Organizing Collectibles

Tips on Organizing Collectibles

Even professional organizers don’t often begrudge collectors displaying their vast collections. Whether you collect thimbles, spoons, plates, dolls, Disney items, or anything else, you’ve probably spent years building your collection.

The Internet has allowed people to add pieces to their collection that might have been otherwise unavailable. Your collection, therefore, is probably more extensive than ever.

The small area or room where you once stored your smaller collection may now be cluttered, and you need a solution to display your collection in a more organized way.

How To Organize Your Collections

Consider the Dust Factor

The whole point of displaying your collection is to make you smile. It may add to your home decor and be pleasant for other people to look at, but the main purpose is to bring you enjoyment.

If your collection of treasured knick knacks has become disorganized and always needs dusting, it might have turned into a constant dread in your mind. Instead of looking at things you love and brightening your mood, you are plagued with another housekeeping chore, and looking at your collection is a reminder that you’re putting off that job.

The first step, therefore, in organizing your collection, is to concentrate on arrangements that will require less cleaning and dusting.

Display Shelves and Cases

You can dust less and better protect your collection by displaying it in a closed box, case, or shelf unit.

If you have the space, consider investing in a curio cabinet or tabletop glass display case that you can set on a shelf. Not only will such a display keep your collection safer and cut down on your dusting, but it will also make your collection look better.

Items displayed in shelf units or display boxes can be beautifully lit and positioned in ways that will make your display appear more elegant.

If display cases aren’t convenient for your particular collection, a high quality, ostrich feather duster works well to get into small spaces.

If your collectibles are smaller and easily knocked over by a feather duster, try using museum putty to stick them in place on shelves. When you’re no longer afraid of breaking your items, dusting with a feather duster is much faster.

Better Arrangement of Your Collection

If your collection of knick knacks has been in the same area for years, it probably no longer makes you smile. You lovingly arranged it at one point, and as you’ve obtained additional items, you’ve simply shoved them where they will fit.

After cleaning the area, you probably look upon your collection with satisfaction, but more from congratulating yourself on a good cleaning job instead of genuine appreciation of the items. Changing the style and maybe even the location of your arrangement will bring back the appreciation you once had.

You might consider one or more of the following suggestions:

  • Store half of the items (or more, depending on the size of your collection) in a safe place and only display some of the items at a time. If you replace those items with a portion of your stored collection each season, the items will feel new to you again. You’re likely to see pieces of your collection that you completely forgot you had.
  • Divide your collectibles into two areas. This will allow more space for your collection to be displayed, and it will also bring symmetry to a room or area. For example, your plate collection would look beautiful spread on two shelves on each side of the fireplace. If your bed is centered on a wall, corner shelves on either side could display your doll collection or the Beanie Baby collection that you just can’t give up.
  • For a dramatic display of your collection, try arranging shadowboxes on an entire wall in a pleasing geometric pattern.
  • If you collect plates, consider hanging them near the ceiling spaced out like a wallpaper border in your kitchen or dining room.
  • Get creative. Display your collectibles of antique eyeglasses in an open trunk arranged among old books. Hang your political button collection on window panels to display them.

Collectables Yet to Be Displayed

Perhaps you have a collection of photographs, T-shirts, or some other items that you couldn’t figure out how to display in a way that would fit with your decor. Hidden collections will never make you smile, so you should figure out a way to display at least a portion of your collection.

Photo printers are more advanced than ever and most drugstores offer do-it-yourself enlarging and copying of pictures, so you can keep your originals in an album and display the copies.

You can even scan your T-shirts, movie ticket stubs, or performance art programs to put the images on display.

  • Instead of hanging photos, hang shelves, and lean framed photos for a different look (and easy change).
  • Use wallpaper paste to cover a wall with a paper collection (or copies)
  • Transfer photos onto fabric or use your T-shirt collection to make a quilt. You don’t have to use it – you can hang it from a quilt rack.
  • Cover a table with photographs underneath a piece of glass cut to fit the tabletop.
  • Make a shadowbox display for each place you’ve visited. Include souvenirs you got on the trip, a picture or two of you and the scenery, and appropriate decorations like shells or sunglasses for beach destinations, golf balls for golf vacations, a craft snowman with miniature skis for ski vacations, etc.

Moving On: Starting a New Collection Of Knick Knacks

Maybe you’ve inadvertently started a new collection or you have something in mind you’d like to collect.

Before you start a new collection, you should seriously consider getting rid of an old one.

If your old collection has become more like furniture than something you truly enjoy looking at, it’s time to part with it. Most collectors have a packrat tendency, so it’s natural for you to have a knee-jerk reaction to hold onto your collection out of habit.

To help you feel more comfortable with the idea of moving on, think about other decorative elements that can go where you collection is now. Be honest with yourself – if you’ve outgrown your Mickey Mouse collection or you’re waiting for Beanie Babies to become incredibly valuable again, be realistic about it.

Collections often sell for more as a group on eBay, and you can use the money to begin your new collection.

Choose something that makes you laugh or smile every time you see it in a store or catalog instead of choosing what’s popular or trendy at the time.

Don’t buy a whole collection at once. Your already large collection will get out of hand before you know it. Spread out the pleasure by purchasing one item at a time.

Start out organized by purchasing a display case ahead of time. It’s much more enjoyable to fill the case up gradually.