Clearly, I love collecting. According to Michael, there isn’t a thing I don’t collect. Beautiful milkglass and jadeite, tiny salt cellars—everything is so precious. But I do have one rule I always abide by: nothing should be so precious that it can’t be used and enjoyed.
Keep Collections within Sight …
To prevent myself from crossing over to hoarder status, I keep track of my possessions by storing them in plain view. When done right, these displays can serve as both a useful storage space and a wonderful conversation piece. The dish pantry in my kitchen is my favorite collection point. It’s set up to tastefully create eye-catching contrasts (see how the green jadeite and white milkglass pops against the black bead board!) that I can enjoy every day.
… and Reach
As Jamie likes to remind me, I’m “vertically challenged,” which makes most everything in my cupboards and on my shelves out of reach (easy to say for someone well over 6 feet). So they installed a portable wooden ladder to challenge my God-given limitations. It reminds me of those ladders used to get those out-of-reach books in fancy libraries. This gives me access to about three times as much storage space. I keep the items I use most frequently at ground level, and the ones reserved for special occasions stored in what feels like outer space. “To the moon, Alice!” I say to Michael as I climb up the rungs.
Strive for organization
I make a point of keeping my collections neat and tidy. If things start stacking up, it looks cluttered and I loose track of my inventory. Balance is also important. Don’t put all your tiny little things on one shelf and overload another with too many tall pieces. Instead, aim for a variety of shapes and sizes on each shelf.
Enjoy a little whimsy
I just adore my quirky little cookie jars. Like all the pieces in my collection, they have a special story behind them and a special place in my heart. Dee Dee Pujols, the lovely wife of MLB player Albert Pujols, gave me Elvis when she was a guest on my show. I remember we made her delicious Home Run Chicken recipe.
And the alligator with that poor little fish in his mouth was given to me a few years back by the sweetest fan who knew how much I would love it. I swear some mornings I can hear Elvis singing “Don’t be Cruel” to that naughty gator.
I enjoy my dish pantry collection each and every day—seeing it and using the wonderful pieces in it. As far as I’m concerned, you’ve got to let a cookie jar hold cookies and a pie dish cradle a pie—it’s what they were made to do. And who am I to deny things their destiny?