Flea Market Décor
Confessions of a Collector
Professional organizer Jeanie Engelbach shares the ideas behind her double-duty displays.
WHEN PEOPLE LEARN WHAT I DO
FOR A LIVING—PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER—THEY assume I live an orderly, streamlined and minimalist lifestyle. And they’re absolutely correct about the orderly and streamlined, but I am what is known as a maximalist. I can’t seem to buy just one thing when I like it; I have to build an entire collection around it.
As an apartment dweller and somewhat obsessive amasser of things—at present I have 12 active collections—i do have to carefully consider how I am going to incorporate these things into my interior décor and home of limited space. That’s why almost every collection has to serve a dual duty.
Of course, not every collection can be functional. Some are purely decorative like my Pez dispensers. However, I choose to display them as art. As an organizer, I fully support having multiples of something that makes you happy, but it better not be stored away in a box—or worse—kept in a storage facility.
The joy of a collection is to be able to see it, appreciate it, love it and possibly put it to task, like my vintage Coke bottles. I actually wanted just the crate, but the vendor would only sell it with the bottles, so I have been able
to make use of the crate as a base that holds a silver serving tray to display my small collection of syrup dispensers. The bottles can also be used as bud vases, candlesticks and, for a Prohibition theme party, were used to disguise the alcohol. And the entire vignette camouflages the kitchen faucet when viewed from the living room. Full functionality!
Fortunately for me, the things I am attracted to—vintage soda bottles, metal lunch boxes, Coke crates—can all be utilized beyond their initial purpose, and while I covet them for their form, I am able to find the beauty in their function too.