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?