What Is The Proper Response To Evil?

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

Some people complain that responses to bad things happening in the world today have dissolved into a #hashtag for people to post in social media and make themselves feel like they’ve done something. Continue reading

For The Love of… Knick-Knacks: The Grandma Closet


I’m still on a roll with the Oklahoma Women Bloggers as we highlight all the things we love this week. Have you checked out any of their posts? After you get done here, click the link in this paragraph and hop on over to check out all their bloggy-liciousness!

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

Are you a collector? Do you line your shelves with knick-knacks? Are you afraid you might be featured on A&E’s Hoarders?

I love knick-knacks, doo-dads, trinkets, whatever you might call them. But not just any old things. They have to have a meaning behind them.

Even though I love knick-knacky things, I’ve never had many knick-knacks in my house. That was a compromise I had to make with Keeper Hubby. You see, he was scarred in his childhood by knick-knacks. His dad and stepmom took ‘collecting’ to an art form. Dad thought everything, ‘just might come in handy some day’. I don’t know how empty plastic motor oil containers or rotted carpeting could come in handy, but I’m probably just not innovative enough.

Stepmom collected figurines, plates, cups, dolls, those sorts of knick-knacks. They filled every empty space. I guess little Keeper Hubby got creeped out at all the porcelain eyes staring at him all the time, so big Keeper Hubby doesn’t do knick-knacks. It’s a compromise I’ve learned to live with. That and the cat thing, but that’s another story.

Now that I have a home office, I’ve started to acquire a few pretties I keep on a bookshelf or two. But the real collecting action is not out in the open where anyone can see it. It’s in a closet. The Grandma Closet.

As young parents with almost no disposable income, we were choosy about the toys we spent hard-earned money on for our darling tykes. Educational, durable, something they could add more parts to over time, and something complementing their own personality bents. Musician Daughter liked Barbies and baby dolls. She always wanted to be the mama. Poet Son was a collector like his grandpa. He’d latch on to an item, then collect it like a tiny madman. Legos, coins, stamps, action figures, cars all had to be categorized and catalogued. Artist Daughter’s interests blew with the breeze, of course. One day she was sculpting with PlayDoh, the next she was sewing doll clothes, the next required Beanie Babies, and always notebooks filled with doodles.

Eventually they each grew out of their toys, but Mom didn’t. Of course, some things got so ragged and dirty, it was the humane thing to do to throw them in the trash to put them out of their misery. The ones that endured had history attached to them, our history.

I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away or pile them up on the driveway for a garage sale. And there was the whole Keeper Hubby anti-knick-knack thing. That’s when I came up with the Grandma Closet.

Someday I would be a Grandma, I reasoned. I remembered when I was a child and visits to grandmas meant you sat down and obeyed like a good girl, didn’t muss your dress, and no way would you have fun. Toys were out of the question. Just sit there and look at Grandma’s McCall’s magazines.

Well, that wasn’t going to happen to my grandkids. No sir. They’d like coming to Grandma’s house. We’d bake cookies. Okay, I can’t bake, but this is my fantasy, thank you. We’d bake cookies, eat them, and play together all day. With toys. From the Grandma Closet. Beautiful toys just waiting to make a child happy.

No pressure kids, but I’m going to have a closet full of toys that says you and your spouses better get some procreating done. Your toys. Full of awesome memories. In the Grandma Closet.

Keeper Hubby regarded this idea with a healthy amount of skepticism, but went along with my plan. I lovingly packed the best toys from each of my children, at the time in various stages of the college experience, and stored them in a hallway closet that up until that time didn’t have much to do. Now it got to stand guard over the contents of the Grandma Closet.

We tested out this Grandma Closet idea a couple years ago on friends who still have younger children. Thinking they were going over to some stodgy old folks’ house that probably smelled like moth balls, where they’d have to sit quietly while the grown-ups ‘talked’, they instead got invited to explore the Grandma Closet. What kid wouldn’t love this:

Button, button, who's got the button?

Button, button, who’s got the button?

postage stamps

A smattering of stamps

Gentlemen, start your engines...

Gentlemen, start your engines…

See, Poet Son collected everything.


I don’t know what this guy is, but it sure is fun to take apart and put back together.

Anyone have girls who love Polly Pockets? Artist Daughter had an entire village.

The tiniest accessories known to mankind

The tiniest accessories known to mankind

In that tiny plastic backpack. My vacuum cleaner hated Polly Pockets.

Why these make me think of 'Children of the Corn', I have no idea...

Why these make me think of ‘Children of the Corn’, I have no idea…

These are What’s Her Face dolls. Lots of cool accessories. But no faces. You drew them on, then erase, and draw some more. They kind of creeped me out.

Do your plants look like this? Then you have a boy lurking somewhere in your house.

Do your plants look like this? Then you have a boy lurking somewhere in your house.

Poet Son had an action figure collection. He found all kinds of ninja sneaky places for them. In my plants, in a heating vent, in my shoes.

There’s no way I could get rid of these.

A long time ago, in a teeny, tiny galaxy far, far, away...

A long time ago, in a teeny, tiny galaxy far, far, away…

Our friends’ kids had a great time. The toys covered the living room carpet for an afternoon, then the children politely packed them back into their boxes and into the Grandma Closet. Theory became fact.

Now we have our first grandson, Destined-To-Be-A-Musician, or DTBAM for short. He’ll be two years old this summer, so he’s not quite old enough for Star Wars and stamps. But there’s a few wooden blocks I managed to save, handmade by Grandpa Keeper Hubby, all those years ago when we had no money, but we did have a pile of 2×4’s, a radial arm saw, and love. We’ll eat some cookies, open the Grandma Closet, and start some more memories.

Have you saved any of your children’s toys? Toys from your own childhood? Tell us about it in the comments.

Related posts:

Enjoy this post? Click below to Tweet, Share, or Pin it! Make sure you’re subscribed to kristin nador writes anywhere via email or RSS feed. It’s an easy click or two up in the right hand corner of this page. Thanks for your support!