Accidental Collections

Do you have an accidental collection?

I accumulate commuter travel mugs; I think I have at least seven, of which five are stainless steel — and I don’t even commute! This collection wasn’t intentional; I didn’t even know it existed until I moved a few years ago, and kept finding travel mugs everywhere:   in the garage, in boxes of miscellaneous ‘stuff,’ in the trunk of my car, under the kitchen sink, and in a couple old briefcases/computer bags (thank goodness they were empty!).

I know how this came to be. I see them on sale at Ross or Marshall’s and think, Oh, I don’t know where my drink thermos is … and this one is so inexpensive (often less than $5). Then, of course, I find the “lost” one, usually in the trunk of my car.

When my mother passed, my sister and I found 20+ pairs of slippers, most of them brand new. This was her accidental collection, I think, although at the time, I was more consumed with anxiety about whether hoarding tendencies could be passed down. (This worry was compounded by our discovery of six gallons of vodka in her home. I doubt there was anything accidental about that collection!).

We’ve all toyed in the past with collecting rubber bands, coupons, bags (paper and plastic!), and “leftover” containers, right? But I don’t think these qualify as accidental collections. Nor would I count the wine corks I collected years ago.  I eventually crafted them into a couple of Christmas wreaths and a bulletin board that I still use. This was, again, not accidental but intentional collecting, plus a good excuse to enjoy a glass or two of vino.

I’ve known people who have collected interesting stuff picked up on their daily exercise sojourn out on the road, from money to artistic twigs to discarded notes and curiosities that no one could identify. One friend calls them “treasures,” and some of these treasures are truly found gold mines — at least in the mind of the finder. These items absolutely qualify as accidental collections in my opinion because they weren’t part of the initial reason for the daily jaunts.

I bet you’ve never thought about this subject, but now that it’s in front of you, let me ask the question:   is there something you have accumulated without intent? If so, I’d sure like to hear about it.