Back in the late 1970's I was dating someone whose father kept all the corks from all of the wine that he and his family drank at home. He kept them, he told me, because he thought the corks were too beautiful to throw away.
I'm not aware that my girlfriend's dad ever used the corks for anything other than aesthetic pleasure and perhaps , like a gunslinger who notches his gun after each kill, a mnemonic device to remind himself of all the bottles he drank . But his eccentric habit made so much sense to me that I began keeping corks too.
The picture at left represents a large fraction (probably 60%) of the corks that I have pulled from wine bottles at home since about 1980. Over the almost three decades that I've been collecting them, I've used a variety of systems for getting them from the dining room or kitchen to wherever my living arrangements dictated that they be stored. Nowadays, the pulled corks spend a few months in a specially designated kitchen drawer. Then when the drawer becomes too full, I bag them up and bring them into the cellar.
It's fun to go through and try to remember from what period a particular group is from. I am rarely able to place the cork from a specific bottle to a particular moment in space and time, but there are two or three, I reckon, that I haven't forgotten.