COLLECTING 101: Ready, Set, Click!

As promised, I’m back with ideas for starting collections that complement your home’s interior, complete with links to vintage items for sale in my Etsy store. Just click on the photos to go to the listing in my store for more information.

First up, my latest fave: Colored cordial and liqueur glasses

The lovely mismatched set pictured above is, unfortunately, sold out, but I’m always on the lookout for these diminutive beauties. See how beautifully they populate a window sash or sill and color the light coming in.

Still available are these two sets–a taller lot of three in varying jewel tones and a short set of four in pastel tones…

They’d look great mixed together–short, tall, short, tall, short.

An all-time favorite: brass candleholders

Candleholders of ALL kinds are phenomenally sculptural. But there are so many choices, picking a material helps narrow, and thus focus, your collecting efforts.

I seldom pass up brass whenever I’m thrifting because it never goes out of style and always sells. Here’s what’s available right now:

I used to find all things brass at bargain prices, but even in thrift shops prices are ramping up. My prices must increase accordingly.

More brass, but boxes this time

These sweet brass boxes, most made in India, were originally used to confine a pet cricket, grasshopper or locust. Weird, right? Well, think incense and tea caddies, too. They look gorgeous grouped on trays, tabletops and shelves and can also be used for air plants, as shown here, or to store jewelry and other treasures–perhaps a miniature shell or polished rock collection!

Another great thing about these boxes? They come is so many shapes and sizes, and you can still find them at decent prices. Here’s what I have on hand presently:

In fact, boxes in general make for a fun collection…

You can buy what tugs at your heartstrings or focus on a particular material. There’s lots to choose from besides brass, but here are a few I have on offer to get you thinking about what appeals to you most:

The top row features enameled boxes, including cloisonne (middle), while the middle row features inlaid boxes of bamboo (left) and wood. The third row shows off some different materials, including shell, leatherette, and silverplate (with a Bakelite interior, no less).

I’m particularly drawn to boxes, so these are only a few of what I have for sale. Be sure to browse around my different store “departments” to see them all.

Stock up on your spirit animal

YOURS may be an actual animal, as is mine (CATS, of course!), or mythical, like the foo dogs shown above. Although I buy foo dogs to re-sell whenever I can find them at a reasonable price, I don’t currently have any in stock.

I do, however, have a few ELEPHANTS. Collect these endangered creatures for their wisdom, as well as to reclaim them from their use as a political party symbol. Here’s my current stock:

Other animal collectibles represented in my online menagerie include:

Some of these animal items are collection cross-pollinators. For instance…

  • The bird (top row, left) and the cow (top row, right) are by specific makers (Stangl and M. A. Hadley, respectively), if you prefer to limit your collection in that way.
  • The duck (top row, middle) is cloisonne, if you choose to collect that particular art form, and originally was a box LID, though the base is lost.
  • The turtle (middle row, left) is also a trinket box.
  • The blue pups (middle row, right) are salt and pepper shakers, a once ubiquitous item many people now collect.
  • The mythical lion-type beast (bottom row, left) is a teapot–another formerly commonplace item now collectible. (Though good luck to anyone who attempts to actually use this pot!)
  • The lamb (bottom row, right) is a small planter.

And finally, my personal favorite, fat lava vases

The three vases on the right, as well as the bird (which is also a vase) are from my personal collection of German midcentury modern pottery (a.k.a., fat lava) and not for sale. But no worries, as I have plenty more bought expressly to re-sell.

This is just a sampling:

Check out my full stock of this style of pottery from the 1950s, 60s and 70s in the “Mid Mod Mad” section of my store.

As you collect, beware the hoarder!

Too much of anything makes you a hoarder, whether it’s beautiful and functional…

…or used and useless, no matter how well it’s displayed.

Keep your items in check, in budget, and well-integrated into your home.

You do this by allowing your collection to evolve. As you add and upgrade, sell off a few lower-value or lesser-loved items on online sites like Etsy, ebay, Everything But the House, Chairish, etc. Your partner and your house will thank you.

If you want more…

Review my previous “Collecting 101” posts:

You also might enjoy these books on collecting (please note, affiliate links) and how to use collections in your home’s decor:


Stay tuned for posts on buying vintage versus new, as well as a quiz to help you hone in on what collectibles suit you. And don’t forget to shop BoHo Home by Susan on both Etsy and ebay. You’ll find some of the same things, as well as items exclusively listed on one or the other.

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