Naomi and I are collectors. We love old stuff. Our homes are full of it. Old dolls, bears and toys, kitchen appliances, typewriters, sewing machines and even a vacuum cleaner or two. We have no time for minimalist living. We feel most at home when surrounded by our stuff.
A lot of people would say that it is all junk, it takes up space and doesn’t work. Actually some of it does. Naomi regularly uses her old kitchen appliances and usually they work just fine. We won’t talk about the mixer that died spectacularly in the middle of making a cake.
There is a sense of nostalgia about finding a doll or toy that you owned as a child. If you still have one that you have had for fifty years or more that’s even more special.
Then there are books and vinyl records and even these days CD’s. I know a lot of people even my age and older who have switched over to reading eBooks or listening to audiobooks and have got rid of all their hard copies, who have digitised their movie and music collection and download everything they need. There is nothing wrong with that. I do it too. I have a Kindle, I have an Audible account and I stream TV and music. I still have my books though. Even if they were available in Kindle or audio form I would not get as much pleasure from my doll books, railway books and other non fiction books if I could not see the illustrations. Sometimes I like to be able to go and get a book from the shelf to browse through and I am not going to throw out perfectly good books, records and CD’s that it took me years to collect.
Sometimes we like to go to markets and swap meets and there will often be men there with tables of old tools, car parts and other things that look like junk to me. I wouldn’t buy them but I don’t judge. There are people who love this stuff. They are restoring cars, or maybe they like the sturdiness of old tools or just like the way they look and want to display them in their shed or man cave. And why not? Who is it harming? “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
There are TV shows about hoarders. It is true that some poor souls do have a problem and their houses are full of actual rubbish because they can’t bring themselves to throw anything away. They do need help. However, collecting is not hoarding and these shows make me so angry that I can’t watch them at all even though I know that like most reality TV they are probably fake. I hate the attitude of the so called experts who come in and tell you what you can and can’t keep. How dare they! “No you can’t have 200 dolls, pick out half a dozen that you like and send the rest to the tip or to a charity shop.” My blood boils just thinking of it. Luckily, I know that no relative of mine would ever force me to give up the things I love.
One day I might start to sell or give away certain things that I want to go to good homes when I am not around anymore but if and when that happens it will be my choice.