Do you know the difference between collections and clutter?

Collections can quickly become clutter if they are not maintained properly. Here is a quick guide to help you figure out what you have – collections or clutter.

Collectors look for specific objects like baseball cards, vintage Barbie dolls, snow globes or comic books. Collecting can become a costly hobby, but the end result can be a valuable assortment of items that you will always treasure. Some, of course, are more valuable than others. The collections are usually kept in containers, display cases or cabinets that protect them from sunlight, dust and moisture.

Clutter, on the other hand, is keeping or collecting things that seem to have no value like plastic containers or old newspapers. They may even start as collections and outgrow their cabinet or container. The disorganization can get to the point of impeding movement through the home. Then, it becomes a real problem.

Clutter can get in the way by clogging up closets, cabinets, crawl spaces and other areas of your home. Clutter is messier than a collection and is not usually well cared for, but lying out in the open.

Can you turn some of your clutter into a collection? You betcha!

Create artistic displays with items that you have. Twenty sets of dice that no one ever uses, can become an interesting display if set up nicely. Glass jars, new or recycled, can turn a dusty shelf of seashells into an interesting art object.

An old box of political pins takes up room in your closet, but display them on a framed piece of fabric or corkboard and you will surely get compliments. Your artsy wall hanging will also free up valuable closet space.

When you have no more room and want to stop collecting postcards, videos or glass figurines – it is okay to tell people you no longer want them. There does come a time when enough is enough. How many glass elephants do you really need? When collecting becomes more of a chore and less fun – it is time to give it up.

If you started the collection yourself or with a parent, these objects will probably have more meaning for you. Does your child, grandchild or other family member have an interest in the collection? It could be a meaningful gift to pass it along to someone who can nurture and continue what you started. If no family members have an interest, some collections can be sold. Turn a dust collector into a cash cow and it will be a win-win for you.

It is important to know what is cluttering your home. Once you have that knowledge, you will have an easier time parting with things and making more living space in your home.

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