Are you Collecting or Collecting Dust?

Are you collecting or collecting dust? That is what every vintage lover must ask themselves.

collecting vintage

I love true confessions.  That’s why I feel the need to admit, I love stuff!  Over the years, I have collected a lot of stuff. What can I say, I have an addictive personality. But there are some guidelines I follow to keep my finds looking more like a collection and less like dust collectors.



collecting vintage

Buy what you love

First (and I cannot say this enough cause some people just don’t listen and you know who you are), buy what you LOVE!  If you see something that makes your heart sing, buy it.  Who wants to waste time staring at stuff they aren’t passionate about?  So buy what makes you happy, cause life is short and you can’t take it with you so you should just enjoy it now.  And yes, if you LOVE it, you will find a place for it.  Soon you might have three of something and that is what I call ‘the beginning to a collection’.  You probably are a collector right now and don’t even know it.

collecting ironstone


Buy what is useful

Second, if you are afraid to have too much ‘random stuff’, then buy what is useful.  I love to collect things that have a purpose, such as; baskets and suitcases for storage, dishes and trays that actually get used. Vintage jewelry and accessories that add personal style, jars, containers, vintage tablecloths or anything else that serves a purpose and is ‘more than a pretty face’. And I love collecting ironstone.

collecting vintage with Bungalow 47


Collections to use

I have collected milk glass since I got my first piece at the age of 14 from my grandmother.  Since then I have amassed a huge collection that I have found piece by piece, from coast to coast.  We use it everyday, and yes, when my kids were younger I let them use it too.  When their friends would ask for a drink, I would let them know they could choose any glass they wanted. They didn’t understand why I didn’t have plastic cups. But it was always the teenage boys that would use the prettiest milk glass goblets to drink from!  That still cracks me up!  

Even now, when my adult children come home, my son picks the garnet red pedestal goblets that were his grandmother’s.  Each child has their favorites and I love that they are being used and loved.  And just because I know what you are thinking, NO I’m not worried about breakage.  Over the years with all of the kids and all of the parties we have had, I have only had two glasses get broken.  Basically that gave me an excuse to hunt for their replacements (the glasses, not the kids!).

vintage corbels


Edit your collections

Third, don’t be afraid to edit as your collection grows.  Over time you can become more discerning as to what you add to the collection.  You will know more about what you truly like and what works for your lifestyle and home.  This is a great time to pass on a few items to someone starting their own collection, or sell extras on ebay. Just because you have it now doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever.

I have given flowers in pretty vases to be kept and enjoyed, split a collection of bowls with my newly married daughter (I have since found more to replace those given), and put together impromptu gifts in pretty jars.  After all, they are just things and things were always meant to be shared!

milk glass


Lastly, when displaying items, they will have more visual impact as a group.  Spreading items all around a room reduces their collective power, so pull items into one spot and like magic, you will have a conversation starter and a focal point.  Place items from one color scheme together for an even bigger WOW factor, and display those collections where you can get to them so they will be used.  

collecting metal picnic baskets

This also allows you to rationalize buying more since you are now a serious collector and not just someone hoarding crap that’s collecting dust.  Well, at least, that’s what we tell ourselves! For more tips on collecting vintage, read this. 

Be Happy, Jill


  1. Bravo! I am kinda over pink depression glass, but my daughter loves it. Lucky her. Milk glass rules

  2. Thanks for this post. It has made me feel good about the things that I love and okay to have my special collections. I love the idea of sharing items from my collections with others.

  3. Your milk glass collection is amazing! I recently started collecting and have been looking everywhere for milk glass dinner plates (not the harvest grape pattern). If you ever decide to let go of any of your milk glass pieces, please let me know. Like you, we also use our milk glass collection daily!

  4. Thanks for sharing your ideas and thoughts…it gets my wheels to turning…

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