Packrat or Collector? It’s a very fine line folks.

The thoughts that fill my head constantly astound me.

For instance I used to wonder about people who collect things. I’m very curious about how they got started. Did they wake up one morning and say “hey, I think I’ll start collecting wash basins. I can start with the one grandpa used to feed the chickens with”. Which leads me to wonder how people know what will become collectible.

When I was growing up, my family home was full to the rafters with stuff that would now be very valuable antiques, had they survived. I remember every spring my mom would gather together more of the “old junk” she didn’t want, or couldn’t stand to look at, or dust anymore and my dad would put it in the back of the truck and take it to the back field and dump it in our garbage pit. Today, that pit is chock full of antique picture frames, crockery bowls, even dressers, mirrors, and chairs which were all replaced with modern new items, which of course, fell apart and were carted off to the pit themselves.

But back to my original thought. How many of an item makes it a collection? More than one of course. So does two of anything count as a collection? More than a dozen? or more than one hundred? Do people actually like to receive pieces to add to their collections? My friend Sharon is a collector. She has a menagerie of pigs, frogs and cats, various different types of aliens and holy heck who knows what else. Which is good for me, because it makes buying gifts for her easy – but if I were her I’d want to choose the items for my collection. Just because I thought that wooden cat was cool, perhaps she hated it but was too kind to say anything.

Anyhow I’ve always hoarded little leftover pieces of fabric that I use in my quilts, and save all the snippets that don’t make it into a block and store these little scraps in a drawer in my sewing room. I don’t know why I do it, but it feels necessary to do and I  go and look at my bits and snips  sometimes… But I’ve  never done anything with them and naturally now I cannot remember where most of it came from or where I used it…sigh.  Somedays I thought I might be a bit of  a packrat.  See definition below.  Yup that definitely could be me.

Packrat (Definition)

  1. Also called trade rat, wood rata large, bushy-tailed rodent, Neotoma cinerea, of North America, noted for carrying off small articles to store in its nest.
  2. Informal. a person who saves things that are not needed or used but that may have personal or other value.

This morning I peeped inside the cabinet again, and rather than feeling bewildered, overwhelmed and distressed about the cacophony of fabrics crushed and crowded into my cabinet, I was overcome with  an amazing sense of peace and righteousness. That is when I had an epiphany. 

I did not throw those fabrics into the cabinet all higgely-piggely for no good reason.  I put them there to keep them safe from ever being used or misused, so therefore I must have collected them.   Who knew, all this time, I worried that I was a packrat and would someday have to burrow my way out of my house and it turns out I am a bonafide collector myself.

See what I mean about my thought processes…Have a great day folks.


Author: quiltgranny

I am a quilter, a wife, a mom and grandma. I live here on beautiful Prince Edward Island, Canada. Life is good.

4 thoughts on “Packrat or Collector? It’s a very fine line folks.”

  1. Velda – you never fail to make me smile with your blog. A collector of fabric says so much more than being considered a packrat! It is all about those unfinished projects or visipns I am sure you will have. You know the ones you saw in your head when you purchased that one piece of fabric, you just had to have! Speaking of which, I purchased some lovely fabric in O’leary!
    I love my collection of thimbles that Bronwyn has contributed too… all related to quilting right? Not to mention my teapots… nurishment is essential!

    Enjoy your day! Tea and sewing together sometime soon is a must!

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  2. I think you just might be on to something here. I’m thinking about that big ol’ see through container tucked away from sunlight in my back room and realize, it’s really just a show case of my fabrics 🙂 I think I’m a collector too!

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