What do our collections reveal about us?

"Darling, I don't mind everything hanging from the doorknobs. I'd just love a space where I could put a coffee cup down."

BBC Radio Producer Simon Crowe said recently to his wife, fashion stylist Lucinda Chambers, who collects pottery, among other things. -Living Etc., May 2009

Matchbook collection/Country Home

It occurs to me that our collections reveal our obsessions.

I think this as I slowly make my way around our house in a somewhat fruitless attempt to cull our possessions. When you have kids, doing this is practically a necessity because you're constantly acquiring more clothes and toys.

But when you're a collector like me, this kind of process can be problematic. You see, I'm just now realizing I collect just about everything. Notebooks, elephants, Mexican arts and crafts, folk art, letters, magnets, miniature chairs...whatever caught my fancy at whatever stage I was in life. At one point, I had a drab office workspace that wasn't even a cubicle and I had no walls to hang anything decorative, so I began "decorating" my file cabinets with magnets, collecting them everywhere I went.

But how can you be an artful curator to your collections? The key is to display your collection so that instead of looking like junk, your lovingly collected pieces are a reflection of who you are. I went on a hunt to see how others do it.

A collection of painted portraits/Michael Grimm

Country Living

Sunset Magazine

India Knight's travel souvenirs/Living Etc.

Fifties ceramic collection/Côté Maison

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