tins

The other day I noticed that a particular corner of the kitchen was feeling a little dark. Upon investigation I realised that what was blocking out the light on the windowsill was a teetering tower of tins. These were not tins with any useful function, containing food or craft items. These were empty tins. My name is Kate Davies and I have a tin problem.

italian

charaix

I have a tendency to purchase products with little knowledge of the contents simply because I like the tin.

apron

I am unable to throw away any decent-looking tin.

stpetersburg

I purchase tins as souvenirs.

poulard

I develop particular obsessions with particular tin designs. Why oh why do I need a Mere Poulard tin in every single colour ? Note: These tins are empty — I just like the look of them.

teacake

I much prefer Tunnocks tea cakes and yet I had to buy this tin of Marks and Spencer’s tea cakes, simply because it was a tin shaped like a tea cake.

deer
cheese

Tins of monochrome design are particularly appealing.

tea
bettystea

And Betty’s tins clearly pose a specific problem.

bettyscake

bettysbiskits

How can I possibly possess eighteen Betty’s tins? The majority of which are empty?

Obviously there are aesthetic reasons for many of my tin acquisitions, and some are simply personal favourites which I shall never get rid of. But I think it is time to let some light back into the kitchen.

THE MOUNTAIN OF EMPTY TINS MUST GO!

182 thoughts on “(t)insanity

  1. Beautiful Mère Poulard tins! Sad to say they have changed their packaging here in France and the new design is not a patch on the old one. I have the red and pink tin. I wish I had bought the other colours last year.

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  2. Ha ha ha! Well this sound totally fine to me because basically your tin collections is awesome! These tins are really beautiful! Be proud!
    I had the same obession too, i keep everythings that might in the future, some days contains something. I actually had 3 tin that were chocolate powder, i use the plastic box of ice cream to keep all kind of stuff in my bathroom, they are not as beautiful as your tin collection so don’t worry!
    Tea tin is used both for tea and for provence herb! I usually keep the glass container too, until there is too much at a time, so i usually regret it has to go because i already own 5 empty ice cream plastic box… All this “addiction” come from the goal to reuse common odject, so i really think it’s not that much a problem!

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  3. What a great collection! I am also in the process of downsizing. Luckily I woman I work with takes the tins for her grandchildren for Crayons and markers and other stuff ! I miss them, but I know they have a good home with kids who will appreciate them!

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  4. Ooh, just had an idea – we’ve all got odd skeins of yarn, and a lot of us have oopsidentally acquired many tins. How about a skein-in-a-tin swap club on Ravelry? Of course this doesn’t reduce the number of tins or skeins, but how fun!

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  5. I have yarn hidden all over the house (my husband keeps finding it – I refuse to explain myself!). I wonder how good yarn would smell when stored in a tin that still smells like the cake/ginger snap/chocolate/rum fruit cake it came in?

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  6. You are not alone in your love of tins! I had a lot of them for years and now that I am older, I have gotten rid of them over the years by filling them with goodies and gifting people. A few small ones contain pins or stitch markers. My oldest son also has a thing for tins. And boxes, we love those as well. Beautiful tins, though.

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  7. I got over the tin collection; doing pretty well with letting go of boxes (they didn’t have to be pretty, just extremely functional or well made.) Struggle periodically with my luggage obsession, which is related as a subcategory.

    Something about containment must tie into a primordial sense of order???

    Enjoy them and then give someone at the thrift store/Goodwill equivalent a wonderful day when they find one of your tins!

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  8. Hi Kate. Love your blog, but don’t think I’ve eve commented before. Re your tin mountain, could I suggest getting in touch with the Kate Hamilton-Hunter studio? Kate specialises in making jewellery from used tins and especially vintage tins. At least that way, they’d be recycled and put to good use :) (And I do own some of her beautiful jewellery but have no affiliation to the studio.)
    http://www.katehhstudio.co.uk/

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  9. I too keep knitting needles in my tins. I have made a somewhat feeble attempt to contain (haha) my addiction by specializing in those tins which are houses or shops or castles–you get the drift. The other pretties I use instead of boxes for gifts–often they need nothing or only a bit of ribbon or twine to look festive, Oh, I also keep all tins with Westies on them, actually I am realizing I could go on and on now that I know someone ( or several someones) who seem to understand and even appreciate my love of tins. Thanks for bringing this out in the open!

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  10. Hi Kate

    I am just wondering how you keep your circular needles organized? I am not happy keeping mine in the original cases as they are always so tightly twisted like a spring when I go to use them I must boil water to relax them..
    how do you manage yours?

    thanks

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  11. The tins are not empty-they are full of space. Embrace your collection. This is art. Run a magnetic strip across your chair rail, cupboards, door frame, top of your walls, wherever those tins of happy thoughts can smile back at you!

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  12. My name is laurence and I’m a tin addict…
    I use them to store many little supplies: machine needles, thread, …..
    I particularly like your yellow one, as my mother and my grandmother were born in little villages very near from Joyeuse in Ardèche.
    In french , joyeuse means “happy” (for a girl).

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  13. Oh yes, I also collect tins, it’s terrible.
    Just start putting things in them! It’s always a pleasant surprise to see what you put in when you’ve forgotten all about it. They are so pretty. I wish we had nicer ones here in the USA, most of mine are British or Dutch.

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  14. Haha, I always thought I was the only tin-can-oholicon this planet. I love them and can’t resist buying stuff I don’t really need when it is packed in a tin. Crazy, but now I feel so much better now that I know that there are people who understand me :-).

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  15. I don’t have quite the same obsession with new tins, but show me an old / vintage / rusty / military use one and I am hard pressed to resist! I now store my cutting / etching tools in a WW1 green army first aid tin, which seems appropriate somehow; buttons etc. in other ones. It is best to draw a veil over my pile of cigar boxes……

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  16. I just came back from a long weekend in the UK and guess what I bought there? Crabtree and Evelyn Strawberry drops in a lovely little tin…I could easily have resisted the drops, in fact I do not care a lot if they taste nice or not, it is the tin I was really after. It is a great comfort to know that I am not the only hoarder of tins.
    My tin obsession has its root in a childhood trauma. On her dreaded yearly visits, an old great aunt (at least twice removed) used to present my cousin and me with a tin of biscuits each…a nice, big tin for my cousin and a smaller, less nice one for me. Up to this day, I have no idea why, we were very similar in age, looks and behaviour. My mother supposes that the reason was that the aunt preferred her brother to her (just because boys counted more) and has transferred this preference to the next generation.
    While my cousin lives in a very modern, stylish house and throws away empty tins without giving them a second thought, my place is overflowing with tins, especially biscuit tins, because whenever I see an especially nice specimen, I have to buy it, just to spite the old bat !

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  17. My mum and I have a favourite saying about pretty boxes/tins/other receptacles. “They’re very useful, for putting things in, and taking them out again.”

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  18. Good Luck with that!! I so know your addiction, I have the same addiction. In fact this afternoon I was in a dollar store and purchased a small tin just because it had Mickey and Minnie Mouse on it.

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  19. I see you are a woman after my own heart. I can’t get rid of a nice tin because, after all, it may come in handy for something …… However, quite a few end up in the shed where they get filled with nails and odds & ends.

    Tasha T

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  20. I shamefacedly will put myself down in the ranks of the tin collectors. All beautiful boxes, really, and tins are a sub-category. I do use some of them as storage, but by no means all. They seem too nice to throw out and yes, there are so many things (Fortnum & Mason’s tea comes to mind) bought solely for the amazing containers.

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  21. What is it about tins that compels us to collect them? I have quite a few, none having their original contents but many are home to small tools, beads, buttons, etc. I look for them in thrift shops & yard sales, and occasionally buy specific products that are tinned. If the shipping weren’t prohibitive, I’d offer to take a few off your hands! Surely there are, in your area, rummage shops that would like to put these out for sale.

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  22. But they are so charming! I have been hoping to find a Yorkshire Tea tin on ebay or etsy for quite a while. But no such luck. Can truly understand the love of the designs and colors. Particularly love the Biscuits for Cheese. You have a good eye……………..

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  23. Dear Kate,

    I too have quite a few tins that I can’t bring myself to throw away even when there are empty, including several Bettys tins designed by Emily Sutton. She has just had a wonderful exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which included some wonderful birds, which I think you would like.
    http://www.ysp.co.uk/channel/406/emily-sutton-town-and-country
    Sadly they are out of my price range but I can dream……

    Best wishes

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  24. Sigh…. lovely tins! Mine live in the cellar – they come out in November, when I start baking Christmas cookies for family and friends, one variety per tin, so everybody gets several pretty tins to enjoy during the season (of course everybody knows they have to return the tins….or no cookies next year!!!!! They wouldn’t want to risk that). You have some real jewels in your collection!

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  25. Oh dear I have/had the same obsession – when I say had I think I’ve eventually got over it. I’ve had to part with so many beautiful tins with no earthly use apart from looking good as I simply had no more space. Having said this boxes are another matter – you’d never get me to part with a pretty box:-)

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  26. I totally get the err…obsession. German Lebkuchen comes in wonderful tins each year and I once bought chocolate in Denmark because of the egg shaped tins decorated like Faberge eggs. Sigh. I do try to find good uses for them, but there is a limit isn’t there. Good luck on deciding which children to cull.

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  27. Your tins are interesting and lovely. Is it possible for you to store tea, knitting or sewing supplies in them? Maybe buttons? I am simply trying to help you hold on to your most interesting collection.

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  28. My name is laurence and i am a tin addict…
    I use them to store little supplies :machine needles, thread, and so on…
    Yours are beautiful, I particularly like the yellow one , as my mother and my grandmother were born in little villages near Joyeuse in Ardèche (in french, joyeuse means happy for a girl).

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  29. While I don’t have as many tins as you do, I’m currently considering buying some biscuits from a catalogue *because I like the tin*. I also like loose-leaf tea, so I have quite a few tins for that, but they are definitely in use.

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  30. This made me laugh……………….I also have tins, lots of them with nothign in them, but they are too nice to throw away. M&S christmas tins and especailly nice. I love your Russian tin from the Alexander Palace that should be a keeper. I have a gardening book that recommeds drilling holes in the bottom of tins and using them to grwo things – so perhaps nice tins of herbs would a solution for those tins we cannot bear to part with. Very glad to find this is not just me who does this though.

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  31. hehehe
    by the number of your “replys” —
    you are not alone.
    yarn, tins, buttons, ribbons, fabric = we all have something in common!!!

    Life is luscious.
    x x x x x x x x x x

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  32. I like my tins too. They remind me of my travels to far away places. I remember the store, the display that I was so attracted to. And of course, the country. I have a lovely plaid one that use for my sewing things that I bought in Scotland. Give it away, never.

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  33. Why get rid of them? They obviously give you joy and fond memories. Perhaps tuck a few away and display them on a rotational basis.

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  34. I had to chuckle at this post. Having seen all these fervent comments, I’m also feeling slightly giggly with relief: it’s not just me, then! My tin collection is beginning to crowd out my space for actual food. We have the makings of a tin-lovers anonymous group here, I think. :D

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  35. I have that exact same teacake tin and bought it for exactly the same reason. It was half price at the time though! I do like tins too though not to the extent I want any of your ones. I’ve got quite enough of my own, lol!

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  36. My tin collection “lives” on top of my kitchen cupboards. There is a wooden trim, then the actual cupboard tops is lower behind that. I solved this problem by putting drawer storage organizer bins upside-down on the cupboard tops, and stacking my tins on those. From floor level the plastic cheaters can’t be detected.

    Perhaps your tins just need a change of scenery? One might even leave several at the window with their lids off and propped up behind. Potted plants for spring could sit happily in the tins.

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  37. Hi Kate, I hope it will be reassuring for you to know that you’re not alone to bear a “tin-affliction”. Strange to realize that it seems to go well with button-ribbon-collecting, tea-addiction, wool-and-colors-fascination. Not talking about the tendency to pair up with mad running partners… Have a lovely spring in beautiful Loch Lomond area.

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  38. Beautiful tins! I still have my grandmother’s little collection , 1920s till 1952 which I cherish. One can telll which ones were used more often, and obviously she liked the exotic ones with Japanese and Chinese scenes on them. They decorate my sewing cupboard together with a picture of my gram.
    I use beautiful tins as storage containers for all sorts of things and enjoy them every day. So many useful containers waiting to be filled. The collection changes with time, some are given away or fall out or favour, new ones arrive.
    Don’t throw them away, make light in the kitchen by giving them a better spot. Tinselitis is fun!

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  39. Surely if you use them to put things in they are no longer a problem? Unless you think an excuse to buy more ribbons and buttons to put in your lovely tins constitutes a problem… ;)

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  40. General hilarity here on reading this out loud. Tate and Lyle golden syrup and Charbonnel and Walker chocolate pose particular problems here. And we did once decorate a tree on our plot with Gold Label tins. Just too tinacious all round.

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  41. Tintastic. I use my (pathetic in comparison to you) collection of tins to store sewing bits and pieces in my sewing room, where the vintage aesthetic doesn’t grate on my husband. My favourite tins are Old Holborn tobacco tins which were my Granddad’s. One is used for storing stitch markers so gets daily use.

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  42. This looks like a PROPER tin collection. I say, turn them into a display. They’ll bring some colour to awkward hallways where nothing else fits. Make a statement of your tinsanity!

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  43. You can get completely obsessive and put all the white buttons in a (white) tin and all the blue buttons….and then there is the ribbon…. and the cotton…. and…well you get the idea. Think of how organised you will be!
    Or you can save some of them for “tin-kettling” (a Downunder pastime whereby tins are tied to the back of the car of the newly weds – unbeknown to them of course – so that they make an almighty noise when they drive off on their honeymoon). :)

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  44. I vote for keeping them all! They are so beautiful! You could put some rocks in some of the bigger ones and use them for door stops. You could even stack more than one if needed. I don’t have a big collection but I do love pretty tins.

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  45. Nice collection! And thanks for sharing the nice photos, before your clearin up of course. I don’t tend to collect anything, but I have some fancy tea tins. My father has been travelling to China and Taiwan quite a bit since his retirement. One time I asked whether he wouldn’t mind getting me some nice tea. I am considered hard to buy stuff for, so since then, what do you think I get every gift giving occasion? I could send you some tea tins if desired. I usually discard them once tea is consumed. But I know, I should not spread the illness. These ones are probably ones you don’t have though…

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  46. One of the many reasons I love my church is that the ladies there welcome the tins I can’t bring myself to throw away and repurpose them wonderfully! Faith is based on *many* different foundations, clearly!

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  47. This is me! I have to make a strong effort to control myself (and usually fail) at yard sales, where fabulous tins are going for 50 cents. I am particularly susceptible to tins shaped like houses, shops, or vehicles. I justify my collection by actively finding things to put into them–then I can’t remember what is in which (or which is in what).

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  48. Hello Kate, I am Lucy and I am a jug addict. They are not quite the same as tins but you can store some things in them. I store knitting needles in one and crochet hooks in another. They look so pretty on a spare shelf. Now I have no spare shelf. They are hopeless for storing buttons, notions or anything else of use because you can’t see what you have in them! But they look so pretty on a shelf. My husband has said that he can’t see the use for more jugs, so tins seem like a good alternative…… I am Lucy and I love jugs and tins. Husband in psychotherapy. I’m on my way to Betty’s! Thanks for your post. I feel comforted that I am not alone!! Lx

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  49. I love the smaller tins. I use them for my knitting tools. These can be kept in my project bags. Even my hubby looks out for tins for me.

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  50. Hi Kate,

    If you’re willing to part with any tea tins, I’d be very much interested in taking them off your hands. I’m building a collection of tea tins and would love to add a few more to the mix. Especially from your neck of the woods. I’m hoping to create a custom shelving unit to display them in the house we’re buying this spring. Let me know if you’d be interested and your price. Thanks for considering!

    Alicia

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  51. Install some nice wood shelves above interior doorways and display them where they will not cast a shadow. Or, if you are determined to part with them, gifting them is a fine idea, so you will know that they are going to people who will treasure them as well. What a wonderful dilemmna!

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  52. Ha ha ha, glad I am not the only one! I usually find a use for tins (containing spices, other ingredients, or craft supplies), but am flummoxed about what to do with my flock of empty Spanish paprika tins. They have a circular hole in a rectangular body and therefore appear to be impossible to clean – yet I am compelled to try to purchase every new brand that I come across AND keep the old tins. So pretty, yet so useless!

    I have also recently developed a yearning for the shallow plastic boxes that contain a single layer of Ferro Rocher. They are ideal for storing reels of thread, laid down on their sides so I can see the colours easily.

    Colleagues at work know that if I am approaching a box of something edible, I am far more likely to be interested in the container than the contents!

    When we bought our house, I think one of the things that subconsciously recommended it to us was the shelves above the garage workbench. Screws, bolts and other such things were meticulously categorised in a large number of tubs of the same size and shape that spoke of years of family Christmases and special occasions when the same size and variety of chocolates were purchased, and the tins collected and labelled for further use. Neat lettering, visual repetition and rhythm, organisation and method and eccentricity and a touch of nostalgia – lots of qualities that you would appreciate in an artwork.

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  53. I am laughing as I join the chorus — I just took a bit of a stroll through the house — 33 tins. And then there are who knows how many tall cardboard & metal canisters from scotch/whiskey/sherry that I store various things in, like Christmas decorations. They go back quite a few years, as do my tins. Don’t throw the tins! They are splendid containers — much better than any of the plastic stuff you see in stores. And your collection is quite lovely, I must say.

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  54. Oh, kindred spirit you made me laugh out loud! I have a similar addiction and I must say, my tins aren’t hardly a patch on yours! UK/Europe must do more packaging in tins than they do here in North America. I completely understand the attraction. :)

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  55. I have a friend who designs bags and she uses all these lovely boxes she has collected over the years, in her sewing room/studio for her measuring tapes, ribbons, threads, pins, scissors, purse handles, adornments etc…They could look lovely in your ‘wool/studio’ room filled with odds and sods…then they are completely useful/necessary again…lol…? They are so pretty and colourful.

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  56. I might have the same problem, although not quite on the same scale, but that’s only because we’ve moved three times in the last 7 years and moving = cleanout time! I store knitting needles and notions in pretty tea tins.

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  57. I made a gift of a pair of handknit socks tucked into a lovely tin. I was so happy to knit and present the socks, but it took all my willpower not to ask for the return of the tin.

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  58. I have some of the exact same tins (i don’t even like tea cakes and i bought the M & S one!). You never know when they will come in handy. My teacakes tin is now full of my ever expanding button collection!

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  59. What is it about little boxes of tin that is so satisfying to open, arrange and just have. My grandchildren love to get mine down and open and close, fill with their little treasures to give to me as gifts, sort and stack, and just play happily. I have taken to putting random little things in one or another for them to find. I love your tins:)

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  60. I have a similar ….? obsession? love?? I keep all the twinings boxes, different sizes, colors, all the empty ones… I love them… Yours are beautiful!!

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  61. your tins are lovely I like the M&S tea cake tin I have a packet of the tea cakes in the cupboard at the moment is it still possible to buy the tin ?

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  62. Why not plant them up with herbs and or some colour for the Spring/Summer. You can then admire them from either outside or inside the house….!

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  63. … but you are interested in design! Don’t part with them, you will miss them as soon as they are no longer in your life. Display and rotate.

    They are just beatiful objects. So many modern tins don’t work that well (then tin, lids that don’t close well etc.)… the joy of a tin that is a thing of beauty and works well.

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  64. I love those tins; we don’t get many tins here in America (well, I’ve seen precious few of them). If you do have a giveaway, I’ll take one of those lovely tins (or two or three) :D
    My uncle has a cousin in Germany who sent him a tin of Christmas cookies and it’s so beautiful, and I was a tad envious of him, lol.

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  65. First thoughts: I am selfish! I am greedy! Send me all your superfluous tins.
    Second thought: I have spent the March Break de-cluttering my house one room at a time. I am not yet finished. I hardly need to accumulate MORE things, but your tins are sooooo pretty…

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  66. Oh my goodness look at all those reply’s and I am one of those people who loves tins too. Maybe we should start a society? Seriously I think light is more important. I also can’t walk past a BASKET.

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  67. They are lovely but perhaps they are also useful on the windowsill …years ago I nagged my husband to get rid of some recycling bottles on the kitchen windowsill. He claimed jokingly that they were a burglar deterrent. Then we had an attempted break in, and guess what…the police said they were. Anything that is noisy and takes a while to remove. An excuse for keeping the lovely tins?

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  68. I don’t do clutter. If I go into a room with too much content, I feel like I can’t breathe. My little mind just can’t handle a profusion of stuff.

    That being said, I would take every tin in your collection and manage somehow. They are beautiful treasures. I regret not saving any of the few tins that were available here when I was young. Even if I had, none were as charming as yours are.

    Loved seeing part of your collection. Thanks for sharing.

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  69. Whew, after reading your post and many of the comments, I’m glad my tin “problem” doesn’t seem to be a big one, though my family may think differently. I do try to find a use for my tins though, and have discrete labels on the bottom telling me what’s in each one.

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  70. Don’t give them away! I think they’re all really special; you might just have to find another function for them? You could store coffee or tea in some of them; put plants in them or (depending on the size) you could even use them to store yarn? Or you could create some piece of art with all of them? I think it would be really sad if you gave them away =/

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  71. So glad I’m in good company. It’s always hard to part with items we enjoy but it finally comes to the point that something has to be done. Good luck with that. When you find the secret please share with us.

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  72. Oh, Kate, you are a woman after my own heart. Just yesterday I *revisited* a particular tea display three times in one shopping trip, each time having to remind myself that I have roughly a hundred teabags in my own kitchen. Consequently, do not need trendy, untried, and expensive tea, just because int comes in a cute tin…nor did I have any specific plans for the tin, mind you. Yet.

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  73. I am with you on this. Probably it is our love of patterns and colors that makes these lovely tins so appealing. You may want to part with some–to friends, etc. [not thrown away]–but the others can be used for storing seeds, ribbons, pins, spices??? It is too bad they are so hard to mail easily. It is so easy to become attached and so hard to dis-attach! Thank you for the post.

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  74. I don’t collect anything (except yarn, if that counts…), but I have a real problem getting rid of tins. They are functional, and beautiful, and always seem like they will be perfect for something (loose tea storage? button boxes?). Yours are absolutely beautiful!

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  75. Fellow tin addict here – don’t get rid of them! I have a high shelf in my kitchen for tins and a couple of special teapots, and I admit to tins being in nooks and crannies all over the house. I buy for the tin, and have been known to pitch the contents on occasion. Love my tins! You have some gorgeous ones there – display!

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  76. Oh my! What a lovely collection. Would you be willing to sell the Alexander Park tin?
    Many thanks for such a delightful post.

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  77. I also have the Mère Poulard tins in every colour and some lovely antique round coffee tins. They’re in my kitchen and store all sorts of things. You don’t need to get rid of them, just install a nice shelf or two to display them in all their glory! Instant charm!!! :-)

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  78. If they make you happy, then keep them and display on a shelf. I collect tins and use them for sewing bits. Problem is I haven’t labelled them and can never remember what I’ve put in them! :P

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  79. Here I was going to comment about you being a long-lost sister, but it appears, but the looks of the other comments, that I’ve got plenty of other sisters-in-tins!

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  80. Treasures for sure! I buy my Tea according to the box. I was just last week thinking of taking a picture of an old box of Tao Tea and asking them on their fb page if they would consider going back to their former design. Simply because the box was so much more appealing and interesting.

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  81. I can’t resist tins either and it seems I’ve passed down my addiction to my youngest daughter. Lately she’s been turning tiny scraps of fabric into pillows and blankets and fitting them into tea tins so that her toy mice have a place to sleep. One day I came downstairs and she had set up an entire village with my house shaped tins. Tins are wonderful!

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  82. adding my admiration of tins. not having access to lovely tins (usa reisdent) i dont possess the lovely kind of tins you own. only a few french ones purchased at a high end deli

    if you need to find new homes… i would love to adopt some!
    perhaps have a drawing ?

    there are many of us who would be glad to help you destash them!

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  83. I don’t know…those are great tins! Maybe move them, but don’t get rid of them! Unless you send them to me of course….seriously, they are all amazing. And some would make perfect button boxes.

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  84. Oh dear, since you are purging don’t look at Whittards new tins. We especially like the tiger tin inspired by the book The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Or the elephant tin inspired by Kiplings story The Elephant’s Child. What to do………

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  85. My husband is the one who loves tins – he uses Altoids boxes as cases for his electronics projects. But I love to keep cookies in them, they seem to stay fresh longer, and I have to bake without gluten, so keeping cookies fresh is a big deal.

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  86. Oh, no. Please don’t trash those tins. They are amazing! I have tins from Japan (relatives send me tea) that are nice, but I cannot obtain ones like you have in your collection.

    I’m willing to purchase if you’ll ship to the US!

    Mahalo.

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  87. You obviously have been raised right. There ought to be a re-purpose for almost everything. Here, the nearest tin does have stitch markers. Second nearest has safety pins, those that aren’t good as stitch markers. Pink or purpley might have paper clips, or paper for notes near the phone. Have a special keeper? Spare keys. You might be able to do away with the junk-drawer. Tape a label on the bottom so in later years it will be obvious you weren’t just squirreling things away! And horrible gifted ones can get given back to the gifter stuffed with gloves or a scarf, to take the sting out of re-gifting something awful. This desire to collect seems to run strong with knitters.

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  88. I have the same problem so I started rotating them according to season and/or holiday. They get artfully arranged together on a shelf or two and the rest retire into a box for awhile. Reopening the box always gives me such pleasure. Choosing colors, shapes, and sizes to display is too much fun to get rid of them! I seem to have the same problem with most old advertising art so lots of tin advertisement signs are hanging on my walls, as well. Makes for conversation starters, sometimes…….

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  89. I love these!

    I came home from Belgium with the most beautiful chocolates tin – I bought it just for the tin. I took it to work, intending the chocolates a treat for the office, and someone actually took the tin after the chocolates had been eaten. I know it wasn’t a co-worker; we think someone popped by from a different office and couldn’t resist. This was three years ago and I’m still put out about it. :(

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  90. Send some tins off to Felix. I bet she could come up with a whole other Knitsonik book from the colors in them.

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  91. I am fond of tins too, particularly tea caddies. I did manage to purge them a bit or re-use them, for example I now keep my medicine in an old caddy for Jasmine tea and it sits beside my bed, but they have crept up again. One of my favourites has the London tube map on it, two design classics in one! I think it is the combination of aesthetic joy and functionality that makes them so hard to resist.

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  92. I am on a ‘let it go’ streak at the moment so would encourage you to choose your favourites (!) and give the rest away. If you put them away in a cupboard for a few weeks and don’t miss them then you will be able to release them more easily. Good luck – I was de-stashing yarn last week and confess I took some back out of the charity shop bag. We are only human…….:-)

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  93. Don’t get rid of any of your tins, they are beautiful! I never see such beautiful tins in the U.S. I think I want to start collecting tins after seeing yours.

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  94. All these tins are beautiful. Don’t throw them out, use them for food storage (with a label underneath to identify the content). Store the rest or give them as gifts. I keep one shelf in cupboard for special tins.

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  95. I have a cupboard full of ancient, untasted, probably cheap and nasty Chinese and Japanese tea for exactly the same reason. *embarrassedface*

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  96. This strikes too close to home for me. In my previous life I made dolls from tins. Head and bodies were tins with porcelain arms and legs. Such fun!! I still have some favorite dolls as well as amazing antique tins… just because.
    Please don’t throw them out, Kate. Put them away somewhere and think about them.

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  97. Yep, I think I have a tin problem too, my collection is not as impressive as yours. Is there not somewhere else you could display them? Oh & I have a weakness for new notebooks & sketchbooks too…you never know when you will need one…!

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  98. I don’t have many tins, but I like them, and use them for storing knitting stuff. One with circular needles, one with double-pointed, and a few others empty. What I have a lot of? Japanese coin purses. My mother and aunts send them to me – I don’t know why- so I use them to store notions: stitch markers, cable needles, tape measures. Maybe I can use an empty tin for the change purses!

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  99. You need a tin shelf to display the high on the wall a couple of feet below the ceiling. Out of the way but on display. It how I display my green and yellow China in my kitchen. I love tins too!

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  100. Send them to me!!!!! We can’t really getting like those here in the USA. The tins I do have are from a trip to the UK. I have put a small plastic cup or medicine bottle in an empty tin and inserted flowers or a small green plant.

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  101. I feel your joy in the utter beauty of your tins and your pain…not enough space. My favorites in recent years are the rectangular tins that have hinged lids. Genius!!! I have purged a few by using them as gift “boxes” but only a small dent has been made. Maybe figure out a decent number to have on your counter that you can live with, store the rest, then change them out seasonally??? Good luck.

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  102. I love tins! Especially those that once housed tea, or have tea-home potential. I have a beautifully kitsch Chinese rose black tea tin, as well as several jasmine green tea tins, along with a clipper tea tin and several purposeless tins. Oh, and one with an image of a donkey on it, just because. There’s one in my haberdashery box with scraps in, another with paper-pieced hexagons. I love your tin collection. The monochrome Betty’s tin is lovely!

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  103. They are lovely. What about photographing them in many different combinations in a sort of sculptural way, then have the images made into printer cards, various… you could have them in your shop as well…? Just a thought…Rosey x

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  104. I not only have a collection of souvenir tins I also have souvenir yarn. I have decided to just relax and enjoy the insanity of it all.

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  105. Kate, I join you in your admiration for well-designed tins, large and small, old and new. I do use most of mine for storage of various sewing or knitting or crocheting materials. And art supplies, too. And in December, I do keep the cookies I bake in tins. I’ve been known to actually give away some of these tins, filled with cookies, as Christmas gifts.

    I think that your collection looks very, very appealing! xo

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  106. Oh, please find something to use them for and another place to display them! They are too wonderful to be discarded!

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  107. Now Kate, be very, very careful, these tins are works of art, you know you don’t want to throw them away, just put some away, maybe in the loft until you have enough bits to fill them, or maybe not enough to fill but to use them for something sill, they would make great cake tins. Decide which you like and adorn your kitchen. Beautiful tinsxx

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  108. Oh Kate, this post is so funny but hits far too close to home for me!!! I adore tins too. Justifying their purchase is far too easy; “I must have this gorgeous tin because I will use it for_____.” Usually it is knitting or sewing notions. Or for organizing and storing art supplies. But are my tins called into action? Not usually. :(
    What does Tom think of the mountain of tins? Will he be sad to see them go?
    Hmmm. Here is me thinking of reasons to save some… doggie treat holders for Bruce. Embroidery floss organizers. Storing Tom’s jam jar lid medals… Christmas tree ornaments holders…
    I think I’m feeling anxiety over the loss of your tins!!! LOL
    Good luck in getting rid of a few and letting the light back in!

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  109. Or me. I see at least a few knitting ideas in there!

    Maybe you just need a long shelf somewhere to display them properly.

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  110. There’s a woman on Etsy who makes really cool jewelry from cut tin cans. I don’t remember the name of her shop, but felt a pang at the thought of those cool tins being cut up. Still, better than being thrown away. Maybe someone can use them locally to you….

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  111. I love tins too! They are perfect for keeping buttons. I have my Mother’s and Grandmother’s button collections stored in tins. My children think it is a treasure hunt to spill them out on the table when we need some!

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  112. I myself love tins, and love love LOVE all your tins, Kate! Don’t part with them, display them on shelves…preferably glass-fronted so you won’t have to dust them all the time. they’re beautiful, and esp inspirational from a design standpoint. Think of them less as an obsession and more as a TOOL.

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  113. DON’T LET THEM GO!!!! You can NEVER have enough tins … I don’t count mine anymore….. Make a display of them, find stuff to put in them (even buy stuff if you have to!), but please don’t get rid of them…. This ends the Save All Tins (SAT) public announcement! xxx

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    1. Same as mine, Anne. Seems a shame to just thrown them away. Please mark me down on the list to receive. Thanks in advance.

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    1. No, you can’t get rid of those beautiful tins (though if you want to throw one my way, it would be very loved!). What a stunning collection ;)

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