What do you collect? Why?

My Mom loves to collect things. She went through several phases and collected items such as Cabbage Patch Dolls, Madame Alexander Dolls, Beanie Babies (with my younger brother), Christmas Villages, Santas, Roosters, Decorative Plates, and many types of crafts. 

I seem to have inherited a love of collecting and the gene really came through strong with my kids as well.  My son not only has this strong genetic influence but he has autism and OCD so that combines to make him a "super collector". I'm happy to say that he manages it very well and it actually works to his benefit most of the time. If he wasn't so motivated this way, our "point system' would have never been such a success. He has accomplished a lot to complete the collections he has! When he was very young though, this was a bit difficult. When he saw a new round of Happy Meal Toys come out with the phrase "Collect Them All!" he did not view this as an optional statement. He literally HAD to collect them all. We used them as rewards and many of them have ended up being given away over the years when they were no longer of interest to him. There simply isn't room to collect everything.

Sadly, many collections end up being yard sale material later on. I guess that is ok though if they served a purpose at one time. In the case of my children, Happy Meal toys had a big part of their potty training and other important milestones. Nothing like a little incentive to keep things motivating. We all need rewards of some sort.

All of this got me thinking about what I collect and why those collections started and/or continued. For me, collections are used as part of the decoration in our home and also as illustrations of our story. I don't like to collect something just for the sake of having the item, I really enjoy the meaning or shared experience that the items represent.


What do I collect right now? And why?

Digital scrapbook supplies - I'm the scrapbook lady after all! I've always loved scrapbooking supplies and these days I'm all about digital goodies and anything in the Project Life app. I don't feel at all guilty over this collection because I use these materials to document our family memories. And I can hoard tons of kits on my hard drive and they don't take up any space in my house. lol! You can see how I organize my collection in this post. 

LEGO minifigures and LEGO sets - It's funny how this started because my kids had a lot of LEGO sets when they were young that just got scattered around and we didn't save them. Now I wish I would have kept them (especially the Harry Potter sets!) Somewhere along the line, I realized that it is just fun to take pictures of minifigures. Then I started to have fun working on the sets with my kids. I always wanted LEGO stuff when I was a kid (there wasn't much of it back then) and I finally realized that it's never too late to have fun. Now collecting (and having fun with) LEGO is a fun part of my life. This collection even encouraged me to branch out creatively and make new friends. So awesome!

Books - I'm a lifelong bookworm and both of my parents have always loved and collected books. I remember my English teacher in high school saying that she could tell how successful a student was going to be by how many books were in their home. I knew I had it made when I heard that! I also knew that I wanted a house filled with books for my own family. I had no idea that I would end up having a son that could read more books than all of us combined. We definitely are book collectors around here!

Recipes (and a small collection of cookbooks) - Another collection I attribute to my upbringing. My mom has hundreds of cookbooks in her collection. I have only a fraction of that amount and I've weeded down my own cookbook shelf since I mostly look online for recipes these days. I still love to read cookbooks though and I have a real weakness for them!

Board games - I started collecting board games with my kids when they were quite young. I've always enjoyed playing games, but when my son went through occupational therapy (for autism) my eyes were opened to what a great learning and social tool board games are. We have around 150 board and card games in our collection and they have been worth every penny. We have played them as a family. There have been many times that my kids have played them with friends. We used them in homeschool. We take them on trips. My husband has used them for team building activities at work. We treasure them!

Globes - I've always loved maps and globes. I'm not sure why, but I just do. I bought a globe for my son's room when he was about 4 years old and I slowly added a few more over the years. When we moved into our prior house in 2004, I set up a bunch of bookshelves in our home office and I thought they needed something on top of them. I had seen pictures of globe collections in magazines (this was before Pinterest) so I started buying globes whenever I could. Within about 6 years, I had quite the collection. I only have about 75% of my globes out right now as I don't have as much shelf display space in our current home.

Toys - This is kind of silly, but I have a weakness for toys that are fun to photograph. My kids both have plush animal collections and my daughter has quite a large assortment of Littlest Pet Shop animals. When we travel, one of my favorite things to do is to check out local toy shops. Sometimes I buy little figures to photograph and then justify it by saying that someday my grandchildren will enjoy them. My hubby and kids think I'm pretty goofy, but they seem to enjoy the pictures I take. My collection isn't very large, but it's fun!

Disney pins - The funny thing is that my Father-in-Law got me started on this one. He used to collect pins at Disneyland and I always admired his collection. He bought lanyards and pins for my kids when they were young so they could start trading and collecting. It ended up being something I really enjoyed with them so I started my own collection. It certainly isn't practical in any way, but it is something I enjoy with my children so that is worth something. Right now, I have all my pins on lanyards hanging in my office closet. I do think it would be fun to frame them someday to display.


Postcards - I don't buy as many of these as I used to, but I have quite the collection. They decorated my son's bedroom wall for years. I have a board full of them in my office and I also keep a bunch of them in albums. I still love to buy unique postcards when we travel. They are an inexpensive and easy to store souvenir. They are also great for scrapbooks!

Mugs - This is a newer collection for us and one that my husband actually participates in. We've started buying a mug each time we go on a trip somewhere. We enjoy using them in our daily life and keep them in our kitchen cupboard. They are fun reminders of our journeys and also very useful.


What have I collected in the past?

Painted ponies from New Mexico - I never wanted to collect them all, we just decided it would be fun to buy one whenever we visit my parents in New Mexico. I still enjoy the collection but I don't have it displayed anywhere right now. I'd like to figure out a home for the pretty ponies.

Disney snowglobes. These were fun to collect, but very expensive and hard to display. I boxed a few of them up and a few of them broke. . It seemed like a good idea at the time, but not so much anymore. I finally just got rid of the few that I had.

Movies. I used to buy all the kid movies that came out, mostly because my son really wanted me to. His tastes have changed and we are happy to use Netflix for a lot of our movie needs now. I do still buy movies on iTunes, but not nearly as many as I used to buy on VHS/DVD.

Paper scrapbook supplies. I used to have quite a collection of stickers, paper, and other scrapbook goodies. I still have some of these even though I will probably never use them for what I originally bought them for. Most have gone on to a better place as I've donated them to various charities.


What do you collect? What have you collected? Where are your collections? What do they mean to you, and why do you collect these items? How about other members of your family? Do they collect anything special? Lots of ideas for scrapbooking when you think about these questions.