One of the things that I’ve noticed about myself, and people in general is that we like to collect things. Back when I was younger, I collected baseball, basketball and football cards. That was my focus and passion, second only to music. Once I was in college, I was faced with a dilemma. Do I lug my expansive collection of cards with me or do I get rid of them? They weren’t valuable because they were of the 80’s and 90’s, when cards were overproduced, so I just got rid of them. I haven’t thought much about collecting cards since then.
My girls love Barbies, as many girls do. My youngest daughter’s room has all of the Barbie paraphernalia in it. The dream house, the cars, and a whole ton of Barbies. Many of these things were given to them by a family in our church whose daughter didn’t want her collection anymore. And my girls play with the Barbies quite regularly.....but there’s so much of it!
I could keep going with more examples from my life, but as you’re reading this, you can probably think of many more yourself. We collect things. And when we find something we like, people feel compelled to give us things that help us with that collecting. Now, inherently, there’s nothing wrong with that, until your shelves, your rooms, your house is filled with your collection. And you’re facing the “now what” with all of it. You’re overwhelmed, And you don’t control the stuff, the stuff controls you.
While the optimal first encouragement I’d give in regard to collecting is don’t do it, I have 3 encouragements in helping to deal with your collecting:
1) Find a manageable number. When one new thing comes one, it has to replace another item in your collection. I collected nutcrackers. I’d only put them out at Christmas. I kept a few out regularly. So I decided that 28 nutcrackers were not worth storing, so I kept the 8 I really liked, and got rid of the rest. If I get a new one, it replaces one in my collection.
2) Keep asking yourself why. Ask why you collect these things. Do they bring you joy? Cheer you up? Awesome. Do they serve a purpose? Because if you don’t keep asking why, you may end up with the dinner plates of the world collection and not really have them serve a purpose or have a place to store them!
3) Don’t be afraid to say no. As a musician, much of my music has been handed down or picked up through giveaways. And I’m thankful for that because I’ve found some great music. I’ve also found some awful music, music I’ll never use and music that’s falling apart. Why should I keep it? So, I’ve become more discerning. I’ve learned to look and if there’s music I know I can’t use, I’m not just going to take it and hold on to it to take up space.....I’m not taking it in the first place. No is a hard word to say, but it’s so necessary and beneficial!