Bags and shoes and jewelry. Oh my! Here’s how to tame the masses
Most of us can’t claim our homes to be museums, despite the various collections they house. Filling our lives with what we love most, we often amass things in multiples: bags, books, shoes, sheets, bowls, blankets. We don’t need sneakers in spades, yet we own 15 pairs. The drawer overflows with T-shirts, yet we purchase another. If one is good, wouldn’t more be better? But with each purchase, the challenges grow: Where to put it? How to find it? Will we even remember we have it if we can’t see it?
Best known for her handbags, designer Clare Vivier unsurprisingly collects accessories. Her always-evolving jewelry stash lives in a multilevel drawer organizer, where compartments in varying sizes allow Vivier to quickly scan her pieces and find exactly what she needs.
Whether it’s large-scale art, tiny furniture, or infinity scarves, what we buy on repeat reveals traits about us: our obsessions, interests, desires, and style. It’s less about need and more about fulfillment—what we collect represents a preservation of the past. As young children, we form emotional bonds with security objects such as blankets and pacifiers because they provide a sense of identity and belonging. According to psychologist Carl Jung, “We need to project ourselves into the things around us. My self is not conﬁned to my body. It extends into all the things I have made and all the things around me.” We connect to and find happiness in our things; they do more than just clothe or accessorize us.
Therefore, how we live with them becomes as important as the items themselves. Carelessly amassed, things that conjure joy can leave us crippled, overwhelming both our physical and mental capacities. But with thoughtful organization—shelves devoted to shoes of all kinds, cubbies for handbags big and small, divided drawers for jewelry ranging from rings to earrings to bracelets—we enhance their meaning by simplifying their presence. Fritz Karch, coauthor of Collected: Living with the Things You Love, recommends that we “cluster and mass things all together in one location for stronger impact.” With it all right in front of our faces, we’re emotionally satisfied—we can see it all. But, more so, it’s practical: what’s the point of collecting things if you can’t easily find them?
In this boutique-like master closet, glass doors protect precious cargo—including Hermès Birkins—while inlaid strip lights cast a subtle spotlight.
–CC design consultant: Jin White
A collection of 200 pairs of shoes deserves to be showcased and admired. Here, softly lit white shelves make these colorful, wearable works of art pop.
–CC design consultant: Melanie Baudot
They may be inanimate, but our collections are important to us. They’re proof of our time here on earth, of our diligent work to hunt and gather what we love most. No, we don’t need more sneakers, but they make us happy, so we add them to the arsenal. We find the spot on the shelf they’ll sit from here on forward, always in sight, always accessible. Because when we collect with intention and store with purpose, our many items in many multiples become as manageable as they are meaningful. And that’s a vision—and joy—to behold.
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