Earlier this year as I looked at different blogs by hoarders and minimalists, I stumbled across Sandy of Hoarder Comes Clean, a lady to whom I relate rather well. She’s a hoarder like me trying to sort and minimise a lifetime’s worth of stuff. Two particular posts of hers stood out – her disposal of some 200-300 theatre programs (read here and here). This is what blogging is all about, I thought with glee – reading the personal stories of people I can identify with as having the same collections in common.
I have a collection of my own. For many years I have enjoyed going to concerts, musicals and the occasional play, and buying a program to remember the event. A cheapish American playbill magazine they are not; the Australian programs are always $20, large and glossy and of the highest printed quality. I look through them from time to time and they still look like I bought them yesterday despite most of them being around 20 years old. I can’t recall buying any recently; my values have changed and I have no need to remember an event with a glossy program.
Additionally I have a second collection of newspapers collected from certain newsworthy dates; the London Times of December 25 1999, the New York Times of December 31 1999 and January 1 2000, my local paper from September 11 2001, French papers from the 60th anniversary of D-Day. Things I’m sure are or will be worth a lot someday, but to bring home from the international trip where I first bought them, and to move them from place to place, they hold very little short-term value due to their combined weight. None are open or read, even the catalogues are still contained within; I bought them as investments in the past.
Both of these collections are stored in beautiful keepsake boxes that in a different person’s home may be stored on an open shelf and occasionally perused. But reading about Sandy’s collection elimination cemented my mixed feelings about this collection. For me they will never be kept on a shelf, they will always be stuck in storage costing money and taking up unwanted space. So I made the decision that on my next trip home, I will scan their covers to preserve the memory and then offer them to the local buy, swap or sell Facebook page for someone who will value them more than me. It worked once before with another collection I gave away, so it’s worth trying again. If no interest is shown, then they will be recycled.
This decision has brought me a feeling of freedom and relief. Yet another weighted stack of items to be dispensed from my emotional baggage.
Off the top of my head there remains one exception which alone brings me joy. My Madonna program from Madison Square Gardens, New York City during her 2004 tour. Seeing her live at the height of her yoga/flexibility phase, in the place where her career began, in New York no less, was so amazing and memorable that I think that program is worth keeping a bit longer.
2 thoughts on “Confronting my Collections: programs and newspapers”
Thanks for the shout-out — and, I did keep a few (very few) programs. I’ve been struggling lately with letting go of Art books and Met Museum Bulletins from years of membership — lovely glossy book-like publications that the museum sends out each season. And fascinating old magazines that my late partner kept. (where does it end?) It sounds like you are doing well and are much more level-headed about it than I am. — Sandy
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Thanks Sandy. I can’t wait to get home in June and really sort through my stuff, I’m ready to declutter a lot. It helps so much being in a different phase in life, living overseas, as there are many things I’ve come to separate myself from.
But I understand your new struggles – soon I will need to go through my travel brochures, of which I have a terrible habit of collecting en masse at travel expos – I feel your pain! Good luck with it, lovely to hear from you.