Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Thin Line Between A Collector And Hoarder.

A few weeks back I was supposed to be writing up my 100th blog post here, but instead on strong encouragement from my wife, I cleaned out our closet. To say I've packed a bit of stuff (i.e. junk) in there would be quite an understatement. Going through boxes upon boxes of stuff started a bit of self examination. Add to this the passing of Gary Head (aka Gary Goggles) of the G.I.Joe collectors community at such an early age that weekend, my feelings surrounding collecting and what it means to do so in the present began to trouble me a bit.

In my cleaning I didn't exactly find anything I didn't know about, but did get an idea of just how much crap I have when it was all placed out in the open in one room. And I'm not even including toys in this really. But that is a problem as well. The issue that sparked my current thoughts was my attraction to design, product design mostly. I love packaging. I love packaging art and I tend to place packages away that really strike me. However, when you have 3 large totes, and 5 boxes full of empty packages and containers, well, it's something. And when I say something, it's just a nice way of saying kind of fucked up.

Monster Cereals Frakenberry Lucky Charms Creme Soda rare pop Ferrara Pan candy

In one tote was a collection of empty cereal boxes. The oldest goes back to 1994, not old if you are a cereal collector of course, but I'm not. No, I just collect the boxes because I like them, any general value is probably lost due to not having the cereal itself, and being flattened. I also had a bunch of boxes that held pop/soda cans. By far the largest amount of packaging I have collected has come from candy. Again, some of my packages go back 20-25 years.

Japanese pretz candy Carl snacks Pocky Hello Kitty toys candy chocolate

Now as if collecting packages from items I grew up on wasn't bad enough, I have also collected items from Japan rather heavily. My last trip to Japan I spent $250 on candy alone. But I don't just hold on to Japanese candy packages, it's also boxes that held curry, or corn crisps, and potato chips, or microwave cake mixes. I had a box for Gundam popsicles at one point but seem to have lost that to time.

Japanese Ramune soda bottles Creme Soda vanila Fanta soda melon creme Japan

I don't limit myself to just keeping paper goods, I am more than willing to hold onto glass bottles and metal pop cans. Canadian creme soda cans, Japanese ramune soda bottles, a Coke bottle from China. All things that I feel have some artistic merit to them, and that I just have a fondness for. I don't just keep 1 of each though, in some cases I have 4-6 of an item. Why do I need 6 Red Creme Soda cans from a Canadian grocery store? I don't.

Hostess Twinkies box banana original Sara Lee cakes KB Toys In-N-Out Burger awesome

I have a number of Twinkies boxes, but not to be left out I've also collected what I consider to be Twinkies knock offs.  I have bags from old toy stores that have long gone out of business, some of which I guess I didn't even really frequent often. I also have Steak 'n Shake and In-N-Out Burger take out bags just for good measure.

As I said, this isn't really about toys, or at least wasn't that weekend, but I have to admit in some ways toys will no doubt factor in. As a collector who can "go all in" rather quickly as evidenced by my rapid build up of G.I.Joe Kre-O toys, I have to be more cautious about what I spend, and what I take in. I have a finite amount of space living in an apartment, and sharing that space with another. And with each step I take to try and limit myself, like selling 80% of my modern G.I.Joe toys, or attempting to sell off my Star Wars collectibles, it doesn't help when I bring more of those particular things in. Even though most of my Star Wars items are up for sale, I still went out on grabbed an 18inch Biker Scout and a Black Series Speeder Bike on my birthday. I bought these because I love the Biker Scout design, always have. But I have to put more effort into thinking about what is best and maybe what is best is for me to not have bought these. Even if they are really damn awesome toys.

One other collection of items in storage was 2 totes and 4 boxes of Sylvanian Families toys. I haven't made much if any mention of those here on this blog yet, but my God I have a lot of them. Well at least a lot for someone who isn't even a hardcore collector of the toys. Sort of. I have actually been to the Sylvanian Families restaurant in Tokyo.

I think I've been able to hide a lot of these things I collect from others, and really put them out of my own mind because they are light, they are easily stored away and just don't really see the light of day. My other hoarder-like vice isn't so easy to conceal. I love books. Art books, music biography books, movie guides, comics, graphic novels, how to's, cook books, language books, pictorial travel guides, jut so much more than I can list. And they are heavy, and they take up a lot of space, and I just need to let some of them go. As I continue to collect toy and anime/manga related books I am bringing in too much, and maybe some of the less collectible type books find new homes.

I don't want to give the impression that I am somehow ashamed or embarrassed of what I have accumulated, but I'm pretty honest with myself, and I can see if this isn't a real issue now (and I think it is), it could become much worse later. There no reason I couldn't scan all these items, or maybe at the very least half of them while keeping just my absolute favorites. I feel a change could help lift me out of a collector's funk that I've been in for some time now. We'll see.

toy collector hoarder pop cans Japanese candy Japanese ramune soda

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