A constant battle in our home is the accumulation of ‘stuff’. I am the big bad wolf when it comes to keeping things, and if something gets thrown out everyone knows it was me! After moving house many times over the past 10 or so years, life and its associated belongings get considerably pared down. Funnily enough, I find it really difficult to eliminate the unnecessary and sometimes experience little pangs of guilt, fear or nostalgia after giving items away…worrying that I have let go of something with true emotional significance. I don’t think I ever have…possibly my children would disagree. I’m giving an impression that we live a streamlined, minimalistic existence..not so! Despite my continued efforts there’s still plenty of ‘stuff’/ treasured possessions everywhere.
Recently, we had a beautiful day out at Snowshill Manor, a stunning National Trust property. There is always a fantastic history around each of the National Trust properties, and this one didn’t disappoint! Although it may have unconsciously fuelled their desire to collect even more things!?
The most recent owner, Charles Paget Wade, an avid collector from age 7 amassed over 22,000 objects linked by their distinct craftsmanship. He became so well known for his collections, that people travelled to him from far and wide to sell him their wares. He was so dedicated to his collections, that they took up main residence in his house, whilst he resided in a small cottage in the garden. When guests came to visit he would entertain them in the main house and show them around his collections throughout the main house.
So why do we collect things? There are many theories behind this…an obsession with a particular range of items, a feeling of comfort, a feeling of value through owning things, or because they are connected to someone or something famous which we admire. Whilst growing up, I had my own collection of thimbles. I would buy one from places I visited or people would buy them as a gift from places they had visited. Some were intricate or individual in design and some were just a reminder of places I had been (I actually still have them in a shoe box somewhere, one of the things that has stayed with me on all our travels). I don’t collect them anymore, but for me it was definitely a way to feel connected to the places and memories and I had made on trips and holidays. Now my collection is a collection of memories through photographs and mini films, as I try to hold onto the ever fleeting moments of my children as they grow. Luckily, reminiscing is a favourite past time of theirs. I often hear them saying ‘do you remember when…?’. They already have a treasured set of memories that they enjoy replaying and sharing as the adventures they have experienced so far, with many more to come in the future!