When my friend was clearing out her mother’s house a few months ago before lock down she was amazed at some of the things her mother had collected over the years. Some were stashed away in cupboards that my friend didn’t even realise she had. My friend was saddened to find that a lot of the thing her mother had treasured- the tea sets displayed in cabinets etc. - were things she never used and things that nobody wanted any more. She couldn’t sell them on eBay or even give them away. Even some charity shops didn’t want them. My mum is the same. She has a display full of ‘good’ stuff that she never uses. I think that this is quite sad and a pity.
It reminded me of an ex-colleague who retired nearly 20 years ago. She invited me and some other colleagues to drinks and nibbles at her house. When I arrived I was astounded by the amount of ornaments/collectibles she had. Every single space in her moderately small semi was filled to the brim. She had glass cabinets full of Swarovski Crystal and shelves upon shelves of Lladro figurines. They were “ladies” if I recall at the time and they all had different names and it was the fashion to collect them. Different “ladies” came out every so often and some were even “limited edition”. Also, on the walls on the stairs leading up to her bedroom was a massive collection of country cottages. I have always been a minimalist and have never collected anything so I was amazed at the amount of stuff on display.
Coming back to Lladro, I guess it was the thing at the time to collect and to get the new “ladies” that came out every year. My mum is convinced they are worth a lot of money (she collected them too) but once, when I was visiting her at tea time, the television was on in the background. It was an old episode of “Cash in the Attic” and the lady was trying to raise some money for a conservatory. She was so upset when her treasured collection of Lladro was hardly worth what she had paid for them. The valuer lumped them all together at the auction and she was so disappointed to get so little for them. My mum couldn’t believe it either.
To get back to my ex-colleage. She is now in her early 80s and we still meet up from time to time as I sometimes take her shopping as her daughters live a long way off. She often invites me in and her house is exactly the same. I asked her one day if she got enjoyment from all of her “things”. She shrugged her shoulders and replied “not really, it was just something people did”. I found that sad. I believe you should only collect/keep things that totally bring you joy. The only thing I possibly “collect” are my Pandora charms. I never pay Pandora price and always get them from eBay. Some well meaning colleagues for my 60th birthday a couple of years ago got together and between them bought me a rose gold bracelet and three glitter ball charms - “because you don’t have a rose gold one!” The reason I didn’t was because I don’t like rose gold and didn’t want one! I suppose I could have maybe exchanged them but I didn’t want to - as I had built up my collection and didn’t any more. I genuinely appreciated the thought but sold them on eBay for £100. Of course, I didn’t tell them! I also remember my mum buying me a Swarovski Crystal hedgehog years ago. Remember them? They were usually animals and it was the thing to collect them years ago. It was a cute little thing with black eyes and stiff whiskers and my mum said when she gave it to me “you can start your own collection now!”
I suppose, like everything else, Pandora will go out of fashion eventually but I get genuine pleasure and joy every time I wear my bracelets. I have two - one with silver charms and a bangle with beads and have no intention of buying any more. Has anyone collected things over the years that they get genuine pleasure from or has anyone regretted collecting things just for the sake of it that now stay at the back of a cupboard? Just curious - as I said, I am a minimalist and my house contains no clutter. On the other hand, if your house is full of stuff you genuinely love, then that’s different. Horses for courses.
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