I have a small(ish) button collection. It only runs to three tins...
Accumulating buttons is something of a family tradition. My mum had a battered cream tin that I think she got from her mum filled to bursting with all sorts of buttons. And a separate collection of buttons on cards which lived in her sewing box (a repurposed plastic 1960s baby changing box). This tin lived in the top of the coat cupboard and was used for a variety of purposes including gambling chips for playing Pontoon and 21, learning about colours and venn diagrams, and very occasionally for sewing onto things as fastening devices. I think all my sisters have some sort of button stash ranging - in at least one case the button stash would put any specialist button retailer to shame.
This is my collection (from left to right) - general odds and ends, sets, and vintage
And here are some highlights:
The little metal whales were part of a set and the rest are on my niece's Through the Woods hood, the black and white ones are a set bought at my very first Knitting and Stitching Show (the last one held at the NEC), the three candy coloured ones also came from the show and I think might inspire some colourwork on a hat in the near future, and finally the mice also came from a show and are just adorable. I have no idea what I will use them from but I had to have them when I saw them.
So this is my button stash. It's not massive but it's not tiny either and you'd think that if I needed to find 9 cream/pearl buttons at about 13mm diameter that don't even need to match then I wouldn't have a problem. Turns out that's not the case. A search through the tins yesterday brings me to the conclusion that I have a great many buttons that are tiny, quite a few that are huge and all the ones in-between are impractical or the wrong colour for the project at hand. There are a lot that I don't imagine will ever reach their potential as fastening devices (or even as embellishments) but I can't bring myself to cull them. Even these buttons can one day become gambling chips!
PS: I bought the buttons I needed from JosyRose which has a lovely button selection