Time and again I have read articles expounding on the virtues of getting rid of clutter, letting go of mementos, and how good it will feel to be able to keep your space open and clear. I also have read many articles about showcasing the things you love, so you and others can constantly enjoy, keeping mementos front and center. I run into a paradox here, as I thoroughly enjoy having a clean and clear space, yet also do collect many things and love to have them as conversation starters, and just nice items to view and reminisce on daily. My solutions come in the form of containing the items you wish to keep all in one place, and yes, all completely visible.
Firstly, my personal favorite is a Shadow Box. This is a very easy way to arrange items of many different sizes, shapes, colors, etcetera into one place, and make the whole arrangement harmonious. I personally use a Lucite Box from West Elm.
While not every single element of each item is viewable, the whole piece turns into an exploratorium, a conversation. It also bring back to light many happy memories and adventures all at once every day when I use my dresser. The surface of the box being wide also allows me to place additional items on top, and due to the see-through nature of the box, the visual space it takes up on the dresser is lessened.
A shadow box can also hang on the wall as seen below (the one from Kohl’s is on sale for $14.99!).
I love this idea for adding even more interest to a gallery wall, or if you cannot find that one perfectly sized piece of art for a certain sized space, create a simple shadow box and create your own art (that can also be rotated to feature different things as your mood/taste changes!). These boxes can hold combinations of all your items, or if you have multiple collections, categorized to create a very organized and separated way of display. To explore some great looking shadow boxes just waiting to be filled with your treasures, click here, for those of you who love a good DIY project head over to Pinterest.
If you have more two-dimensional collected items, this wonderful idea I spotted on Apartment Therapy caught my eye. This serves as a perfect commitment free idea to display things, and also creates an art space roommates could equally use, one word, clipboards.
This idea is so versatile and so, so simple. Amazon, Etsy, almost any art supply store all carry endless arrays of clipboards in all different sizes from the classic, to Lucite, to fun patterns. All it takes is one picture hook or picture ledge, and the boards can be placed in any arrangement. If you live with roommates each of you can divide the total number of clipboards in the arrangement equally, creating an ever changing gallery of sorts that blends all of your collected movie tickets, photos, ribbons, dried flowers etcetera together in one cohesive area (and serves as an excellent alternative to the fridge being taken over). This is also a solution I like to think of for practical use as well in your office, keeping all those notes and papers in plain view, but also off the desk.
Lastly, overfill your bookshelves! Whether they are built-ins, or a freestanding piece, a bookshelf is an often overlooked space to hang more art, and utilize as more than just shelves for display OR books. Use them for everything!
A bookcase being such a standard for homes, it often does not catch the eye or draw too much attention. While I have not hung any artwork on my bookcases, I believe it is something that makes a bookcase stand out. While the books themselves can be conversation starters, and hugely personal, adding in the little or big things you have collected outside of literature adds a whole new dimension.
Overall with all three options above, the creation of a specific, contained, display space will help clear out those files of torn out magazine pages and vintage postcards, add in a special place for all those miniature figurines, and simply blend all the things you love together. While utilizing any of the above, certain pieces may not fit, and that is ok! Take it as either a sign to purge some things, or create one box, one file, where the excess can be stored and rotated out when you feel like changing up your display spaces. Hopefully these ideas can help you enjoy the things you collect and eliminate the conundrum (and sometimes stress!) of figuring out where/how.
Jackson Cheevers is a Visual Merchandiser working for an Italian luxury fashion brand, living in San Francisco. Childhood interests in spatial arrangement, home interiors, and fashion translated well into a degree in Visual and Communication Arts. Jackson has experience in home staging, event planning, exhibition coordination, and visual merchandising. Currently, besides a very fast-paced career, Jackson enjoys to explore California, continuously rework his look, and constantly find new exciting ways to decorate his and his friend’s homes.