What Do You Collect?

Do you collect anything? I mean things that you actually like and want to have several of, not the kind of collection that happens when one day you mention you like chickens, so then everyone gives you chicken-themed gifts from that moment on.

I didn’t think I had any collections, but then I looked out at my balcony and realized I have a huge plant collection. Some of the plants have grown so big this summer they look like they’re about to take over.

Orange tree, lime tree, bougainvillea, luffa, tomatoes, peppers, something with purple flowers, mint, thai basil, sweet basil, chives, parsley, oleander… and that’s just the balcony. It doesn’t even include the plants at the front door or the orchids inside.

So yes, I collect plants. I love them, I usually want more, and it’s really obvious.

What do you collect… books? fabric? kitchen stuff? Tell us!
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Hi…
    I love your blog and visit often. :) Thanks for sharing bits of your life with the world. I love your collection of plants….I would have trouble keeping that many alive. LOL. I do however collect sand from beaches we have visited. I started when we lived in Southern CA and knew we had to move back home. So I took pieces of it with me. I store them in pretty bottles, labeled. Now it’s just fun to look at all the differences between all the beaches along the CA coastline.

  2. I didn’t think I collected anything – being the great family purger of all… But in a recent clean up I realized, to my horror, that I have a tin can for everything!!!


    Now I dare not say I collect tins because then every old aunt will be producing hideous tin cans every birthday for the rest of time… SO I like to say I use tin cans. A Lot!!! Have a Great Weekend!

    se7en´s last post…Making a Daily Weather Chart in Se7en Steps…

  3. I collect teapots from wherever I go on my travels. I just love how tea seems to transcend all countries, cultures, and generations all around the world.

    Mary R´s last post…Food Love in Tokyo

    • Valerie R. says:

      I collect teapots too. I just love the shapes and designs. Great idea to collect them on travels…;)

  4. Slackerjo says:

    Cameras, clocks and advertising art.

  5. I was going to say nothing, but I guess we collect plants here too – hubby and I both love citrus and have quite the collection of different varieties going. I think it will be another year before we can eat from them, so I am getting impatient!

    Emily@remodelingthislife´s last post…Slipping Away

  6. Deanna L says:

    I love your blog! Your plants look great I always look forward to your posts. Thanks!

  7. Would you believe – food? It’s probably a leftover from my upbringing, but if the pantry and chest freezer aren’t full, I get really antsy.

    Emily´s last post…Homeschool – The Rebuttals

  8. oh, someone asked me this recently and i thought, “nothing.”

    but then i realized that when i go to the thrift shop i always look for a clever buttons (the kind we pin to a jean jacket in 1985). they adorn a section of my kitchen…

    : )

  9. My wife and I travel a fair amount. We love souvenirs but hate the clutter. So, she buys patches which are unique and take up very little space. And I’ve gone uber-practical. I collect pint glasses and one particular style of coffee mug. Because of the uniformity of the styles I now have matched sets that function well and ensure interesting conversation when we have visitors. The trade off is I don’t have a coffee mug fromevery place we’ve visited. But hunting for them on each trip has become a favorite vacation pastime.

    Jason Rehmus´s last post…"And I can’t handle chains. Whether it’s Walmart thinning out the mom and pops or McDonalds fattening…"

  10. Books! Even though I’ve prohibited myself from buying them for now, I end up having 20 or so checked out from the library at a time. I have a very cluttered dining room table and nightstand!

    • I am a library junkie! I don’t buy books anymore either. I bring a big bag to the library and my family of five shops! Fun thing is that I never have to say “no” at the library.

      Lauri V.´s last post…Today is the day.

  11. Years ago I started purchasing cookbooks at each place we traveled. That was 18 years ago so I have quite the collection. Recently I’ve been thinking that I need to weed them out as I use just a few. My collecting habits have turned to vintage cookbooks within the past few years, especially the 50′s – 70′s.

    Nancy´s last post…Sneak Peek

    • Have you seen Julie and Julia? You’ll love it, especially if you have “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child!

  12. I collect recipes. I’m sure I have hundreds I’ve never made, and maybe never will, but I have them just in case. Luckily my DH is cool with me rarely repeating meals, so I’m slowly working my way through them.

  13. I usually stick to books. I work in a bookstore with an amazing employee discount, so it’s hard to stop myself!

    But, I’ve found a very practical travel souvenir collection to be Christmas ornaments. If you go somewhere really touristy they’re easy to find, but if you go somewhere a little more off the beaten path, then it’s fun to have to hunt for them. Then they’re packed away for most of the year, so they’re not cluttering up the house, but every year as we put them up on the tree we have fun reminiscing about where we’ve been, and I’d imagine that that will just get more fun over the years as we go more places!

  14. I collect a lot of things but my weirdest one is probably the trivets I collect. I collect the wrought iron trivets with the ceramic designs in the middle. They take up an entire wall in my kitchen.

    Stef´s last post…Happy Friday

  15. I collect plants too – especially fruits.

    My husband and I also collect face jugs, and face mugs. They’re unusual, fun to look at, and they always make me smile.

    Sarah´s last post…There’s nothing left

  16. Vintage dresses from thrift stores. Now if I could only find a time to wear them besides Halloween.

    Adele´s last post…Extreme Make-under

  17. I used to collect fabric. Now its down to yarn (to make things in to), plants and books. I too don’t have collections of tchotkes just for the sake of “I am in to cows”.

  18. Nothing! Well, not anymore. Is that just so practical and unromantic of me? In recent years, I collected old books, but have gotten rid of a bunch. I had quite an e-collection of music in itunes but am clearing that out, too. [I hate e-clutter as much as physical clutter!] I have a bunch of spoons I collected from my travels growing up, which my parents continue to buy for me. I was just thinking as I read your post that I should put those in a nice glass jar and let my boys play with them when they want. It would be a good way to create opportunities to share with them stories about my childhood.

    I’m putting a focus on surrounding myself with the things I love most and keeping it down to a few of them. Probably the only collection I could claim is my very small collection of original artwork. But as I’m married to an artist, this is practically a requirement, though, yes.

  19. I, too, was going to sayI collect nothing. But then I looked at my kitchen window sill where I have displayed shells, unsual rocks, a pretty guinea hen feather and two arrowheads . When I travel I love to pick up small things. In my living room I have a dove’s nest that I found on my driveway and a great big seed pod that I found on one of my trips. They are displayed in a pottery pot that my daughter made in college. In winter I display a basket of pine cones and in fall I bring out some dried grasses. I think that natural things give me a peaceful feeling and the price is right.

  20. I collect Mother-of-Pearl compacts and cases,(calling card,cigarette),and some evening clutches.They are so beautiful and are really fun! Our big,clunky purses of today have none of the “elegance” of earlier eras.I also collect tons of other things,too many to mention here….and yes,my house is very cluttered with all my collections!! LOL But they bring me joy!And I have stopped collecting and just enjoy what I have!

  21. When I was younger..I collected fabric, buttons and sewing things, and marbles…as I got older collections have grown…not as much fabric now-but still love to get some once in awhile. ( I’ve given lots of fabric away on the Freecycle group) But now have a small collection of blue glass, Pez , tea pots, little chairs, sock monkeys (one of my favorites), barbie and 8″ doll collection…really like the 8″ ones, and the list could go on…I guess I am a collector. lol Love your blog.

  22. I collect children.

    missy @ its almost naptime´s last post…FRIDAY FAVES – Perfume

  23. Phyllis C says:

    I collect clocks…I have a wall in my kitchen with 24 clocks on it…I think the most unique is one made of tinker toys…I bought it at a garage sale for .50, brought it home, put a battery in it and it works like a charm!

  24. I suppose I could say that I collect yarn, as my stash tends to grow faster than I can knit it! :)

  25. I collect notebooks and journals :)

  26. Books! We have one room that we call the “library” and I am constantly trying to figure out how to get everything on the shelves!!

  27. I collect books. I like all kinds, but love old books on domestic subjects. I buy used books and love the hunt through old book stores. I rarely buy new (It feels like cheating). The nice thing is they are easy to store and to dust.

  28. What a great question! Your balcony looks totally fabulous, great job! I’ll bet you can keep stuff out there year round, too. :)

    At the risk of sounding like a little kid, I collect rocks. We have a jar of rocks and shells and feathers and things from our travels.

    I also collect jars. I am converting most of my kitchen storage to glass but am loathe to spend money on them if I can help it. :)

    liz´s last post…an attempt at batch cooking

  29. No collections but LOVE yours! Beautiful!!! Love your site too! Inspiring!

  30. Some day I’d love to collect money. Not in a weird Indecent Proposal all over the bed kind of way. Just quietly, in the credit union, where I can visit it whenever I want.

    juliet´s last post…The Devil We Know

  31. You name it! I have collected it. Starting out probably 55+ years ago, it was perfume bottles, then I started antiquing with my mother and grandmother and it became anything I thought was pretty. As I grew older it became depression glass, the Open Lace Pattern, and I grew tired of that and started seriously collecting cups and saucers from everywhere (they are all gone now except for a precious few). My taste has changed as I have grown older, but I still thrill for the hunt. I now have a slew of chickens and roosters, shells, buttons, stamps, vintage jewelry, mostly Indian, turquoise, vintage evening bags and various other whatnots that fill two antique secretaries. I have slowed down, but have loved every minute of it. Money and space doesn’t permit it anymore.

  32. I would say birdhouses. I also love handmade cards.

    Rona´s last post…Please Don’t Dump Your Pets!

  33. I collect frog items. Or I should say, I used to. I’m trying to stop people from giving me more of them now. I also collect postcards from the vacation places I’ve been and when I was younger I collected buttons with funny sayings on them. I only have the frogs on display and I’m trying to come up with a good way to display all the postcards and buttons. Any ideas?

  34. Ok – I’m a nerd – I collect erasers. I have since I was a child. I have well over 500… they are all fancy erasers like ones in the shape of the Statue of Liberty, a phone, a pencil… I even ocassionally put them out on display at the Library I work in. Kids think they are pretty cool – but I’m 32.

    Krista´s last post…Friday Favourites

  35. Connie C. says:

    I collect three things now. Have been collecting Curious George items since childhood. I have a collection of thimbles from places we have visited (I can find lots of shot glasses, but not always thimbles) and recently have been collecting the letter C (for my awesome initials) I have a C shaped christmas ornament from Williamsburg, a cookie cutter from Amish country etc.

  36. I’m not really a collector, but when my husband and I went on our first vacation together, I decided we should pick something small to get on every vacation so we didn’t end up bringing up tacky t-shirts or beach-themed art that would look ridiculous once we got it home to Missouri. We ended up settling on Christmas ornaments. I love unpacking my ornaments every year and reminiscing about all of our trips!

    Zarah´s last post…See You at the Fair!

  37. I collect dead people – into genealogy. 40 years worth of work resulting in a half dozen large notebooks with family group charts. A half dozen boxes containing the proof of relationshiops, dates etc. Back to Germany 1700’s.
    Also over a 100 different postcards of the Cincinnati fountain.

  38. Anything Mary Poppins and books. Lots and lots of books. And typewriters. Vintage ones.

    Yikes…I had about 5 other things I could list. I need to stop collecting and start enjoying….

    Cherry Tree Lane´s last post…Happy Weekend!

  39. Karla Whittington says:

    I collect collectible cows, minature schnauzers, I have 4 live ones, and unfortunately husbands.

  40. Oh, dear. The longer I think about this, the more collections of stuff I come up with. Coookbooks, especially Medieval/Arabic/19th Century English and American. . .a china cabinet full of pink lustre ware. . .a little wall display of netsuke. . .and a box of 19th Century ink bottles that I had before I moved into this house, and haven’t found room for here. I need to think about that. They’re all things I love, but there’s just no room for more of them.

  41. I don’t collect anything, but I have collections. :) This is what I tell people to avoid receiving 947 little boxes, ceramics, etc that look like vintage cameras or star-burst clocks.

    I have just a few little cameras on shelves on my photo wall, and two big star burst clocks at the end of my hallway. I will NEVER be done collecting the clocks, but I think I’m done with the cameras unless I find one that actually means something to me (like gramma’s camera or something.)

  42. I’ve been collecting bookmarks for years now…from all over the world.
    I love reading and I believe a beautiful bookmark make my reading even more pleasurable..and they take up very little space! ;)

  43. I collect plants as well. And elongated pennies (the pennies you get from machines in tourist areas that are imprinted with an image from that particular site).

    Fern @ Life on the Balcony´s last post…Twitter Updates for 2009-08-07

  44. Books and vintage cameras. I love reading, so the book thing would be fairly obvious I guess. The vintage camera collection started when I was given my grandfathers old Zenit E. With film becoming more obscure I started seeing old cameras everywhere at thrift stores and flea markets. I have over 20 now, half of them are in working order and I do use them. I just don’t know where to keep them, my shelves are filled with books and cameras.

    Satakieli´s last post…On Reading…

  45. Ooh, I collect pens..fountain pens. And plants, especially succulents. And cat figurines. And outsider art. And books..I LOVE books. And handmade one-of-a-kind ceramics, like mugs and bowls. Oh my, this seems rather obsessive-compulsive, doesn’t it? Oh well :} C’est la vie!

  46. I am behind on my blog reading so I just saw this in my Google Reader — I am a book girl for sure! There are books everywhere! :)

    Sara´s last post…Show us your LIFE Friday: Wedding Reception and Honeymoon Addition

  47. Well, I used to collect barf bags from various airlines. I don’t know what happened to my collection.

    Now, though, I have a considerably large stash of glass jars. Perfect for making kefir, storing nuts and seeds and beans, and displaying fresh-cut flowers. I do have a number of empty ones adorning my shelves, too.

    I really miss my barf bags.

    mrs boo radley´s last post…A Midsummer Day’s Snack

  48. Well, I do not collect such interesting things such as erasers or barf bags, but I do collect 19th C reproduction children’s pop up books (can’t afford the real ones) and Sheffield porcelain handled serving pieces – got over 100 now. Most favorite piece is the double-sided silver plate punch ladle with a pale blue and white floral design and gold filigree. ( go- ebay!)
    I do like your balcony and the beautifully healthy plants though – so clean and inviting!

    LilyOake´s last post…Reupholstering and Gilding

  49. I have a collection of Glass Paperweights, some being from the start of their introduction circa 1850′s. Right now I am not actively adding to my collection as they do not seem to fit in too well with young boys and a couple large dogs running about!

    Also I collect Santa themed Christmas ornaments, the glass type with a vintage feel. Shhhh don’t tell anyone, I like to find them all on my own.

    mary b´s last post…Wordless Wednesday: Flashback to 1967

  50. I collect teacups and saucers. My great grandmother started my collection and love for teacups when I was 10 years old. I love the beauty of all the different teacups. To me, they are little works of art. And, I use my collection when I host Victoria Teas. It is a little part of a history that seems to be lost.

    Diann´s last post…A post from "Being Frugal"

  51. Karen in NC says:

    I collect Christmas ornaments – and I often make them out of random items from travels, including laminated (yea Xyron!) paper items. It helps me keep my house clutter free 11.5 months out of the year, allows me to select silly, fun things without thinking about how it will go with decor and it adds a fun new element to Christmas as I tell my kids and my husband about each ornament and the story behind it! (And as they hunt for their own!) And Rachel – we were inspired by you and ditched the tree- now both of my girls get a wreath, and the family gets one too, and they put their own ornaments on their own wreath and LOVE it! Thanks for the idea!

  52. I have a few useful collections…


    I swore I’d never end up like my folks with more stuff than they know what to do with or worse yet, that they even own it so they go buy more!!!

  53. I collect kitchen towels. We travel a lot and I like to buy them as souveniers (not the ones with obnoxious pics and slogans all over them, but nice ones with beautiful designs). I love that they are easy to transport and I get to use them every day. I have amassed quite a wonderful array of them.

    Cynthia´s last post…Please don’t give up on me…

  54. After getting out some fabric last night, I think I collect fabric. I don’t have a plan for it but buy because it’s pretty! I do buy on sale and don’t have *that* much compared to others I’m sure. LOL

    Tsoniki Crazy Bull´s last post…Changing Goals

  55. I can’t believe that is your balcony. All your plants are gorgeous! You have a serious green thumb! Collect away!

    Lauri V.´s last post…Today is the day.

  56. Count me in on the Christmas ornaments picked up on vacation. So much better to have a souvenir you enjoy each year for a few weeks adn then pack it away. For many years we’ve also picked up cookbooks when travelling. It’s nice to be able to recreate the dishes we’ve enjoyed on a holiday. If we’re someplace which relies heavily on ingredients we cannot get at home we don’t bother.

    I also have a disturbingly large amount of blue and white china, but mostly it’s useful items that just happen to be decorative when not in use. I display the vases, platters and plates most of the time, but regularly put them into use especially when entertaining. Do I have to count it as a collection if I can actually use the item?!