Have you ever loved something so much that you start a collection and want as many of that thing as you can get your hands on? I certainly have, and when I come across that thing, it’s always important for me to remind myself about the differences between collecting and cluttered.
In order to keep your collection from overflowing into a cluttered mess, I always recommend that you pay close attention to the amount of negative space available. Take my bookshelves, for instance. They’re filled with lots of books with lots of colors, as well as a few tchotchkes and several pieces of pottery. Without a clear strategy behind item placement on these shelves, they could easily look and feel cluttered, but with a few simple adjustments, they feel collected and clean.
First and foremost, it’s important to keep space between each item. By having distinct piles of books that are separated from the pile next to them, the shelf looks and feels cleaner and more open. Additionally, I try to balance the amount of tchotchkes on each shelf, such that if one shelf has several, the ones sandwiching it do not. That way, your eye is not torn about which shelf to look at, as there is a sense of balance between each of them.