How to Know When You’ve “Crossed the Rubicon” of Collecting
Have you reached that undefined, yet anxiety-ridden point as a collector where you feel you’re no longer in control of your own collection? Has what started out as a pleasant reason to visit flea markets and garage sales become an around-the-clock, ebay-stalking obsession? How about handling, arranging, displaying, and storing your ever-growing mountain of mementos? Is all of that work (and it IS work) as much fun as it used to be? Or has it mushroomed into something beyond your control? Something you wish would just—take care of itself?
Take a Good Look Around You
You’ve been a collector now, for what, 10, maybe 20+ years? You’ve come a long way during that time, right? So, how’s your collection looking today? Is it as you always imagined it would be, neatly displayed inside well-lit, dust-free display cases? Or is it piled up so high that producers of A&E’s Hoarders have begun peering through your windows? If you find yourself expending more energy stepping OVER and AROUND your treasures than actively and enjoyably engaging with them—then you (and your collection)— have “Crossed the Rubicon.”
“I Know. I Have Too Much Stuff!”
Whether that’s true of yourself or not, it’s important that every collector understand the factors that can negatively impact their collecting experience; starting with:
LACK OF SPACE— For most collectors, a lack of adequate display (or storage) space is the numero-uno problem they face. Of course, the irony is, no matter how much space one has, it never seems like it’s enough. For example, frustrated collectors who are limited to just one display cabinet or even an entire bedroom are surprised when they learn other collectors—who possess much MORE space—are still complaining about the same problem. Why is that? Let’s find out…
Collections Abhor a Vacuum
And collectors will rush pell-mell to fill whatever available space they can find. Depending on the items in one’s collection, an appropriate display area can range from a simple set of shelves, all the way to a custom display room. One collector we spoke with recently, a “Mr. X,” described his own spatial dilemma thusly:
“My collection is wayyyyy outta control. No matter how I organize it, there just isn’t enough room to set everything up. Are there some kind of shelves or something that might help me? If not, I guess it’s time to make some hard decisions and start culling the herd, so to speak.”
Mr. X’s comments are ones we’ve all heard (or said ourselves) before. But his question about shelving and organizing options leads us to our next collecting quandaries:
STORAGE SOLUTIONS— If you don’t have enough room to adequately display your treasures, it’s important that you know how to store them properly in the interim. Cardboard boxes won’t suffice. They wear out, foster mold, and crush down upon themselves. A far better solution is to purchase a set of stackable, plastic “totes” and/or drawer sets (see photos above). They’re durable, moisture and insect resistant, and even FLOAT if caught in a flooded basement.
DISPLAY SOLUTIONS— Seriously though, what’s the point of owning a collection if you can’t display and enjoy it? To maximize whatever square-footage you do have, we recommend the use of space-efficient, built-in shelving (attached to studs in the walls), or in lieu of that, floor-standing, glass-n-metal Detolf display cases from IKEA (see photos above and below). The Detolf cases are easy to assemble, require very little real estate in your Joe Room, include a built-in light at the top, display 20+ figures easily, keep your collectibles dust-free, and look GREAT. Problem solved!
Bottom Line: Collectors such as Alex Teo (above) are leading the way, showing the rest of us how to successfully integrate large collections into our homes and avoid crossing over the dreaded “Rubicon of Collecting.” Neatly arranged and out of everyone’s way, Teo’s amazing collection is easily seen and regularly enjoyed by all. What an inspiration! If you think your collection has gotten too big to handle, just take some “Tips from Teo.” And…Happy Collecting!