruthlessness, I narrowed down my collection to my very favorite bears. Now they are displayed in two places - the plush Boyds in the dining room and the resin pieces in the craft room. Only the ones that were the most special got to stay and the rest found new homes.

Another passion of mine is reading. I have two bookshelves full of books, almost to the point of overflow. I was raised that books are precious, and it's a joy to bring home new books and curl up to read them. The difficulty is in making decisions about keeping them. There is only so much room in the house and only so many shelves for books to live. Once they get beyond that point, the question is how often you will reread them. I read my favorite books repeatedly, but others have either never been read or one reading was enough. Those are the ones that go so there is room to find new ones. What a motivation to sort!

And finally there is paper. I adore paper - I'm a scrapbooker through and through, so card stock and decorator paper take up the biggest space in my craft room. I even have fabulous friends who give me paper for my birthday and at Christmas. The issue becomes whether I can use it up quickly enough before more comes in. It may sound silly, but it breaks my heart to have something and not use it. Paper can quickly pile up and not get used at all - I can only craft for so many hours each day!

But I found a fun solution for this one! I sent a box of scraps and full sheets that I wasn't using to the wonderful woman who got me started paper crafting in the first place. In return, she sent me some of her own that she wasn't using. I got a huge creative jump-start and was able to get some new designs. It was a fabulous trade and now I don't have quite so much paper piled up.

When you're looking at your own collections, think about space, cleaning and enjoyment. Any collection that spends most of its life packed away probably isn't as special as you think. If you don't have room for all of your collection's pieces, start thinning them out. Share some with friends so they have a personal, special gift that reminds them of you. Donate them to your church for special occasions or to the local thrift shop to help the needy in your community. If you have plenty of storage space, rotate your pieces so only a few are out at a time. Then it feels like a whole new room every time you switch them out.

We all have pieces we love, but there comes a time when we have to detox the amount for the sake of our home. Remember that they are just "things" and aren't the center of our world. It may be a challenge at first, but as Jesus Christ Himself said:

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:20-21

Let your treasure be in Christ, and enjoy the simplicity of the collections in your home.

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