I am a Collector

We moved into this house just over 11 years ago, having moved from a much larger house. We did not throw anything away before we moved and have not since. I am a pack rat saver. Oh, this 4″ piece of yellow ribbon? I may be able to use that for something someday. I can’t throw away that empty bottle. I could … put something in it. Never happens.

Since we’ve been painting most of the house, we’ve started cleaning and organizing cupboards and drawers. Lord have mercy! I have become ruthless. Unless I am using it in the next 15 minutes, it is out of here.

Cut the ClutterSo while cleaning off one of our numerous bookshelves, we found a book I bought at least 7 years ago when I apparently realized things were getting scary. It is “Cut the Clutter and Stow the Stuff,” edited by Lori Baird, published by Rodale.

Chapter 1 is entitled “What’s Your Clutter Style?” Included is a 3-part test to determine just what kind of clutter type personality you are. Primary clutter types are the Collector, the Concealer, the Accumulator and the Tosser.

I am a Collector. Basically, the Collector collects things with a certain amount of obsessiveness. Their collecting appears to have a goal and they are always striving to complete their collection. Eventually, a Collector has a collection of collections.

Unfortunately, this is very true. Whenever I do anything, I have to have everything. Current collections displayed in the house and stored in the garage include cake decorating stuff, beading supplies, tole painting supplies, cookbooks, knitting supplies and knitting books, milk glass, cobalt glass and just plain books.

Okay, so I know I need to sell most of the cake decorating stuff. I doubt I will be doing much of that in the future. I’ll keep the airbrush, a few of the pans and my tackle box of decorating tips, but everything else is going to have to go. The beading supplies I’m going to keep. A few times a year I get a wild hair and pull it all out and make a bracelet or something. Same thing with the tole painting supplies and pattern books. I occasionally like to paint something.

Buying books, in general, is one of my addictions. I really can’t help it — it runs in the family. My sisters and I each completed a questionnaire a few years ago and one of the questions was If you could spend $1,000 on a shopping spree anywhere, where would it be? And we all answered a book store. See? It’s not my fault.

I have somewhere around 200 cookbooks. I love them and read them all. Hubby thinks it’s funny that I will get in bed with a cookbook and read it like a novel. Hey, I learn stuff and I might want to cook something! I buy a lot of cookbooks and many have been given to me as gifts. I am planning to go to a cookbook signing in a few weeks for The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond — and, yes, I do need another one.

I have in the neighborhood of 75 knitting books and I adore every one of them. Reading patterns is like reading recipes. My brain gets so excited about all the possibilities! My stash of yarn is still under control, although I have it spread out through a couple of places in the house.

I’m not sure when I began to collect milk glass, but I have a nice grouping of serving pieces that I use. Beautiful bowls and gorgeous cake stands, plates, vases, candle holders. And I use them all. I have this faint memory of a relative saying, “Girls, use your good stuff, ’cause if you don’t, his next wife will.” I have always used my good stuff. Linens, china, crystal, silver. If it’s going to get ruined, I am going to be the one to do it.

Hubby took the test as well. He is primarily a Concealer, although his scores were pretty evenly spaced between the 4 categories. The Concealer has his stuff neatly packed away or hidden so that an outsider won’t catch on to the fact that he has clutter, too. The Concealer loves storage containers of all types and his items are often neatly stacked and labeled, maybe even color coded. Hey, I think they’ve seen Hubby’s garage.

Here are some of my (so far) favorite quotes from the book:

  • When decluttering becomes inevtable, the clutterer becomes depressed. Eventually, though, he gets over it. After all, there’s always more clutter where that came from.
  • Every day is a new, clutter-free beginning.
  • The Crafter is a subset of the Collector and Accumulator Clutter Types. The Crafter has a propensity for collecting things–often otherwise useless things–to use in future craft projects. The Crafter has never met a margarine tub she didn’t keep.

I should have taken some before and after pictures of some of our cupboards and drawers. The befores would be perfect horrifying, scary shots since it’s nearing Halloween. The good news is we are really getting organized, making piles for keeping, donating and garage sale-ing. Whew, I feel about 1,000 pounds lighter!

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6 Responses

  1. When I came across the directions to make Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin in our homeschool, who had enough toilet paper tubes ON HAND to make it? That would be me.

    • Okay, that’s one thing I have never saved. Thank God we quit buying coffee in cans because I used to have a zillion of those. I wish I had taken a before picture of the craft cupboard I just cleaned out. Even I was amazed at what was in there!

  2. Remember going to ‘KD Novelty’ and buying craft supplies BY THE POUND out of bins? How many beads do you get in a package now….four?! Oh the “good ole’ days”….

  3. KD Novelty was my favorite place to go with Mom! I used to love to snoop in all the bins and look at the finished displays, too.

    • Craft stores are still one of my favorite places to shop. I could wander around Michaels and Joann’s all day long. ‘Course then I’d buy more stuff to make and my cupboards would fill up again.

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