The cost of collecting

Collections scare me. It doesn’t matter if the collection contains knickknacks, chotskies, baseball cards, coins, stamps, records, figurines, or Barbie doll heads. A big compilation of similar stuff often overwhelms my senses — mostly ’cause I’m compelled to add up the cost. Yet another reason you shouldn’t invite me over for dinner. Sigh.

Anynofunblogger, marketers like to sell us stuff in volume — it’s good for business, right? I mean, who hasn’t flipped on their TV and heard the marketing message “Call now to collect the whole set!” at some point during a commercial interruption. Exactly!

And so, without thinking (hey, it happens), I went on Twitter and tweeted:

Squawkfox on Twitter

The response was immediate. People connected with the need and desire to collect crap. Some people emailed about the horrors of hoarding. Others defended their Royal Doulton figurine collections, calling them “art”. One woman argued that her collection of Barbie doll heads is priceless. Priceless? Really?

“More like hilarious, and kinda creepy,” I replied. She defriended me immediately.

Then came a challenge from a fellow named Fred. Fred, not unlike many faceless humans who occasionally take jabs at me, wrote:

“Come off it Kerry. We all hunt and gather something. Open your closet. What have YOU collected over the years?”

Me? A collector? Nooooo. Never. Nope.

Fred, the faceless jabber, intrigued me. Not only did he mock my Twitter squawk, but he challenged me to survey my stuff for a sign, any nuance, of a collection. By his rules, a collection isn’t necessarily a traditional accumulation of coins, comic books, stamps, or figurines from a series with uniquely minted numbers. Nope. According to Fred, a collection could be a stash of similar clothing, a bevy of books, maybe even yards of yarn. So really, a collection could be anything you’ve amassed over time. Interesting, right?

Game on, Freddie!

And so I strutted to my bedroom and peeked into my dresser, glanced over my shelving, and swung open my closet. I looked, I scrutinized, and then I fainted. No, I didn’t find a box of severed Barbie doll heads. But I did see a sizable stack of …

jeans

JEANS! OMG! Welcome to my wacky stack of denim. SHOOT ME! I counted my neatly folded pile of delicious jeans, all 31 pairs of them.

I hated Fred. Stupid, snotty, ohh sooo smarty-pants Fred. Over the span of eight years I have spent (by rough calculation) nearly $1,600 on indigo cotton fabric. At around $50 a pair (most less, some more), my lovely Levi’s collection was busted by a dude whose name rhymes with dread.

Now, like other types of ‘collectors’, I have my reasons (*cough* excuses) for amassing mass amounts of ass-enhancing pants. Over the years my weight has fluctuated (what, your’s hasn’t?), styles have changed, and washes have worn. Back in the day I started with straight legs, then flares; I loved boot cuts, boyfriends, skinny jeans, and today matchsticks are cool. Many women buy jeans with varying inseams for flats and heels, so I’m guilty of owning regular and tall lengths too. Now add in a few different washes, rises, and shades and suddenly I’m the wearer of 31 pairs of blue pants. Smurfy.

Horrified by my hoard (which I secretly love), I emailed Fred with my results, and asked what he collects (besides bloggers’ egos). Half expecting Fred to reply with photos of severed Barbie doll heads, I was instead issued another smack down, a second challenge. Our emails went something like this:

Fred: What does your husband collect?

Me: Who, Carl? He’s German, so probably beer cans.

Fred: Beer cans?

Me: Yah. Well, no. He’s thrifty, so he returns those for the deposit. Gawd I hope it’s not Barbies, or discombobulated heads, or jeans. Letmethinkforabit.

And so I thought about it — for two seconds. GOT IT! Carl’s collector tick is different from my own. Rather than amassing a bunch of useful (*cough*) wearable items, he’s more likely to ‘save’ old deprecated things for ‘later’. Case in point:

useless junk

Hello, Carl? It’s the 1990s calling! They want their technological junk back! I’ve been squawking at Carl for nearly 10 years about that danged green phone. I hate it. So he loves it.

And then there’s this:

funny junk

Do you think the man likes wires? Yeppers. A lot of wires. There must be three boxes of wires, cables, cords, and other coiled doodads stockpiled in the man’s closet. But the worst of the technical junk has been removed from our humble home — ’cause I made him ‘get rid’ of it. Or so I thought.

Let me introduce you to The Barn.

barn

Back in the 1920s The Barn was home to the charming Christensen family — the early settlers who owned the farm where I live now.

old barn

Today The Barn is home to Carl’s relic computer collection.

computer repair

Hello, Carl? It’s the 1990s calling! They want to know where you’re storing the floppy disks, dial-up modems, and ‘high speed’ CD-ROM drives. Crap, looking at this junk reminds me of the day I met Carl at school. The year was 1999, he was tuned in to the radio station 99.3 The Fox, listening to Ace of Base, and coding something cool on his state-of-the-art almond colored tower computer. Yes, the man was a sexy beast. If I could replicate the sound of an old skool modem connecting to surf the information superhighway I would. But I won’t. Promise.

computers

Feels just like yesterday eh? Yes, that sticker really says The Fox. No, I can’t make this s$it up.

So where am I going with this?

Well, collections scare me. They don’t have to be branded, numbered collectibles that are part of a special set. A collection can really be anything you’ve stockpiled over time. The cost can include the price paid for buying the crap, or the fees surrendered for storing the stuff. If you don’t own a family barn then you’ll need to own a bigger house or rent a storage locker off-site to contain the crappy costly situation.

So just as Fred challenged me, I’m challenging you. What do you collect? Look under your bed, search your closets, and admit to yourself the crazy stuff you store. You could save a little (or a lot) of money by knowing your spending triggers and reducing your stockpiling habits.

Now excuse me while I slink into my skinnies and head over to The Barn for a little archeological clean-up action. While I don’t covet computer relics, I most certainly have the perfect pair of jeans to wear.

Your two cents:

  1. Alysa@ImpulseSave August 8th, 2011

    Blazers, darnitall. Can you believe that? I have like ten blazers…so lame. Although..it’s not as bad as 31 pairs of jeans…haha.

  2. Elizabeth August 8th, 2011

    Hilarious! In the past, I collected books, tea cups, postcards and coins but I’ve mostly given those up now. (It’s hard when the items are mostly gifts!)

    However, I’d bet most women have a bit of a jewelry collection! I seem to have amassed a collection of scarves without realizing it too :)

  3. Rahel August 8th, 2011

    I admit it, I collect books. And other paper-based stuff. Or rather, it collects me. When I moved across the country to Vancouver, I divested of half my books, leaving about 40 book boxes worth. Now, I allow myself 1 bookshelf of business books, and 1 shelf of “other” (fiction, how-to, and personal reference). But it’s hard! I love books. Now I have a Kindle, and that will take care of the physical storage situation, but it’s still collecting books, whether it be electronic titles or on a shelf. What’s a girl to do?

  4. rob August 8th, 2011

    18 months ago I got the minimizing bug and started cleaning out. Up until then I hadn’t really thought about what I have “collected” over the last 30 years. Then I realized that I had a huge number of t-shirts. Me, the guy who laughs at women with a closet filled with clothing. Half a dozen large green garbage bags deposited at the local charity later I feel less bizarre. Then I started on the books. The first cut of several hundred books was me going through them one by one and boxing the ones I’d never read again, and the ones I’d started and decided were not interesting. I freed up one entire bookcase and inflicted a lot of good reading on friends and their teenagers. The next pass was to sort them into “useful” (reference books) and “other” (fiction) and then take a hard look at each category. Reference books for things that no longer exist, manuals for cars I no longer own, etc.. went into the recycle. The fiction pile was split into books I’ve not read yet and books I might read again. There’s a clock ticking on both piles that expires in another 6 months or so.

    Getting rid of stuff is immensely satisfying.

  5. Melissa August 8th, 2011

    I have a terrible habit of collecting little knick knacks, ribbons, bits of fabric, buttons, etc. with the thought that I will ONE DAY turn it into some sort of craft project. But you know what? I almost never do. And I have boxes and boxes of STUFF waiting to be turned into something useful.

    I also have massive collections of beanie babies, pogs and Spice Girl trading cards still stored at my parents’ house. Hoping to retire on those…

  6. SavingMentor August 8th, 2011

    This is so funny! I’m another guilty of collecting technology. But, unlike your husband, most of my technology is relatively new and used on and off. I try to sell stuff before it gets really old to recoup a little bit of my money but sometimes that doesn’t work or I don’t have time and it piles up a little bit.

    31 pairs of jeans – OMG! I thought I had a lot with like 8-9 pairs.

  7. Ray Tetreault August 8th, 2011

    I can relate to the computer collection. I still have an old Radio Shack TRS80 that I bought in the mid 80s. Ah,nostalgia!!! :) … Perhaps you will see me on “Hoarders” in a few years???

  8. Pippa Jeanne August 9th, 2011

    This gave me a good laugh! I have ONE pair of black jeans, which I wear to work because I got pool chlorine on my neat black work pants. And ONE pair of blue jeans, which inadvertently got turned into painting pants this weekend when I helped friends renovate. Send me some of yours! =)

    But … I do have stacks of BOOKS … and DVDs (including Buffy seasons 1-4 – and I’m in my forties) … and CDs.

    Sigh. And I thought I was doing so well, travelling lightly!

  9. beth August 9th, 2011

    Funniest and more helpful post ever! (hello, my name is Beth and I collect Fiestaware dishes and anchor log cabin glasses). oh… and… um…. cough chough… SHOES. oops

  10. Kathleen August 9th, 2011

    Oh you gave me a good laugh on this dreary rainy morning in western New York!! I was going to say “I only collect giraffes and vintage costume bling” . . . until I read the other comments and realized I’m guilty of collecting other stuff too. I guess you can say I have a thing for things . . . guilty guilty guilty . . .

  11. Moses August 9th, 2011

    Amiga forever!…. in our garage :-P Yeah that computer thing resonates pretty well with me.
    So Ms. Taylor, the first step is admitting I have a problem… Now what?

    –Moses

  12. Kay August 9th, 2011

    Books… I’m trying to trim it down. And more interesting books keep finding their way to me. I’m a book magnet.

    Then my kitchen “stuff” collection. the citrus juicer that has been used thrice in 5 yrs.. etc etc.. I need to pare those down.

    All those outgrown but still looking great clothes of my daughter that I’ll be passing it onto my niece next year but 4 yrs worth of kid clothes is a lot.. I guess I should tackle it by stuffing them in a suitcase and keep it travel-ready instead of taking up valuable space in the closet.

  13. Jules August 9th, 2011

    LOLz! We have a lot of random junk lying around, but nothing substantial enough to be called a “collection”. I refuse to count our five shelves’ worth of books and CDs a collection, even if it is–we get way too much mileage out of them.

    Two things we do collect: glass jars, for canning/jamming with, and cooking things. The last is the result of years of friends gifting us with random kitchen items that they think we might use…

  14. Olivia August 9th, 2011

    I am an incorrigable, second generation pack rat, with a huge sentimental streak. It’s not clothing or books or jewelry for me. Nothing “normal”. Most of my stash has very little monetary value, few of my adult finds cost more than a dollar, many were free, but they do take up space. Childhood rock, blue feathers, stamp, penny and marble collections, adulthood stash of blue and white dishes (used for special occassions). All tell stories. There may come a time when photos of the objects put into a scrapbook will give the same sense of history and family as actually handling them, but not yet. I still enjoy them. And each has their place. Everything is tidy. In twenty years I may become a candidate for “Hoarders”, but not yet.

  15. Deborah August 9th, 2011

    My name is Deborah and I am a dish collector. It is a sickness that is inherited from my mother, I blame her completely. I have over 10 different sets of dishes and countless serving pieces, it is scary and overwhelming lots and lots of storage boxes in the garage that drive my husband crazy. Anyone want to buy some dishes?

  16. sarsteele August 9th, 2011

    I have very strong urges to collect all kinds of things, I just love it! It does get expensive and takes up a lot of space really quickly.
    So, I’ve channeled much of my collecting tendencies into collecting used stamps. May seem boring, but there are so many different stamps in the world that the collection will always have room for expansion and hold an interest for me.
    The #1 rule of my collection is that I can never spend money on it. I must come upon the stamps naturally (so to speak). Either they come on letters mailed to me, or those I come across at the office, family, friends houses, etc…
    So the collection doesn’t take up a lot of space (stamps are small) and it’s free! It’s actually been a huge help to me and has all but stopped much of my other collecting spending. So instead of fighting it, my advice is to try to find a healthier outlet for that collecting bug.

  17. Kelly August 9th, 2011

    For some reason, I collect note-pads! I have a million of them :)

  18. Rahel August 9th, 2011

    I know what you mean, Kelly. I say that notepads collect *me*! I attend a lot of conferences, and the conference bags end up with lots of paper, notepads, notebooks, and pens. I just donated a huge box of those, to clear out an entire drawer in my supply cupboard of my home office.

  19. Kelly August 9th, 2011

    LOL, Rahel – same here! And at banks, and in the mail :)

  20. BKWilliams August 9th, 2011

    This made me laugh out loud! As a young child we moved from Kansas to Northwest Arkansas. My sister and I were in awe of all the rocks we found in Arkansas. We had a dish tub full of rocks we “collected” under our bed. My Dad found our tub and laughed until he had tears rolling down his cheeks. Then he kindly explained to us that even though Kansas had very few rocks, we would NEVER run out of rocks in Arkansas! Now I live in Western Oklahoma, where once again there are few real rocks to be found. You will find some rather large rocks in my yard, that have been brought back from trips to Arkansas.

  21. Tanya August 10th, 2011

    @Melissa – my very creative, talented grandmother did much the same thing. She had all kinds of craft projects for “some day” and many of them never got done. I have the same urges – so I am TRYING to organize and use up what I have before I collect any more. Some day when I finally run out of craft projects (ha!), I’ll get more! Meanwhile, I’ll try to avoid spending by reminding myself to use up the craft supplies I already have.

    This is a great post to make us rethink what we’re holding on to. If you asked me, I’d tell you I don’t “collect” anything because I get bored with too many of the same thing and purge my collections. But when you look at collections as the stuff around your house, it’s eye-opening.

  22. Anne August 10th, 2011

    Books. I have a pile in the living room, the dining room, my closet, the rec room, etc. etc.
    And several book shelves. I do give them away {Or throw them away} but my husband looks at that as almost a sin. :>)
    Maybe I should make one room into a library.

  23. Kelly August 10th, 2011

    This thread made me take a look around the house – and I have a lot of things, including books on three floors. I even have them stacked on the floor in the dining room (neatly, of course!) but it’s amazing what people have and don’t realize!

    I started collecting Breyer Horses, but had to stop, as they were competing on the bookshelf for space.

  24. Erin D August 10th, 2011

    I’m definitely a purger. I don’t keep anything … except pens. You gotta have a nice supply of pens!

  25. Carmen August 11th, 2011

    I am SUCH a collector. Books (trying to pare down), beanies, coins, mice, etc. My latest collection? Yarn. But it’s practical. My mother (also a yarn collector) recently sent me this list of 10 Reasons to Buy Lots of Yarn (http://www.jessica-tromp.nl/knittingpatterns_breipatronen/10%20reasons%20to%20buy%20lots%20of%20yarn.htm) Works for me!

  26. Kerry August 11th, 2011

    @Carmen I mentioned yarn in the post because I once met a yarn collector, and she shocked me. I had never heard of ‘collecting yarn’ before. She had it stored EVERYWHERE in plastic containers to protect it from her cats. :D

  27. Silense August 11th, 2011

    Books for sure. I’ve been able to off par the cost some by using the library. Though I still check out more books than I actually read just as I have books in my collection that are 12 years old of which I’ve read about 5 pages. The other thing, that I like, and collect which is not a physical thing but probably more costly than most is experiences (i.e. trips). If I had the money I’d collect post cards from every city in the US (which includes going there). EVERY CITY. That would be awesome. It’s not happening though.

    Although, I have to bring up my guy, who is also named Carl. Not only does he stockpile old computers (because omg, might be able to use a part from one some day and he has a computer degree and feels obligated to keep them) He also collects star wars stuff. And by stuff I mean books, collector dolls, action figures…and he does the same with G.I. Joe, star trek, transformers. The only reason the house isn’t a case for horders is that the man is constantly broke and thus can’t afford everything. If he could, trust me he’d have a house devoted to his collections which are “a part of his identity” as he has said on occasion. Which is one reason, if I can afford to, I plan to never live in the same house with him (right now I’m still with my parents, and he with his). Going back to his quote, we all have identity quirks. I for one suffer from ego problems which I only keep because as I’ve said on occasion “I’ve been this way since I was eight” and well it’s comfortable to keep long running quirks.

  28. Andrew Kardon August 11th, 2011

    Great post, Kerry! And great site overall, by the way. I totally get your Tweet about not collecting the whole set, as that most definitely is a money burner. I’m a comic book collector… scratch that… comic book reader now. I used to be a collector, and yep, whether a book was atrocious or awesome, I just had to keep getting it to make sure I had every single issue. But I don’t agree completely with your comments about your hubby’s collections. I”ve got a big ol’ box of wires in the garage too. I don’t really consider that a collection, because I don’t actively go out and buy up wires/electronics to store. Instead, as new things come out that I buy, or a new cable box comes with new wires, I put the old ones in a bin for a day when I may need an extra wire. Same goes with screws/nails. I always get extra pieces when I buy furniture, so rather than throw them out, I’ll toss them in my toolbox.

    I understand there’s a limit, though. And storage would certainly eat up some costs. But unless you’re buying up jeans every 5 minutes, I don’t really consider you a Collector or hoarder of them. You just hang on to old ones “just in case.”

  29. Kelly August 11th, 2011

    Andrew – that’s amazing re. comic books. My husband has *every* issue of “Silver Surfer” and special editions, all encased in plastic sleeves and boxed. (Well, except one isn’t mint – he cut out a coupon for those sea horses when he was a kid).

    I can him Sheldon (from “Big Bang Theory”) who does the same on the program :)

  30. Mike Holman August 12th, 2011

    31 pairs of f***ing jeans! Lol.

    What’s up with the barbie doll heads? Does she have them fixed to the tops of pencils in an “Ivan the terrible” display?

    Hilarious post.

  31. Marilou Garon August 13th, 2011

    Love this post! Hilarious!

    What do I collect? I collect pounds. All over my body, and have been doing so for the last 20 years. My first items were from Brazil, from a deep-fried bean ball called Acarajé (filled with a shrimp ragoût). Then there the pounds I brought back from Budapest pastries and those from Vienna Sachertorten. I also have quite a collection of German pounds, from Bretzel, Schmandtorte, Frischkäse and Baumkuchen. Every year, I pick up a few pounds at countryside Sugar Shacks. I have yet to travel to Italy but in the meantime, I picked up a few collector’s items from Roberto Gelateria in Montreal. My most precious collector’s items, however, are from my son: a few well-placed pounds since his birth, that remind me how I love him so!

  32. Michelle August 13th, 2011

    Hilarious article! I think I am going to be doing some purging today!

  33. Umm Huraira August 13th, 2011

    Hijab pins…. (Hijab being the scarves Muslim women wear to cover their hair.)

    I have over 20 of them that I keep “on display” in a frame with some fabric-covered foam. Really, I only need 2, or 4 if I keep a backup set. But somehow, I have 20, and I can’t bring myself to get rid of any of them. The good ones are difficult to find (that’s how I justify my collection).

  34. RachelNichols August 13th, 2011

    I collect books, papers, magazines, notebooks, and other office supplies. I am trying to overcome my hoarding habit. I just bought two new books, so I am getting rid of four.
    I wouldn’t defriend someone for taking a jab at my collection though. If someone is that persnickety about their “stuff” you might ask: do they own their stuff, or vice versa?

  35. Junebug August 13th, 2011

    For the record that is one of my favorite unfriend stories ever! Loved it.

  36. Sue August 13th, 2011

    I am so very guilty as charged. I collect. I am a repurposer. Someday I am going to hire a bulldozer to clean this place out. Someday …

  37. Ninie August 13th, 2011

    I collect classic Disney (or other childhood favourites) VHSs. I love watching these movies over and over. They’re a big comfort and great for background ‘music’ when I’m drawing. :) I know someday I will probably get rid of them (ie. when I can’t find a reliable VHS player)…and then slowly restart my collection with a more modern version/technology.

  38. B62 August 13th, 2011

    As a long time stamp collector, I can attest to the hobby being money well spent. As sarsteele stated, you can do it without spending cash. However, even if you purchase stamps for your collection, you gain knowledge in a large variety of fields including geography, social cultural and political history, printing methods, colour theory, heads of state, composition (arranging and writing up your stamps), exploration, colonialism and independence of modern states, war, art, and much more. Then, besides the broad general knowledge, if you study your stamps carefully you can find varieties that may be new discoveries, and perhaps have monetary value to other collectors. So there is a distinction between just accumulating stamps and collecting studying organizing them at a deeper level that results in both tangible and intangible value. The other big positive about collecting (not only stamps) is belonging to clubs or societies of like-minded individuals. The knowledge, fun and friendships derived from collector club activities is immeasurable. Collecting stamps has greatly enhanced my life. As long as one does not let their collecting hobby run out of control and turn into hoarding, it is a positive activity.

  39. Valerie Palmer August 14th, 2011

    I loved the article, but even more I loved the photos of the barn!!! Do you realise the history of that building, it would have been raised by hand, without nails, from trees probably on the property! Its worth a fortune now. You could turn it into a museum or antique store, tea room or art gallery. You might visulise how life was back then when it was built. Did you do the reseach on the property and when it was setted? Most of all just enjoy it! Valerie

  40. Gail August 14th, 2011

    Thanks for the laughter. I collect dust.

  41. My University Money August 15th, 2011

    Very Entertaining! I am guilty of the expensive hobby of collecting sports jerseys. It’s a connection to my youth and I am not ready to give it up (even though I constantly run out of public occasions to wear them). They say our egos make us collect things because logically it makes little sense (in your case I don’t even know if I would call the jeans a “collection” in the formal sense, because they do in fact have logical uses).

  42. Cindy August 15th, 2011

    I love this article!! 10 teapots and a rather large bookcase which is full and two stacks of books in my bedroom just waiting for me!! I also just ordered my third pair of fluevogs!! I think I may have a problem!

  43. Beth August 16th, 2011

    I helped a friend clean out her closet and gave her no end of grief about her 40 pairs of shoes. Out of curiosity, when I got home I counted up my shoes. Including flats, flip flops, sandals, boots, hiking shoes, crap shoes for the garden, etc… yep, I was around 40 pairs. Dang.

  44. Kathy August 17th, 2011

    My mother never throws anything away. And she collects cooking wear. I believe she has at least 15 sets of pots and pans, 10 sets of silverware. She is always ready for the masses to come and eat at her home. I loved the article. And I think you shouldn’t be ashamed of your 31 pairs of jeans. They will last you awhile and you will always be fashionable.

  45. The Wealthy Canadian August 18th, 2011

    Nice post!

    As a kid I used to collect comic books featuring heroes and characters like Spider-Man, Uncle Scrooge, Batman, Richie Rich…you get the picture. I also had a stamp collection! LOL :)

    Nowadays I focus all my hard-earned dollars and energy in investing and creating wealth.

    With that being said, when I go on vacation, I tend to keep a small item like a coin from another country or if I see a vintage $2.00 Canadian bill for example, I will buy it and keep it. Things like that. But nothing on a large scale where I go on a complete manhunt to find rare coins or things of that nature.

  46. Derek August 19th, 2011

    I have a few small collectibles. Much like Carl i have a few cables, coins, nuts/bolts that one never knows when the wife needs..

    But one thing that scares me more than collections is where do these collections end up when collectors stop collecting? I pondered this while purging a few weeks back. Can you imagine if YOU create this massive purge epidemic based on your post and our landfills suddenly become filled!

    How does one possibly begin to ‘recycle’ a collectors collection when the collector passes.. As an executor to an ‘avid’ collectors will the thought does scare me.

    How does one stop the ‘crap’ induced buying spree to prevent the build up of or collection of crap.. er stuff ( ie. my definition is “something no-longer used during a 3-6 month window yet still somehow remains in ones possession”?

    I agree we should all cut the ‘crap’. Another nice thought inducing post.

  47. Damaro August 20th, 2011

    Great post. Just watching my mom move out of her house, agonizing over how to get rid of stuff that means a lot to her, but nothing to anyone else. Another motivator to prune continuously. I love the feeling of getting rid of stuff.

    You also made me think of a quote I like from Thoreau’s Walden:
    I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of. Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in. Who made them serfs of the soil? Why should they eat their sixty acres, when man is condemned to eat only his peck of dirt?(8) Why should they begin digging their graves as soon as they are born? They have got to live a man’s life, pushing all these things before them, and get on as well as they can. How many a poor immortal soul have I met well-nigh crushed and smothered under its load, creeping down the road of life, pushing before it a barn seventy-five feet by forty, its Augean stables (9) never cleansed, and one hundred acres of land, tillage, mowing, pasture, and woodlot!

  48. RachelNichols August 21st, 2011

    The ironic thing is, many of us inherit not fortunes, but junk. And then we can’t get rid of the china made in Japan that Aunt Sue left us, because it’s sacred to her memory and would be like vandalizing her grave. My mother is still alive, but she is always giving me stuff and more stuff. Then I feel guilty about giving it away. She’ll only give me more anyhow, because she will think I don’t have enough, when she sees I only have 6 or 7 outfits to wear. That should be enough–right? One outfit per day of the week. Sometimes I just don’t know or think others know what constitutes enough. In Haiti you are considered well to do if you have more than a change of clothes and a single pair of shoes. Hmmm.

  49. Support Spy August 22nd, 2011

    I have over 75 model boats. They range in size from 3 cm long to more than a metre and I’ve been collecting for 25 years. I have some stored in our cellar but most of them have taken over every bit of shelf space in our basement.

    They actually do have sentimental value since they were acquired from many places around the world. They come from all over North, Central, and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and as far away as India & Japan. Still working on Australia and Africa.

    Oh yeah, I collect wires, cables and cords too. My box of wires looks eerily similar to Carl’s. You never know when RCA cables are needed or when parallel/serial cables may come back into style ;-)

  50. 24Savvy August 24th, 2011

    The beautiful thing about living in a NYC apartment is that it literally would never occur to me to collect anything because there’s NOWHERE to put it. We just tell friends and family to forego gift-giving and either make a donation or give us something edible/consumable.

  51. Katie September 19th, 2011

    teacups. I get them at the goodwill though, so I usually pay about $0.25 each for them. All my other collections are on pinterest which is pretty cost effective, though not very time efficient.

  52. hoarder anonymous December 28th, 2011

    WIth a sabbatical to clean up my stuff, my husband’s, my kids [who no longer live at home}, and in spite of several house moving over the years…we have boxes of stuff stacked in the basement. My husband purchased Rubbermaid plastic totes to sort and store our university textbooks from nearly 40 years. There are neatly stacked 4 high, 3 wide: now, who will ever read textbooks from 40 years ago in economics or finances? Admittedly my books are worth keeping of course. because, you see, I studied Plato and the other dead old white guys: Aristotle, Kant, Sartre and a whole lot of others. Their writings don’t change, like economics when a new theory replaces the old one, or improve with age like a good wine…We could ditch the lot really…
    There is also this thing about blue and white….the cottage is blue, and blue and white dishes are so varied and beautiful. Now that the kids have left the house, they won’t break them and I have more disposable income…I sense my problem getting worse.
    I have not mentioned the weaving looms and the warn: I used to teach weaving but my looms have been inactive for over 10 years. The the rubbermaid totes of yearn….
    OK, this is the year to tackle this, starting 6 months ago. Thus far, I got rid of one entire bookshelf, which got me a credit of $137 at the Second Hand Bookstore so I can buy more books….
    HELP!

  53. A cook December 29th, 2011

    Bowls, bowls and more bowls. My husband comes up behind me in kitchen stores, peeks over my shoulder and says, in THAT voice which is two octaves higher, “oh, look, a bowl!” Then there is his obsession with jackets….

  54. Therese Dullmaier December 29th, 2011

    OH MY GOD we are married to the same man! My German Karl-Heinz collects (I call it hoards) the same old electronic crap, including cables! We don’t live on a farm, we live in a small town on the Rhine River in Germany. I once suggested we might want to scale down from our large four bedroom home once the kids move out. His repsonse: “We need the room for our stuff!”!!! Is this a German man thing? Mine’s cheap too but I know THAT is a German thing, maybe they’re connected in like you never know when you might need it.

  55. Jessica December 29th, 2011

    My husband and I are shamelessly all about books. And we, too, have amassed a nice tangle of wires and gizmos. We’re in the process of down-sizing…^^;

  56. venus December 30th, 2011

    Pens, dozens and dozens of pens. Floaty pens, gel pens, etc. Also pyrex of all shapes and sizes. And Christmas vintage stuff..Books…I can never throw out a book or even donate it. I have bookshelves full of books. Mostly fiction.

  57. Mountain? December 31st, 2011

    My sister collects Mont Blanc pens: one to sign her first weeding contract, her first job contract, her first divorce, her house purchase, her second marriage contract., …

  58. Ann December 31st, 2011

    Moved from Quebec to Northern California a month ago. My company paid for the move and limited my van haul to 6500lbs, so I was forced to get rid of a LOT of stuff. At first I felt lost without all my crap, but in the process of setting up my new home I feel free… My kitchen cupboards have 3 mixing bowls, 1 colander, 1 set of cutlery for 8, 1 set of dishes for 8, 3 cooking pots, 2 pans… You get the idea. I went from a large kitchen to a much smaller one, but I now have room for everything :) I have a Wedgwood jasperware collection I no longer have room to display so it will go on eBay. The move really stamped out my collector urges… the ‘zen’ feeling in my new house is worth more to me than a load of useless crap. Hopefully it will stay that way :)

  59. misha December 31st, 2011

    I collect books but having moved out of my large family home into my own place i’ve had to throw out a lot of books. i give them to the local municipal library so that if i want to read them again i can and others can also get to enjoy them. i am starting wonder abt ebooks though – more compact. any thoughts?

  60. Lori December 31st, 2011

    OMG!!!! This is a great reminder to remember to purge those collections. I am a quilter and I knit,and I love to collect fabric and Yarn. Though I am not that bad on either front,but still have to much. I know quilters that have rooms full of fabric and I really do mean “rooms full.” Sometimes it is just to pretty to cut up! But I am going on a purge in Jan. and getting rid of a lot of my collections, I hope.
    thanks for a great laugh

  61. anna January 4th, 2012

    This post was AWESOME. Not only was it funny, but the pictures made me die laughing as i read along. And you made your point…collections cost time, money and energy, not to mention they most likely drive your partner/parents/kids crazy. This was some of the most enjoyable reading I’ve had in a long while…thanks for re-sharing!

  62. Althea January 7th, 2012

    Some of us are children of depression era parents that had nothing and kept everything, because who knew if you would get anymore. It has been very difficult for my sister and I to get rid of things, because of that up bringing. We were very poor and we treasured all that we had. I hope we never get to that state again in our lives…if we do, my sister and I will know how to survive. Thank you for a great blog.

  63. jane @ Live Rich and Free January 24th, 2012

    I collect jokers from decks of cards. My rule is that they have to be free, so I can ask people for the joker out of their cards, but I can’t buy cards just for the joker.

    I have about 500 but they fit in a box the size of, well, ten decks of cards. And they’re from all over the world. I’m looking forward to some day using them to decorate… something. But for now, they are a fun, free, and easy-to-store collection.

  64. Erin February 23rd, 2012

    I’m happy to say that I am not a collector. People keep giving me blank notebooks as gifts (should I take the hint to become a writer?) but after moving 14 times in the last 15 years, I have done away with all but the most necessary, useful books, clothing, toiletries. I love using stuff up – used up all my toiletries (it took MONTHS) before buying more, I get my books, magazines and DVDs from the library (don’t have to store them and they are FREE!) and follow the one item in, one item out rule for clothes and accessories. I have never regretted anything I’ve given away either. If I need it, I’m sure it will come along.

    My only issue has been gifts – I have a world travelling sister who is always giving me cool stuff she found on her trip. I live in a 500 sq. ft. condo – I have NO room!

    I am finding all these collections really interesting though – jokers from decks of cards? Cool! Neat display options there.

  65. Harriet March 6th, 2012

    I feel re-inspired to keep decluttering. I’m a collecter by nature so I at least have some self-awareness – I know it’s hard to let go but I try dammit! My husband, on the other hand, could go toe-to-toe with yours!

  66. Suzanne L March 18th, 2012

    Pens. I get them during the back-to-school sales and can’t help it. Then there is the whole stationary thing. Greeting card, post-it notes and clear covers for reports and stuff.

    Also, I cannot pass up a comfy down-filled vest or jacket in my favourite second hand store, where I get almost everything I wear. I lived in Winnipeg as a student who while waiting for buses in the cold learned my love for down even when it wasn’t fashionable. It has to fit me though so that limits it a bit.

  67. Sue June 4th, 2012

    LOVE your sarcastic style of writing. Sure gets the point across whilst creating a smile.
    Me? I collect – everything. Nothing, it seems gets moved out! Bills from 1973, clothes from 1975…arghhhh

  68. KT June 12th, 2012

    I, too, love your sarcasm – my favorite trait in people. I believe it shows a higher level of intelligence.

    Anyhoooo, I have a couple of Rubbermaid storage containers of yarn which I use to make gifts and wearables to donate to charity. Not really a collection, I guess. But I do have about 2 dozen music boxes which are displayed in a glass case. These were gifts. Received the first one, then when people wanted to gift me, they remembered that I must like music boxes! LOL! When the display case was full, I put the word out that I was no longer “collecting” music boxes.

    But I do have a collection to which I add on a regular basis. It takes no more space than a business size envelope or a folder on my computer. I collect unusual names. It started when I read a newspaper article about Mrs. Shirley Shirley in California. What are the odds that a woman with the first name of Shirley would marry a man with the last name of Shirley? I don’t go looking for the names, but when they appear, I save the news article in my one envelope or copy/paste the article from the internet and save it in a folder on my computer. Some examples for their alliteration: Betty (Buck) Brown, Ronald Reed “Robbie” Robison, Megan Mergenhagen, Dorosey Dorofey . Then there are Griffith Griffith, Hazel Brown, Olive Green, Krystal Ball, Candy Kane, Cinnamon Brown, and Candy Barr. Nothing amazing, but they put a smile on my face. :-)

  69. Olivia June 12th, 2012

    For KT

    Possible additions to your collection. My husband Arthur, had a classmate whose mom was Virginia, she married Mr. Ham. Art’s mom had a classmate named Francis Furter.

  70. KT June 12th, 2012

    Olivia, thanks for the additions! ;-) What are the odds that Virginia would marry a Ham? Some names are deliberate, but others are serendipitous.

  71. Maripat August 1st, 2012

    Marilou, your collection of pounds sounds like it has been well earned, especially the final contributor, your son. What a darling comment.
    And Damaro, I am copying that Thoreau quote to save a revisit. Smart man.

    Kerry this post was amazing and the comments hilarious. People who live in glass houses and all that…

  72. KJ August 2nd, 2012

    Happy to hear I am not the only one who collects books, especially those I will read “one day when I have more time.” I’m also guilty of collecting jewelry and if you were to ask my spouse he would add shoes to the list. Like those 31 pair of jeans it’s a necessity to have shoes for different outfits, colors, seasons & occasions!

  73. Allegro November 6th, 2012

    What a brilliant post! This got me thinking…I never used the word “collector” but I am, and I am feeling a bit guilty: piano sheet music and chamber music scores (a whole, entire closet full) but playing chamber music is my main hobby, paper and craft supplies that I do not use as often as I would like (all purchased on sale),’shoes, jeans in EVERY size and makeup. All bought on sale, but that does not justify it, really, does it? Got me thinking…

  74. darlene June 10th, 2013

    The Fox? Are you located on the lower mainland? About to go out to the health food store and get the Xanthan Gum to make a frappaccio now! My big collector problem is magazines. Have a ton of garden ones, and some cooking ones like Gourmet! And now I have subscribed to two more so the cycle is about to change… every month a new one comes out I am going to toss the other or better yet cut off the address tag and add them to my dentist or doctors collections! my little reuse scheme rather than put to the recycle.
    And with the coffee drink LOL going to go for the whip cream and think carmel sauce….

  75. Jin July 11th, 2013

    We all have our collections of something. Unless you have reached a state of enlightenment, it’s not fair to call out anyone about collecting if you have one yourself.

  76. Paul March 30th, 2014

    As much as I have to agree with cutting off ‘collecting’, a lot of people simply cannot help themselves! Personally, I like to collect all sorts of things, but the real joy comes in how cheap I can get them, or even get them free with coupons or barter. I too have a passion for saving money and want to help people save on my blog savelikepaul.com.

  77. TwoYellowDogs.Terri August 29th, 2014

    Kerry, I could (probably) write a book about collecting and (probably) should. And there are (probably) may aspects of collecting that has everything to do with SAVING MONEY! Yes Kerry, there is (probably) a healthy relationship between collecting/saving stuff and being a minimalist. Right now I’m in a big big hurry so no time to write… but I’m gonna get back to you on this. The (probable) healthy relationship between saving stuff (for later to save $$) and the other extreme of minimalist that throws everything away. (And gotta LOVE CARL for saving all the computer hardware… we had a similar situation, and finally sat down and sifted through all the old computers, cables, electronics and downsized to a reasonable stash)… We still used our recycled stash of electronics and cables to fix, repair, create new items that we don’t have to replace/buy. Go Carl!

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with a "*".

*

*

Technorati Profile