Why do we collect things? | News, Sports, Jobs


Darby Hinkley


When I was young, I picked up rocks when we went camping. I would look for agates on the shore of Lake Superior. They were like gems to me, and I guess they are technically gems.

Now the only thing I collect is jewelry, much to my husband’s chagrin. Well, he plays along, although I’m sure he doesn’t know the difference between a marquis cut and a princess cut. He’s smart, though. He just takes me to the jewelry store and lets me choose something, which satisfies my addiction for both jewelry and shopping. And my husband’s attention, so that’s the trifecta of gratification.

I recently sorted through some of my items to find that I had way more costume jewelry than I could ever want or wear, and a lot of it was outdated or just not to my liking.

So I put it in a bag and gave it to a friend who also loves jewelry. I still have too many, but I love most and wear most, and I certainly don’t get rid of sentimental pieces or my fine jewelry, like sterling silver, diamonds, gemstones, and gold.

But I keep collecting it, not just to be boxed and forgotten, but to be worn to complete whatever outfit I fancy that day. For me, jewelry is practical collectibles. To some I’m sure it seems superfluous, but it’s essential to me. A day without earrings is a day half lived.

Do you collect anything? Have you ever thought about why you collect it? Collecting items gives us purpose. Some collect coins, some collect baseball cards, some collect postcards. You can collect almost anything. Well, not bones. Don’t pick up bones. It’s weird.

My grandmother collects rabbits. We call her Grandma Rabbit. She also collects Elvis memorabilia. His house is like a rabbit and an Elvis museum. I think figurines, stuffed animals and wall hangings comfort her.

Moreover, it is a hobby to collect something. It’s nice to be on a treasure hunt in an antique store, looking for the object that sings to you. For me, it could be this antique emerald ring. For Grandma Bunny, it could be a glass bunny. If we ever stumble upon an Elvis figurine holding a baby bunny, no price could be too high. Well, that’s just a figure of speech. Under $50 would be acceptable for such a perfectly odd piece.

At some point I decided that I was collecting ceramic teapots. I think I had about six, all in different colors and patterns. Then I realized that I didn’t have the space or the showcase to put them. So I reluctantly got rid of them, but I saw myself going back to that in the future.

But I’m really mesmerized by antique glassware. I’m just also pretty clumsy. Grace is far from my middle name. Once a friend gave me a beautiful glass fairy ornament, and while unwrapping it, I immediately dropped it and one of its wings broke off. I cried. I’m so clumsy! That was years and years ago, so maybe I’m more graceful now and could handle delicate glass objects with more care? (Maybe not).

Come to think of it, our family collects Christmas decorations. We go to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland every year and three of us choose one each. Each time, we wonder how we are going to put more ornaments on the tree, but, each time, we succeed. And it gets better every year!

Whatever you collect, keep going. If it makes you happy and fun, don’t let anyone tell you it’s a waste of time or that your precious finds are “junk.” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if you see beauty in your collection, it fulfills a need within you.

If you decide you’re ready to drop something, that’s your decision.

If you want to keep it because it brings you joy, then rejoice.

Surround yourself with things that make you happy.

To talk about your collection of unusual, weird, but not scary, email [email protected] or call Darby Hinkley at 989-358-5691.



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