Day 313 The trouble with collectables

I love to browse the antique shops just for the nostalgia that it evokes. I often see things there that remind me of my grandmother or things that bring back fond memories from my childhood. The beauty of these occasional visits is that I can enjoy the sensations for free and come home empty handed. I don’t need to own the stuff to enjoy it every now and again.

How many of us actually bring this stuff home or even make a hobby of it. There are a lot of collectors out there and an endless variety of things that can be collected. Some people do this because they enjoy the novelty/beauty/rarity of the items while others collect for the monetary value or more importantly the potential monetary value. Much as I love the idea of preserving these items for history’s sake, it does seem a shame when they are hidden away in private collections where very few people will ever view them.

We have a couple of collections in our home that serve to remind us of our shared enjoyment of baseball and art. Both collections have items we enjoy to look at and also considered to be investments. The trouble with investing in collectables is that sometimes you miss the window of opportunity to sell at it’s best price in your lifetime. Case in point are four Ichiro bobble head dolls that when released sold for up to a couple of hundred dollars each on ebay.  Granted we paid nothing for these dolls but now they are worth much less and taking up space in our garage along with a bunch of next to useless baseball cards and other ball park freebies.

Now I know you are thinking why not just get rid of them but to add to the problem they also hold a certain amount of sentimental value for some family members. There are also a box of band T-shirts belonging to my son and various other souvenir clothing items belonging to my husband that may or may not have monetary value but certainly have sentimental value. All these things are cluttering up space in the garage but they aren’t out of site and soon enough they will be dealt with during the 365 days.

I personally will never collect anything ever again, I have learned my lesson. Baseball card collecting is akin to gambling in my opinion and so too really is investing in collectables with the hope that they will appreciate in value. If you want to gamble like this buy shares and try your luck on the stock market at least this doesn’t clutter up your home.

Before I finished writing this post my husband pulled the boxes of baseball collectables out of the garage and at least condensed it down to a much small hoard. One more step taken to a minimal household and more garage space. I will be posting the photos as soon as he works out what he is doing with the rejects.


These paint cans were left over from Liam’s art class in high school. Graffiti really isn’t what a parent wants their teenage sons to learn in art class. Once used up he then kept the cans to make some sort of art installation but never got around to it. He gave me permission to get rid of them before he had his accident so out they go to be recycled.

Spray Cans

5 Things I am grateful for today

  1. Another fine day so we were able to take our morning walk.
  2. Coffee with a friend.
  3. Memories of reading to my children when they were young – My daughter and I were sorting through some old children’s books in order to declutter the ones that have no sentimental value.
  4. My husband and daughter doing their part in the decluttering today.
  5. Bridget doing a grocery run for me so I didn’t have to go myself.
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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Collections don’t appeal to me either, and the worst thing is when you have more than one of something everybody thinks getting you more is a good gift idea! (I might also have been guilty of doing this myself maybe … probably … but NO MORE!)

    It’s nice to have help with the chores, isn’t it?

    • Hi Jo,
      I have fallen into that trap too both collecting and adding to other peoples collections but like you.. NO MORE!
      And yes it is always nice to receive help with chores.

  2. Collections have always been something I’ve shyed away from. Don’t know why. I remember being insanely jealous as a girl of another girls magnet collection on her radiator and trying to start one myself…….only to discover the coveting was more fun than the owning. Never been a collector since.

    But goodness my eldest loves collecting. All of the latest crazes; Pokemon cards, plastic toys called ‘GoGos’. It breaks my heart to think of the money he wastes on these but I allow him £3 per week pocket money and don’t try to influence what he does with it. I think he is slowly realising the coveting is the fun part also…….perhaps it’s a good thing to get out of your system as a child when the financial repercussions aren’t as serious?

    What do you think?

    P.S Glad that your son is making good progress x

    • Hi Anna,
      you were lucky to grow out of the collecting bug early in life. I learned this lesson some time back too but it took a bit longer to learn not to keep souvenirs of events and vacations. Now I just go and my memories are my souvenirs. That was a lesson I am glad to have learned to live by.

    • I think there are two ways to look at an allowance: as money they earn like a job that you can add to or remove based on their performance and/or behavior OR as a practice run for when they have real money. The money I give my children falls into the second category. If they never have a chance to buy stupid stuff and see the money slip through their fingers or have the thrill of saving and buying something desireable, when they get their first real money, they may be in trouble. Let him practice on pocket money. However, it doesn’t have to add to your financial load. I never buy my kids impulse items from the store, for example, that’s what they have to use their pocket money on. If I didn’t structure it that way, I’d essentially be giving them money twice, instead of once.

      • Hi Cindy,
        I have to agree in principle with what you are saying here but it is odd how things turn out in the end. I raised both my kids the same way and yet one is great at saving and the other isn’t. Another example of how they will turn out one way regardless of what you teach them is this – When my children were young I read to them all the time and yet neither of them have had any interest in reading from the moment that they could do it themselves.

        • I can’t say I’m surprised to hear that. We were talking the other day about parents who let their kids sleep with them, which we did. Now we have a 10 year old and an 8 year old, one of whom drops off to sleep alone with no problems, and one of whom struggles. I don’t think it was the family bed that did her in; I just think it’s a reflection of who she is and where she is in her development.

  3. Thanks to this website I have been steadily decluttering my house piece by piece and have discovered some former collectibles that were sent to the Goodwill. Goodness knows what they will do with all the beanie babies and stuffed animals I have donated over the last few months. With all my girls grown and living their own lives it was time to move them out of my house and hopefully to a new home where they will be played with.

    My youngest daughter lives in an apartment where she does not have the room to store memorabilia from her childhood. Conveniently for her there there were six tubs full of stuff still in her old room. Last weekend she came home and was able to part with lots of stuff from those tubs. Sentimental items, school papers, old electronics, clothing and stuffed animals. She took some items home with her and left two tubs of stuff which she’ll take with her some day when she has a permanent place with storage. These tubs will fit in the closet out of sight and I will be able to use her old roomfor something besides storage. Woo hoo!

    • Hi Alice,
      I am glad my blog is being useful to you and you are finding plenty of inspiration to declutter.
      As you probably read yesterday my daughter is home at the moment too so I have her going through some odds and ends. I do this every time she comes home and that takes a little weight off the load of clutter that belongs to her. She is also not in a position to move her stuff out but that day will come eventually and I will gladly put it all in my car and travel the 1000km to deliver it to her.

  4. I’m an empty nester. When my four kids became adults and moved out the last time, I told them, “I’m not your storage unit! Take your stuff with you.” My friends think I’m harsh, but I see it as helping my children become adults and become responsible for themselves and their own possessions.

    As for collections, I have a couple. Newbery Award books–but I do read and reread them on a regular basis because I often prefer children’s books to adult. Years and years ago, I started a thimble collection and even have a little hanging shelf for them. I don’t much care any more but I don’t know what to do with them. A third collection which I adore is my set of a few bird and animal figures, maybe a total of a dozen. Some of them I use as book ends. Every day when I walk by and look at them, they make me smile.

    • Hi Willow,
      I like that you insisted that your children take their stuff with them when they went.
      You obviously enjoy the best part your collections and don’t consider them dust collectors and that is great. It sounds like you might be over your thimbles though and maybe you could sell them on ebay. They would be easy to ship out to auction winners.

    • Willow, the Newbery Award books was one of my collections until last summer when I started seriously decluttering. I love children’s books but figured since they are award winners I should be able to find them at my local library. It’s difficult for me to part with books.

  5. Hi Colleen
    Completely unrelated to today’s post…
    I had some spare time at work and started reading through your blog from the very first post onwards. I have read your Day 86 post (, where a reader Bobbi mentioned she had her own 365 challenge, which started a year ago exactly from today, 9th November. I wonder if she’ll get in touch, she said “My friend asked me today what am I going to do when I run out of stuff to get rid of. Ask me in November.”
    It struck me that you’re over 300 days into your challenge, and recently were wondering what the future of this blog would be. Any ideas yet?

  6. This post reminds me of all those dumb beanie babies that I had to have b/c someday they might be worth lot’s! HA! Now they MIGHT be worth $0.50 ea. What a waist 🙁

    Hubby has stein and pin collections, me, just collect scrap stuff 🙂

    • Beanie Babies sure were a thing, weren’t they, and somehow they caught on with adults, possibly more than with kids. I was in a fancy store one time, and there were two older couples there. The women were shopping together, and the men were looking at the Beanie Babies. One of the fellows said to the other, “I don’t remember, do I have this giraffe?” My mouth dropped open!

    • Hi Shelley,
      that’s the trouble with “fad” collections once the novelty wears of they aren’t worth a brass razoo. The one I particularly hate was Pokemon cards they were just a blatant way to rip of little kids. There should be a law against that sort of exploitation.

  7. Hi Colleen,
    I’ve made a t-shirt quilt out of my husband’s old travel t-shirts from the days when he traveled for the USAF. It’s beautiful, he loves it and it takes up less storage room than a box of t-shirts. Is that an option for the band t-shirts? I also made a small pillow out of my favorite college sweatshirt. Small enough to be an attractive memory ~ it sits in the reading chair in my office.
    Sometimes the stories of others are encouraging. Your de-clutter blog has been to me. I wanted to share that two of my cousins have had very serious brain injury. After the hard work of physical recovery, they have made lives for themselves, albeit slightly different than they planned.I wish your son and family a full and complete recovery.

    • Hi Susan,
      I have suggested the quilt idea before but my son won’t go for it. I hope one day he just gets over them and doesn’t want them any more.

      Thank you so much for your well wishes for Liam and our family. Luckily Liam’s body has come out of this accident in great shape. He still has full function of everything even his broken vertebrae aren’t causing him any problems. He scored 100% on his balance test yesterday at physio. I did notice that his neck has stiffened up a little over the last couple of days and I must remember to mention that to the nurses today. He is drawing and doing word puzzles in his down times so even his fine motor skills haven’t deserted him. It is his short term memory that is causing him the most issues but he is starting to test better with that and it has only been three weeks today so he is going well.

      • Liam – truly a miracle.

        • Hi Cindy,
          he stings a few days together where you start to think well this may be it and then all of a sudden a couple more things just seem to click into place. It is amazing to watch really and I thank God every day for the incredible progress he is making.

  8. the reason some of us older people collect is because as children .we did not own anything but the clothes we wore we lived in rented furnished flats with shared facilities so to be able to look and see we own the things we did not have in those days makes you feel grateful for what we have achieved when you get old it is not always easy to browse antique shops for memories when young people want something they cant find in a shop where do they come GRANDMAS HOUSE because she probable still has it even if its 50 years old

    • Ah Barbara,
      what can I say? Grandma’s house certainly is an antique store without a cash register in your case. For anyone else reading this comment, Barb is my mother-in-law and she recently sent me a photo of her at the beach kneeling on a beach towel when she was 19 years old (51 years ago). Along with that photo was a recent picture of the very same beach towel which she still has in her possession. And I have nothing more to say about that. Love you Barb!

      • Hey, if the towel hasn’t shredded in 51 years, it was a darn good investment! I have a pair of cashmere socks given to me by an old boyfriend in 1985. I only wear them to bed in the winter, but I was just marveling the other day that I have been keeping my tootsies warm for 25 years with the same pair of socks.

        • Hi Cindy,
          I don’t think those towels have been used in a very loooooong time they are just kept for sentimental value in the deep murky depths of a cupboard somewhere.

      • thought you would appreciate the link between those photos see you soon

  9. Three of anything is said to be a “collection” so it is easy to acquire one, one item at a time, whether you intend to or not. I do strongly discourage anyone from considering anything I own as a collection to be added to through gifts. We do have some old things acquired one at a time through garage sales, etc.


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