Love/Hate. It’s accurate with a toy car collection. There is not much in between.
You can’t be a collector if there isn’t some aspect of love for what you are collecting. There are a million reasons why someone might get into collecting. Hopefully it relates to the joy of something.
But there are also a million reasons why – usually diagnosable – someone might get TOO MUCH into collecting. That is a constant battle for a serious collector. Something that can bring a lot of joy on one hand can also bring a ton of frustration to those around them as well. That is an article I will write someday in depth, but needless to say I am very cognizant of what being a collector can do, and I set very specific limits. Doing this whole Lamley thing developed from a need to make the time spent on my collection productive in other ways. Writing, photography, building a brand, relationships, etc.
I have found a nice balance, under that #tranquilcollecting tag I use. Collecting has to be a joy, it can’t be a burden on me or my family, I focus on things I like, keep a small network of fellow collector friends, and I try to avoid at all costs the vitriol that can emerge from the social media aspects of collecting. Oh, and try to not get overwhelmed by my collection.
It is that last point that is really hard. And that is where the love/hate swings really happen. As much joy as I get from singular experience of seeing a new Hot Wheels Car Culture gem, or putting together a few Tomica Limited Vintage cars, there is a ton of frustration that comes from the global aspect of having a collection. It can be overwhelming. Too f*#%ing much.
I’m there right now. This weekend worked out as a time for me to go through the collection and try to clean it up. It is very important for me that everything have a place. My rule is if my collection can’t fit in my small office, I need to cut it down. So now is the time.
Some of the clean up involves getting the extras out. Unboxing cases are donated, items sent for showcases go to storage, and a whole lot of cardboard is broken down and put in the recycle bin. Donating those models is something, obviously, that I love. I know the hospitals I give them to put them to very good use, and I am glad the way the blog and channel is set up, I can do that. I know my friends at Mattel and A&J Toys are happy the stuff they send end up there as well. It is a cool silver lining.
But it is the additional burden of having a collection that can so overwhelming. Maybe you feel that, maybe you don’t. But I have to think there are times you look at all the stuff accumulated and wish you could make it vanish in a split second. But then again, you know there is a decent amount of money and time locked into those items, and it would be nice to get some of it back. Time is gone, but maybe you can recover a dollar or two on the stuff you no longer have space for.
And that is where the vicious cycle runs its course. I like my small collection. I like when it doesn’t take a ton of space. I like so many new items coming out. I like having space for them. I also like getting rid of things, and through a transaction transferring them to someone else who can get joy out of them.
I don’t like the time it takes.
I am honestly not writing this to offer a solution, I am just writing about the experience it is to be a collector, and wonder if you go through the same thing. The joys outweigh the frustrations, but the frustrations can be burdensome. The intimate view is great, the global view a pain. Do you feel that too?
The key is to pursue a tranquil approach, set specific limits, and stick to them. Correct those limits when you don’t, but always be open to what you enjoy. A vicious cycle it is.
I will get through this weekend, hopefully have a clean, spacious office, and I can pick another weekend to take some time and list a few things that others might want. The frustration will wear off. I will enjoy making a video, or get a photo from Mattel of something coming that I will get super excited about, or enjoy the next mix of TLV to arrive. The joy will always conquer. For now.