Do You Love Collecting | Maine Country Home

Why is it that some people seem to have gorgeous collections that they can display in their home, and others just a hodgepodge that never seems to come together? To keep you from being in the hodgepodgey category here are five tips to help you have the gorgeous collections you’ve always dreamed of.

At The Maine Country Home we have some experience in collecting. Over our lifetime we have collected all sorts of things and made our share of mistakes. It happens.

In our house the top five collections are:

Ship models

Duck Decoys

Blue Willow China


Swedish modern pottery

 Untitled design-3

This seemingly random list  shows how our tastes and interest have changed over the years.


For example, we have a random collection of lobster buoys that the Maine Country Labs found washed up on the shore hanging on a tree,  In a past life we would have thrown them out. Now they are fond memories of walks on the beach with the dogs.

Tip 1 – Decide what you want to collect in advance

And stick to that one item (until you have enough).

I have a girlfriend Amy Chamber of Maison Decor that collects purple transferware. Over the years she has acquired some of the loveliest pieces by sticking to one thing. If it’s not purple, and not transferware, it’s not part of this collection.

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Accidentally I took the other approach. The blue willow collection came as a set at an auction. After years of lusting for  blue and white dinnerware one day at an auction bingo, an entire set (500 pieces) for $100.00.

blue willow

When you’re out at the flea markets and antique malls there are always so many cool things to see and collect. Some of us just go wild – that’s me – while others like Amy take a more studied approach.

Tip 2 – Shop smart.

Don’t buy every piece you see. You only need three to start a collection. Shopping smart also includes sticking to a budget and picking up things you really love. Don’t buy it because it fits into your collection category, buy it because it speaks to you. Otherwise, you’ll become overwhelmed with things that have little sentiment.

The ironstone collect grew very slowly piece by piece.

Tip 3 – Take your time

Take your time and hunt for items you love. eBay, etsy, and Craigslist all have some great deals but you have to be picky. Sometimes waiting can yield better results.

The duck decoy collection started in the late 90’s with an eBay find. Back then you could get great decoys for almost nothing. Ahh… the birth of the web did have some advantages. Now a days I see lots of junk decoys for far more than they are worth.

miss mustard seed milk paint chipping

It’s also fun to purchase items when you’re on vacation. When you get your finds home it adds to your collection and brings back fond memories of time with family and friends.

Tip 4 – Use or display what you have.

There is no earthly reason to just collect and put away. Displaying your collection will benefit you in two ways. One, it shows it off and gives personality to your home. Second, your family will know what you like. You may even be surprised! This year my sister-in -law gave me two pieces she found at a local antique mall. How did I miss them?

Tip 5 – Make it yourself.

You read that right. Painted mason jars, painted glass vases or buoys and sea shells displayed with flowers are collections.

Our example of make it yourself is a little extreme but, ship half models have been on the collectables list for decades. When the antique ones became to expensive, Mr. Maine Country Home began making them. The first three hang in the guest house and the largest one a replica of the Clipper Ship Young America is very special to me. An antique half model of the same clipper did go up for auction here in Maine but the price went far beyond my budget. Instead, ours is the ultimate collectable, memories on a budget.


What do you like to collect? If you send us a note will get back to you with ideas on how to get started and how to fill in what you already have.

Until next time ciao,


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