The Evil Tchotchke That Ate the Small House

The hosier cupboard and dish/microwave/food pantry cupboard are at the end of the living room.

Once upon a time, there was a lady who was a collector.  She started out innocently enough, with a pair of anthropomorphic peach salt and pepper shakers.  They reminded her of her great grandmother’s house, and made her smile.  The next time she was shopping, she saw a 1950’s tablecloth.  “This would go perfectly with my peach shakers,” she said. So, now she was collecting anthropomorphic items as well as vintage table cloths.  Another shopping trip added vintage cookbooks to the collection.  The collecting continued until the lady couldn’t stand having all of the stuff everywhere and whittled her collection down to the items she REALLY loved and got rid of the rest.  The lady was happy with these items and never went collecting again.

Collections…many of us have them, and it is often very difficult to get rid of them when you move to a small house.  Although we have never lived in a large place, I have always had some type of collection.  Each collection started out with one small item and grew to an overwhelming size.  Once they got to this point, I needed a display or shelves to put them on.   This is not very conducive to small living, and I’m very aware of that.  Collections can make a space feel crowded and claustrophobic, but if you manage them, they can add whimsy to your home but not take over.  I’m somewhere in the middle of these two points, but the more I have to clean, the more I want to eliminate.

I have been getting some comments from EEK (Elimination of Everything Klan)~ Ron interjects “or the VOCG (Void of Color Group) or VOSPO (Vacuum of Spatial Personality Organization)~ just kidding there are no such groups~but there are some who have commented on social media that they can’t believe that I have so much stuff or clutter.  I’m not going to defend my possessions (I mean–come on–look at those peachy faces up there, and tell me you did not smile!)  I am still in the process of narrowing down my collections, and I will do some of that on this blog so that those of you collectors who want to start downsizing can maybe get a few tips.  I do not believe you need to get rid of everything and have a sterile and stark existence devoid of personality, but as some on social media kindly added – “to each her own!” ; )

Collecting can be exciting at first – to make those serendipitous finds at a flea market or second hand store can be a high, a real rush. It was like a treasure hunt for me; but as I collected more and more, it became a burden.  That is when the fun stops, and you need to find another collection, Ron says “NO!” or you need to realize that collections aren’t bringing you happiness.  Now, don’t get me wrong; I believe we need fun and color in our lives. However, collections can take over and actually cause disharmony instead of the original intention of creating happiness.

If you have a collection, don’t get rid of it, just look to see what you can eliminate to make your collections more manageable. It’s not about changing your life completely, it’s about making your small space reflect you and your personality, within the space that you have. After all, no one is getting my Mary collection; it’s divine! ; )

Ron interjects “Sue’s Mary collection has nothing to do with religion – they are more a symbol of calming and peace for her – I like them too, and there are only  5 total in special places!”

9 thoughts on “The Evil Tchotchke That Ate the Small House

  1. Hi Sue. I shop Goodwill, thrift stores and yes I slam on brakes for estate and garage sales.
    I have started saying a new mantra….”I am Not the keeper of all things vintage. ”
    I want to rescue all cute vintage Kitchen stuff. It breaks my heart that some sweet woman, dusted, cleaned and adored her stuff for ever….and her children or family members just chunk it out:-(
    We have been downsized from 3,500 feet home to a 40 ft rv for. 4 yrs now. I love my cute little faces of bakers and animals and fruits . They make me smile. And living this way…well you need to smile a lot!!
    I follow little homes…always so minimal. I would be miserable. So your house and collections…they touched my little house living soul !! Thank you for sharing and being honest.

  2. I agree with you….the older I get, the less I want (and the less I want to clean it!). What is it that makes us feel that way? I remember my Grandma’s house was filled with all sorts of treasurers. She never worried about having too much “stuff”. Maybe I’m just lazy???

    1. Hi, Paula–yes, those things in our Grandmas’ houses usually bring good memories. That’s often one reason we collect–“I remember that when I was a child, so I want one in my house to remember that feeling.” That can get us into a collector’s nightmare. : ) Sometimes it takes a while to get out of that mindset.

  3. Yes to downsizing in small chunks and over time. I started the process with a few basement boxes of “keepsakes.” I opened those first boxes and discovered neatly stacked broken pine boards from our children’s Tae Kwon Do training days, each board labeled in permanent marker with the child’s name, the test date, the type of foot or hand break.
    I lined them up and took photos. Then the children (adults now) dropped them into the fire-pit. We have the memories forever, and digital details for whoever is interested. A digital camera and a scanner can help the process of letting go without having to feel like you’ll never see it again.
    P.S. I think your house is lovely. I especially like the easy chairs covered with comfy quilts and your slippers neatly placed nearby.

    1. : ) thanks–what a lovely story–I think that’s a perfect idea. I may do that with my collections in the future; for now, they make me smile every day. I’ve downsized to the ones I really LOVE and haven’t added to them in a long time, and I won’t. I continue to look at the things I have and assess them constantly. The older I get, the more I want less. Thanks so much for sharing your story.
      PS–the slippers aren’t always like that–they were posing for the camera ; )
      Take care,

  4. Oh, sue, it’s so hard to get rid of carefully chosen items. I will never b down to the. Tiny house stage, but I want breathing space around furniture and pictures. And inside, I’m a minimalist. But I admire your “traveling lighter” life. Happy painting!

    1. Hi, Lee.
      Thanks 🙂 It is difficult to downsize. There are many things I really love, but when I think about them, I could do without almost everything I have. I could fit what I need in a suitcase. Maybe one day we’ll do that and take off into the sunset in a tiny trailer, but for now, we are here in our small house, and I still have those things around me. They are not in our way, but they need cleaned. The older I get, the less I want to do chores. ; ) So, I’m sure I’ll rethink those things in the future. I am a work in progress, though. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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