I may have mentioned here before that I am something of a purger-of-things–always gleaning my closet, always weirdly pleased when I use up the last little squirt or scrape of lotion or jam and can recycle the container. I think it’s a function of having moved quite a bit. Or possibly its a counterweight to The Dude’s hoardy tendencies.
Anyway, when I went home to see family around Labor Day, I spent about two long days in MamaDork’s basement, going through old papers and boxes of mine, looking for things to trash, recycle, or donate, so as to make room for stuff that Mama and her new husband (Mr. Mama?) decide to keep as they combine their households.
I was pretty ruthless with my stuff–getting rid of 75% of it, I’d say–and I slipped some junk of BroDork’s out, too (faded photocopies of Dungeons & Dragons manuals from 1984? SRSLY?). But really, it’s like trying to hold back the tide, because both Mama and Mr. Mama have lifetimes of crap that they’re having some difficulty winnowing. Some of it is decent crap, comparatively speaking (Lladro porcelain figurines), and some is just crap-crap (approximately one beeeeellion old popcorn tins, warped Tupperware). But both of them, it seems, are collectors.
To which I reply: UGH. With the exception of books, which are both aesthetically pleasing and practical, if you read or consult them repeatedly (as I do), I am not a collector. As a kid I was. I collected everything. Stuffed animals, bottle caps, shells, stones, buttons, posters of sexy bands or musicals I loved, tote bags, et cetera. Ad nauseum. Years of moving (only once with the help of burly professionals) and trying to find places to stow my junk in increasingly smaller apartments has convinced me that “stuff” does not mean “safety” or “comfort” or “happiness,” but rather “hassle,” “upkeep,” and “likely to be ruined by cats.” And so I’m constantly weeding.
Which is not to say that I completely unattached to things. (Lay a finger on my beautiful, cobalt blue Kitchen Aid stand mixer, I dare you.) I daydream about Tiny Houses, but I don’t think I’ll ever get to that point. At the same time, I think some collections are pretty fantastic: beautiful, meaningful, silly, or charming.
So this week’s FFT is about what, if anything, you collect. Matchbooks? Pint glasses? Jewelry? Commemorative thimbles or spoons? Ticket stubs? And if you’re a collector, how do you engage with your collection? Do you go to conventions, scour eBay for rare items, lovingly dust and arrange your things? Are they on display, for use, or only for private enjoyment? Bonus points for the most eccentric collection (by general acclaim). Show and tell! Show and tell!
P.S. I’m working on a money collection, but it’s not going very well.