Humans love to collect things.  We really do.  From what I've heard and read, it's likely a habit from our hunting and gathering days - the desire to hoard what we can because soon there won't be any food or supplies for the taking (due to weather, animal herds moving, etc.).

As you may have noticed, those days are long over.  Our DNA has allowed us to hang on to some of those characteristics from our ancestors.  Most of these traits are good - like our "fight or flight" instincts.  But, for some of us, collecting has become a large part of our lives, our homes and our identities.

There are tons of shows on TV now that showcase people and their collections.  Antiques, memorabilia, media, clothes, toys, you name it...someone wants a lot of it!  Sometimes it can be lucrative, sure.  And, sometimes it can become an obsession and take over a space.

How do we stop it before it begins?  How do we put a halt to it when we realize it's more than we can handle or hold or showcase?

Gather ALL the collection in one spot.  That's right - all of it!  Get those boxes out of storage and out from under the bed.  Unpack the items and set them all out.  I understand this might mean there would be hundreds of snow globes suddenly overtaking your dining room instead of throughout the house and packed in to boxes.  Good.  That's what we want.

Now that you can see the entire collection, you'll be able to start making some decisions.  First, go through all the items to assess if any are no longer acceptable pieces of your collection.  For example, are there broken pieces?  Discolored, ruined, ripped or otherwise undesirable?  If so, toss or donate (if the item is still usable by someone who is not a collector). 

Second, group the collection, if possible.  By designer, by theme, by year, etc.  This won't be applicable to every collection, but is helpful when it does applies.

Now, go through the collection and really ask yourself some tough questions:
1) Do I love this item? Does it bring joy to my life and my space? 
2) Does it remind me of a time or person I'd like to forget?
3) Do I remember why I have this item?  When or where I acquired it?
4) Does this still add value to my collection? Am I honoring it as a piece of this collection (or has it been hidden away for who knows how long)?
5) Would I value the space it would open up and the cash I may earn by passing this item along to someone who would enjoy it more than I enjoy the item itself?

If it will help you, have a friend (or designer or professional organizer) walk you through these questions - FOR EACH ITEM OF THE COLLECTION!  And, answer honestly.  The items that you decide to keep as part of your collection should be displayed, safely, such that you can enjoy your collection you've worked so hard to accrue.

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