Downsizing Your Collections Doesn't Have To Hurt

Do you have a collection? Silly question, right? We all collect something. For some of us, it's books and baking pans. For others, it's figurines and cookbooks. Or maybe it's a certain pattern of dinnerware and a certain color of jewelry.

But just as we all love a good collection, we also have to keep that collection under control. Otherwise, we'll run out of storage, out of space, and out of patience. And there's nothing uglier than a woman with overflowing collections.

To use a word no one really likes, there comes a time when we all need to downsize. It doesn't have to happen because of a huge, life-altering change like a move or a death. Sometimes we just need the space for something else or that collection just isn't our cup of tea anymore. Unless your collection is tea cups ... then it's perfectly acceptable.

As a disclaimer, I will never advise anyone to get rid of books. This is one of my emotional exceptions to any rule. When a book comes into our home, it will never leave until it falls apart, and probably not even then.

If you decide that your collection of collections needs condensing, here are a few things to think about.

* Take stock of your collection with an objective eye. Just because you love flower pots doesn't mean you have room for empty ones, broken ones, or ones so big you'll never be able to move. Be brutally honest with yourself.

* Decide why you're keeping what you're keeping. Call it setting a goal or prioritizing what you love, determine exactly why you're considering downsizing at all. Do you want that space back, room for a new collection, or a little extra cash? This decision will help motivate you to part ways with stuff.

* Do a little research. Is your collection hot property right now? This may be a great time to sell. If not, it's ok to gift some or donate some to reach your downsizing goals. 

* Be aware of what is emotion and what is practical. You might also learn that you love that collection of things more than you thought you did. That's fine - move on to the next one. But also remember that memories are in your mind and heart, not necessarily in that thing.

* Downsizing doesn't mean throwing it away. There are so many different places to take or send extra stuff. Host a sale or get in on the neighborhood sale to make some quick cash. Consignment shops can be a source of passive income. Recently we've donated boxes of household goods to a local shop that gives them to families in need. Depending on what your collection is, charities, museums, or local civic groups might love to have them.

* Have a good storage or display plan in mind. If you're keeping your absolute favorite collections, make sure you have a place for it. I adore my baking pans, so I have them in sliding drawers so I can find them easily and keep them in good condition. If you have to pack it up and store it away somewhere, are you really enjoying it to its fullest?

* Celebrate each little victory. Did you look up current values on your collection? Celebrate. Did you get a booth at a local antique store? Celebrate. Were you able to box up some pieces and donate them? Celebrate. Every step you take is one step closer to reaching those downsizing goals, and there's no reason better than that to celebrate.


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