As I'm unpacking the house, I'm noticing the things Mark and I collect. We don't collect any of the same things, of course--that would be too easy. Neither of us has formal "collections" that we put together intentionally--it's just the things that we accumulate. In Mark's case, cookbooks are a big one--there are nearly 100 of those piled up around here. He also has a small but redundant collection of Shakespeare books (four different editions of the complete works, plus a shelf or two of individual plays and a little bit of criticism). And he has 30 pairs of pants. For me, it's art books (thirtyish); craft supplies (bins and bins full, it's embarrassing); and more bath supplies (scrubs, washes, bombs, soaps, you name it) than I could count.

What does this say about us? When you look around our house, and see the things we have a lot of, what does imply about the way we live and the people we are? The cookbooks are pretty obvious, I guess, though not everybody uses those the same way. Some people don't love to cook, but do love to have lots of pretty cookbooks. Some people cook out of them directly. For Mark, they function as something between a coffee table book and a reference manual. He rarely, if ever, uses recipes directly, but he pores over them.

The art books are my analogy to Mark's cookbook collection (at least in terms of being a pain to move). They aren't references for me, though. I know only a very small amount about art--a year's museum job worth. So I guess I'm kind of an art book poseur. Having them, and having them out (they've always been in the living room in the houses we've lived in, instead of in the office or bedroom like the fiction paperbacks), makes me happy. They're almost accessories. The art and craft supplies are more functional--my urges to make art aren't all that frequent, but they are strong, and, especially given that much of what I ideally like to use has to be found and collected, I need to have lots of stuff available when the mood strikes.

So what about you? Look around your house. What do you collect? What do you accumulate? What's the difference? And what does it say about you?


I've resisted collections in the most traditional sense, because I already have so much STUFF! But I certainly collect books (and not just cookbooks, though I have a lot of those). I have at least 50 Agatha Christie paperbacks (used, not worth any money), for example.

Also DVDs, though I try not to accumulate them beyond all reason. I have way too many possessions, but I try really hard not to have too many of any one category of thing.

I have too many purses, too many shoes, too many notebooks, too many pieces of jewelry, too many cloth napkins, etc. -- but none of these are items I seek out in the sense of a collection, and I'll try to keep it that way!

Easy. Me? Books, books, and more books. Husband? CDs and DVDs. I'm pretty sure our books and CDs number about a thousand each. How decadent.

Things to read. Books. Magazines. Newspapers. Papers from the kids' school. Random bits of paper. Frankly, it's starting to scare me.

I think I have big collecting tendencies. If things are in a series I really, really want everything in that series.

I have oodles of kitchen gadgets and a lot of cookbooks. I have untold amounts of yarn, fabric, and books pertaining to both. I have lots of books. I have a collection of those mini-quote books that I have an ongoing internal conversation about whether or not I want to get rid of them. I have a set of little jewelry boxes. And I have a big wicker basket full of stuffed animals hidden away upstairs. Oo- that reminds me of my also hidden flower fairies tin collection. So I guess I have both displayed and hidden collections! (Which reminds me of my hidden rock collection... told you I have a collection tendancy).

I seem to collect silver jewelry that contains stones or bone or wood.

I accumulate cat hair.

The difference between the two is that one is a socially acceptable thing to wear out in public, and the other isn't.

It says I'm an au naturel kind of woman!

I collect elephant figurines; crafting supplies (SO MUCH CRAFTING SUPPLIES OMG): fabric, yarn, scrapbooking supplies, odds and ends, zippers; books including cookbooks (mostly Ryan); Willowtree figurines; and you know that Ryan collects hats, but he also collects Sports "stuff".

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April 2012

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