Friday, October 16, 2009

“Packed Away” Because It’s So Special


Here is a question for all of you:

Do you keep things packed away “because they are so special??”

For years Mom, and I, used to keep our very special things carefully packed away. I mean, they were special, so we didn’t want them to get damaged or messed up. Carefully stashed, nice and neat, free from getting dirty or tainted or stained or dusty.


Then one day I realized:

When would we get to enjoy these special things if they were kept packed away? What special, special occasion might ever happen to warrant these special things being brought out of their special safe place?


I suppose there are some good reasons to keep things packed. In case of a fire or flood, you never know when you have to grab and run.


Or to pass them on to children or relatives. Will they love and cherish them, do you think?

I have no kids, so it’s not like I need to “keep them special” for them.

So I decided to start enjoying as many of the “special things” as I can.


But here is another downside. When you start pulling stuff out to “enjoy it”, it starts to take up a lot of surface space:


And then it grows on beds.


And more beds.


And it starts to spread on the floor:


I’m the kind of person who prefers one item on a table, streamline, slick, zero clutter.

I’m allowing the pink room to be the special things display room, but it’s spreading already.

Now I love my stuff, and all those “special things”, but I appeal to all of you:

Do you enjoy your stuff?

And then…

How do you deal with your stuff?


  1. u're so funny i can totally relate, this is what i do... i rotate items with each season, and every item does not always come out every season, i match color and theme and it has "spread" from just my hutch to slowly taking over the whole house. i keep the rest stashed & labeled and it's like seeing an old friend when the items come out again!

  2. A good post and a good question!

    I'm a firm believer in displaying stuff. If I own it, it's because I enjoy doing so, but part of my further enjoyment comes from being able to interact with it -- even if that means just being able to see it. I also like having other people see it, whatever it is.

    Obviously, this can pose problems, as you've outlined in your post... It's especially trick for me since I live in a small NYC apartment and don't have multiple rooms in which to display things.

    When I started collecting, I decided to only buy the stuff I really love. If I think something's cool, if I think it looks good, but if it doesn't really speak to me, I let it go. It leaves both room and funds available for the toys or ephemera that I find really important.

    This obviously takes a lot of discipline -- something I'm not known for! So of course, that doesn't really stop me from diverging from the path and acquiring more stuff than I can comfortably display. Consequently, I've become really good at purging my collection every few months. I usually wait until there's a dire need for money -- for instance, there's a great vintage robot and ray gun auction coming up. I decided that the quickest way to rais capital was to sell of my vintage space walkie talkie sets. They're all awesome toys, but they don't speak to me the way the robots and ray guns do -- so they went on the block. Hello cash, and hello shelf space!

    I grow pretty attached to the toys in my collection, no doubt about it, and as they say, breaking up can be hard to do. But when the time comes, I can usually look around my toy room and feel it in my guts -- that piece stays, that piece goes, and so on. I've only regretted a single sale in the past, and I ended up replacing the toy with a better example a couple years later, so even that worked out in the end!

  3. I so GET this. I'm actually bringing a box of treasures to a family members home tomorrow; where they can be displayed safely and not wasted in a box on a shelf in a closet.


    Very good suggestions, I appreciate!

    Will have to contemplate on this issue. Maybe a combination of both getting rid of more "things", and rotating things in and out of storage/boxes.

  5. i do a lot of ebay and the BEST feeling is hearing from a buyer about how THRILLED they are with something that has been hidden away at your home unappreciated ...

  6. When I reached a certain age, I had to hunt and gather. It was hard to find old stuff any more, due to ebay mania, and the competition. I save things. They pile up, get packed, taken out, sold, and/or kept. I can talk myself into buying or not. I have to be better organised, and choose my goodies more carefully. Clear/any colored lucite anything with embedded glitter ? I have no control. Must have. Pinkaholic on top of it all. Vintage corsages ? No control. And I am not alone in my passions. That's the best part.

  7. Ha ha, yes, there are things I allow myself to be out of control of...

  8. Such a good question!!! So frustrating trying to solve it. I now have 7 of the largest plastic storage containers that contain my halloween collection. I collected it over just 3 years at the end of availability of vintage Beistle and the end of the good vintage folk art from our contemporary folk artists. I was obsessed. I am done now. The very sad problem is that I am the only one of a family of three who enjoys it. Aaaaaagh! I rotate but it isn't enough. I sell some. It isn't enough. When do I get to enjoy it? I have finally stopped calling it a collection and started calling it a museum without funding! One day soon I will have to give my collection up and hopefully to others who will cherish it as much as I do. One option for space problems might be to collect images for scrapebooks rather than the 3-D object itself. I now find this satisfying, much less expensive, I still get to see it often, I'm still saving the image for posterity, and, I only have to pay for ink or film. I am most interested in the imagery and graphics and I can still preserve that through photos. Still.......This collection owns me, and I don't like being owned. Thank you for asking this question. We need a forum for collectors maybe. Wishing you the best, and thank you for showing the old halloween decorations. I have many of them. They're just delightful as is your site. Betty.