Yesterday' salt and pepper shaker thread brought to mind a larger (and frankly more interesting) topic, and that is redundancy in household goods. When I was growing up we had one televsion. When I was maybe 7 or 8 we bought a second television. It was a small tv set and my father bought it so he could watch tv in the other room (big tv was in family room) in the event my mother wanted to watch something on a different channel. I recall it being considered something of an extravagance and my mother urged my father to return the tv on at least one occasion. A few years later we ended up getting a second large console tv for the living room and the portable tv migrated to my parent's bedroom. That was the early-mid 1970's, nowadays it is considered not at all unusual having a television in just about any room of a house (except maybe the bathroom).
I noticed we have four tool boxes: a large one in the basement, my 'automotive' one in the garage, and a small toolbox for each car. Our kitchen is an embarassment of redundancy, we have countless plastic spatulas, spoons and other utensils; we have two complete sets of flatware - one for every day, one for formal occasions and a smaller set of plastic dishes & cups for picnics. We inherited the formal dishware when my grandmother passed away and accepted it as a matter of course but I am now questioning the wisdom of why accepted it only to gather dust much of the time.
I suspect this sort of thing is very generational in nature. Once upon a time a young woman might have filled her hope chest with a good set of silverware passed down X generations, and it was viewed as some sort of family treasure. I recall my (middle class up from blue collar beginnings) grandparents went to pains to ensure they had two sets of towels and linens; one for every day family use and one ostensibly for the use of guests (except they really didnt want guests using them). I suspect this sort of thing is tied in with early 20th century notions of upward mobility and every middle class housewife was expected to acquire such things.
It is one thing to acquire multiples of something for collection purposes (model trains, clocks, radios, baseball cards, etc.) but it means something quite different to have duplicates of something purely out of convenience. How much redundancy is in your household?