Friday, August 10, 2007

Things I collect, whether I want to or not!

The theme for August’s Write-Away Contest over at Scribbit is “Collecting”. You’re supposed to write about:

your collections, things you've collected, what you wish you'd collected in the past--serious or funny, however you'd care to tackle this. I want to see what gets you excited and scampering to ebay.

Well, I think in my case, it’s probably more about what I don’t collect! Starting from when I was a kid, I was a major pack-rat and I saved everything. I’m not talking major, expensive hobbies here like stamp or coin collecting. Nope – more like the piles of travel brochures I’d bring back from every single trip we went on. Not to mention the postcards I’d buy at every stop, the bags of shells from every beach, you get the idea. It’s like I had this need to bring back as much as I could to prolong the whole experience of the trip. And so you may ask, what did I do with these wonderful collections of – stuff? Pretty much nothing. I’d put everything in a bag or a box and there it would sit, taking up space in my room or closet. When my mom sold that house and I had to either move or get rid of everything left there, I lost my pack-rat tendencies pretty quickly. It’s amazing how motivated you can get to throw things away when you have to fit everything into a tiny Chevy Sprint to haul back to your tiny apartment!

Since college, I’ve moved 11 times. Yes, that’s 11 times in just over 13 years. Until we moved to this house almost 4 years ago, I hadn’t lived for more than 2 years in any one place since that tiny college apartment. And I moved 3 times just in 1997 alone! And with every move, a little more of my ‘collecting’ and pack-rat-ish-ness (gee, I wonder if that word’s in Websters, lol) fell by the wayside. Until there are very few things that I keep now. I have enough clutter from my kids’ things, let alone my own.

But here’s a (nowhere near complete) list of the things I used to hang onto: Every magazine I ever used to get. Pennies. Those movie theatre tickets. Travel brochures. Shells. Rocks. Leaves. Photographs (yes, I have over 20 photo albums!). Clothes I’d outgrown but really liked. School textbooks. School notebooks and folders with stuff from old classes. Pens. Notepads. Paper clips. Stuffed animals. Beanie Babies (yes, I’m embarrassed to admit!). Refrigerator magnets. Buttons. Old, expired credit cards. Books. Videotapes of tv shows and music videos I liked (those would be a laugh to watch someday though, I think). Awards (medals, trophies, ribbons). Newspapers that had important headlines or news stories.

Hmm, I think maybe I had a bit of OCD going on, don’t you? Although I think I maybe got some of it from my mom who (until she sold our house and moved into one about 1/10th the size) had kept literally every single paper or project that my brother and I ever brought home from preschool or school, plus every single one of our baby teeth. Actually, I think she may even still have the teeth.

Now that I look at this list, I do have to admit to still having way too many of these things! And some of them that I still collect. Maybe I’m more OCD than I ever thought (or wanted to admit). I mean every year our city comes out with a community education recreation guide for activities and classes for kids, and guess who has every single one from the first year we moved here? Or when we lived in Muskegon and I kept (and still have) the brochure from every single year’s Summer Celebration? And yes, I do have every Reader’s Digest that I’ve gotten since I subscribed 10 years ago. And photos - except now they're taking up way too much hard drive space instead of photo albums... And I still have the bin of clothing I’d outgrown but couldn’t bring myself to get rid of. I haven’t looked in the thing in years but it’s followed me faithfully from apartment to apartment to house… Yikes. I think some fall cleaning and a massive Goodwill donation are in order here!

And yes, I do collect some things on purpose. I have a nice collection of things related to lighthouses (little model ones, mugs, key chains, photos of the ones I’ve been to, etc.). And these are proudly displayed (if slightly dusty – ok, maybe more than slightly) in the curio cabinet in my living room, along with some nice pictures on our living room walls. And I have a kind of neat collection of various kinds and sizes of Diet Pepsi glass bottles as well as one empty and unopened can I got once in a 12-pack on a fluke. That collection’s kind of buried on the bookshelves in our basement (and way more than slightly dusty). And I still keep up my refrigerator magnet collection but now I just collect one from every place I travel to or visit, and only a few of the nicest ones are displayed on the side of my fridge. It’s a nice (cheap) way to keep a souvenir without bringing back piles of travel brochures, lol. Oh and Christmas tree ornaments – I buy a few more of those every year, but they’re (usually) fairly cheap and easy to display as well. Or packed away for 11 months out of the year.

I won’t even go into the things I collect that I really don’t want to collect (you know – dust, piles of clutter, odd parts of toys or games that I don’t know where they go, my husband’s dirty socks, bills…). Oh and fast-food meal kids’ toys. Those things have a tendency to multiply when you’re not looking. I think they simply collect themselves. At least it seems that way when I’m stepping on or tripping over them in the middle of the floor. I think the garbage can is a good place to store that collection, don’t you? ;)

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3 wonderful people said...:

pinks & blues girls said...

I'm getting better at getting rid of stuff, but it's hard! I tend to hold onto things with any kind of sentimental value!

My mom did save the newspaper from the day I was born, and the papers from a few of my birthdays since then. I still have them, and I think they're great to look through every once in awhile!

Jane, P&B Girls

Scribbit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scribbit said...

I think my favorite is the old used up credit cards, that's a hoot. I usually give them to my daughter for her purse to play with.