As my regular followers are aware, I’m a collector of ephemera, postcards, photographs and all sorts of historical memorabilia. The collecting isn’t completely unrestrained though. In an effort to avoid becoming one of those hoarders that feature on reality T.V. shows I have three key rules in place to keep my collecting addiction in check.
1: Paper items only. This rule has done more than any other to keep me away from hoarder territory. It wasn’t always this way. In my youth my collection extended to include fossils, bayonets, first world war military stretchers, antique helmets and other headgear, wireless radio sets, opera glasses and all sorts of oddities. They now sit in a storage unit in Christchurch (yeah I know, safe place for an antique collection right?). Paper items are much more manageable. They are easy to store, look nice in albums and are fun to share both online and in person.
2: Go easy on the books. I had to add this rule as the “Paper items only” needed a qualifier. Yes books are mostly paper, but with the assistance of second-hand book shops and the annual Regent Theatre book sale my living space would quickly turn into a library to rival that of Alexandria. I maintain a small but healthy bookshelf, mostly of historical fiction and non-fiction and while I do regularly frequent book sales I’ve become much more selective about any additions I make. That complete set of 1830’s volumes on ‘English Personalities’ seemed useful at the time of purchase but now they are stacked on top of my New Zealand Wars carbine box in a lonely storage unit.
3: Nothing more recent than 1950. There has to be a cut off point somewhere and while the exact year is arbitrary and varies from collection to collection the rough date is usually somewhere between 1945 (when the war ended) and 1953 (when the Queen visited New Zealand). This also gives my collection a focus and sets a relatively challenging benchmark.
So those are the three collecting rules that have helped me keep my collection reined in to a manageable size. That said, I do always reserve the right to bend the rules when I see fit, after-all as the good Captain Barbossa would say, “they are more guidelines than actual rules!”. Arrrrrrrrr.
© Lemuel Lyes