My house has always been interesting. It’s colorful, one of a kind and filled with the many many things that interest me. From Hello Kitty and Harry Potter to Barbie and pop art, shoes and a full cast of superheroes every inch is covered with something I find interesting. I’m a collector at heart and I seem to amass “collections” of anything and everything without trying. This habit started when I was a child and has never changed. I remember boxes of bubble gum machine football helmets, baseball sticker books, pen collections, fast food toys and glasses, pin/button collections not to mention novels, teen or music magazines and a rather large pile of Snoopy novelties and toys that littered my youth.
I was kind to my toys and always concerned with saving their good looks – forever! Yes I was born a collector. I even have a Fisher Price Lunch Box that was discontinued the year I was born. I remember playing with this toy throughout my entire life yet it has survived my childhood, many moves and my entire adulthood so far completely intact and barely worn. It sits on a shelf with my Darcy Dolls and Strawberry Shortcake Miniatures that will never leave me. Some things I can see letting go of; some things I can see with me until my very end. Somehow these collections new and old make my life feel more liveable. I love their stories and the adventures they bring to my every day. Sometimes like with comics collecting even brings people along with the stuff and that can be a great thing too!
My current collections revolve a lot around comics. I love comics. It’s true those slick pages full of superheroes and antiheroes alike, some people see a waste of time, I see brightly coloured volumes that bring me infinite joy and actually entertain my whole brain at once. Very few things keep me entirely occupied so I value the time I give myself immersed in other worlds, it’s important to my mental wellbeing.
I was warned by my comic guy when I first started this trek that once you start it’s a quick slippery slope to fall down and there’s no getting back up. He wasn’t kidding. I’ve finished cataloging my comics and in only a few short years I have over 1700 of them. My goal is to keep under 500 and to have those 500 concentrate on the characters and genres I really like. The rest I need to sell so I can buy more comics! Really I need to sell some because they are taking over my entire house. Every extra space has a short box fit into it. They may be painted, they may be lovely, but the boxes are multiplying faster than Tribbles. I may love comics, but I don’t want to become a hoarder because of them and that’s how the massive piles are making me feel.
Besides comics my husband and I have a love of Super Hero memorabilia and the thrill of finding things we can’t live without. Many vacations have been spent haunting the halls of comic cons looking for just the right things to add to our home. It’s unique and fun, but it’s also made our house cluttered and full. Our buyer frenzy over we are thinning these shelves as well; keeping the things we truly love and selling the rest. It may seem weird, it’s really not. Selling the excess will let us take more trips and concentrate our purchases on the things we really like. I like books he likes statues and coin banks, we both like art. We have almost 100 boxed figures 75 of which we have decided to do without. We enjoyed having them, it just turns out that our tastes have evolved and instead of everything Hulk or everything Batman we want a few amazing things of each as a tribute. Our collection has become an entity of its own and unless my husband and I build it its own tiny home there’s new homes for them in the future.
I love Converse All Star shoes so that’s all I wear. I have a collection. Not a collection of solid colors, but a varied collection of colors, patterns and special editions. From sequins to Marilyn Monroe, summer slides to winter boots and the socks that line them my feet are only adorned by Converse. I had a pair custom created with Swarovski crystals for my wedding. I have another pair custom again with Swarovski Crystals, more than 3000 red and white sparkling lovelies adorn my special edition Canada Flag Converse. Red canvas, red rubber, red logo glowing, they are truly amazing and since I never wear them I often display them as the art pieces they most definitly are. In fact I have created a display in my room so I can look at all of my phenomenal offerings when I want to without having to wear them all of the time. I also have plans to transform a cedar chest into a one of a kind shoe box, partitions and all dedicated to my shoe passion. Many of these have been worn once or not at all and will find a home at my online store. Again I only have them if they were an insane deal, reselling them will be profitable.
I like handbags, more importantly I like brand name handbags at prices I can afford and the exciting chase to find them. I fondly call it my Betsy collection because I super love Betsy Johnson bags, but you’ll still find some Kate, Coach and Burberry hanging on the rack because I believe in taking advantage of great opportunities and I love telling the stories of how they came to be a part of my life. I use my handbags until there is no life left in them so I have let go of them ones screaming “I’m over used” and polished up the ones left behind. It’s a small collection that I love; before I make the move to tiny it will be even smaller.
To say I love Barbie is an understatement. I collect Barbie and have since I was in my late teens. I have almost every Holiday Barbie since 1989 and so many others in between that I’ve actually started selling them to take control of the overwhelming numbers. I’m keeping anything sentimental and letting go of everything else. It’s not that I’ve lost interest it’s that I’ve run out of space. I don’t want things in storage, unless they’re for sale. Everything I keep for me needs to be on display.
I have a China cabinet of beautiful treasures. The cabinet itself was an amazing gift from my husband. I’m hoping to keep the cabinet and build it into the tiny house we are planning, but it will have to be for realistic living items, the treasures will have to be thinned to the bare minimum. My great grandmother’s dish set may be the only one I move forward and maybe my cow creamers everything else will become an eBay listing.
Because my husband and I love so many things our life together has become a cluttered mess. Letting go of the clutter is a good thing on so many levels. I’ve been letting go of things for years. The process has been cathartic and for the most part satisfying, I think we are down to things with value, either monetary or sentimental, with very little in between. Now the hard part happens. What to keep? What to let go of? How to keep each person happy with limited space and infinite possibilities ….
I’ve been following tiny home movements, minimalistic movements and the concept of having less, yet living more, for the past few years. Looking around my current home it’s impossible to imagine that I could do this, let alone that I could do this husband and pack of pets in tow, but I say I can. One of the biggest obstacles for me, facing a move of this magnitude, is to let go of the dusty piles that represent my almost half century on Earth and the eccentricity that has accompanied it. Never fear my plans for the next home suggest it too will be a one of a kind, it will just be a one of a kind with a lot less stuff.
Downsizing has opened me up to some all new loves. I looked around and took stock of the treasures in my life and realized moving them on to their next home will also be rewarding. My love of collecting has given me a wealth of knowledge and infinite sources for information. Plus it has given me the opportunity for a part time career that hopefully will be rewarding and fun as I move into a whole new phase of my life. Every collector knows they will have to learn to sell their passions at some point to keep feeding the fires and thinning the herds. I’ve been careful. Items are still in boxes, plastic wrappers are intact. I wear gloves to read comics, sure to never bend the pages, break the spine or leave a book outside of a bag and board when not being read. I honor my things for the investment I always thought they would be.
I have E-bay listings. Sales are happening and so far I’ve sold everything at a profit, a couple of items at amazing profits. I’m researching an online store and the best platform to support my plans and fill my small business needs. I’ve picked a name for the online store and I’m in the process of having a logo put together. My lifelong passion for all things pop art and pop culture, not to mention 28 years in retail, split between two major corporations, leads me to believe that I can do this. My penchant for being a “know it all” will be an asset when shopping, pricing and building my little empire. I’m not really doing this to be rich. I’m doing it to be free, while still enjoying all of the things collecting brings to my life.
I’ll never stop collecting, I’m just going to stop hoarding my collections. I’m going to treat my ownership of most things like a foster situation and seek out good homes for all the treasures I find – so I can go on life’s little adventures and find more. I look forward to comic cons, antique trips and outlet shopping to Converse and Kate Spade stores everywhere. I also look forward to the thrill of packing up items and shipping them off, to make room for more, selling at a profit and making the hunt for the next thing a constant reality. I think I’m up to the challenge and I’m ready for it! Sometimes it’s almost like everything that’s come before now has been a dress rehearsal and this online store is the first time I’ll be taking the stage, doing the real thing, for the right reasons and hopefully at the right time.
I have a few other plans in the works, but becoming a full circle collector – both buyer and seller, sometimes even finder – has been a goal of mine from the beginning. I feel a sense of accomplishment every time I accept a bid or post a new item. Watching my online store come to fruition is empowering and overwhelming all at the same time. The fear of failure looms large in my mind; yet it’s a thought quickly banished when I go over my list of plans, repeating them with the same dedication Arya Stark repeated her list for revenge. If it seems like I’m plotting something I am. If this facet of the plan doesn’t work I move on and try the next thing.
I was born a collector. I grew to be a seller. I plan to be a success. Life comes with options and collecting is one of mine.