Something that can be hard to let go of as a minimalist is collectables.
All my life I’ve had collections of things. As a child I obsessively collected all sorts: ornaments I’d won in arcades, fossils, gaming magazines, Disney mugs, Cadbury mugs, Gogo’s, Pogs, cards out of those cigarette sweets, stickers, Kinder Egg toys, cyber pets, and videogames (yes, I’m a 90’s kid).
The problem was that even as an adult I held onto all this stuff while I continued to buy more. Before I became minimalist my collections consisted of videogames, videogame merch, gaming magazines, Disney snow-globes, and the same mugs I’d been collecting as a child. Everything else was stashed away in boxes, drawers, and bin bags.
My collectables filled every shelf, every window ledge, and several boxes under my bed, yet there was always more to collect. More to desire.
I was always having to find better ways to display or store it all, and bigger shelving units always seemed to be on my ‘to buy’ list.
When I became minimalist about 6 years ago, some of the hardest things to let go of were these collections, especially the rare videogames and figurines.
Letting go of the pogs was hard too because it took me back to a more innocent time when you’d find prizes in crisps and cereal packets.
I still love videogames and eagerly anticipate new releases, it’s just that the games I had in my collection weren’t being played and most of everything was there to show off to friends and visitors. Plus, it was a nightmare to clean. It took ages to get everything off the shelves to dust them, and the figurines were always covered in dust. Regrettably, I even managed to break some of them in the cleaning process.
I was devastated, until in the end, I realised that none of it was worth the energy or the storage.
The money had already been spent, so I had to let go of the guilt and the mindset that I wanted the original value for what I was selling. Although some videogames had dramatically climbed in value, I wasn’t going to fixate on a price when they could bring somebody else enjoyment.
I remember when I was selling all this stuff off and my fiancé (now my husband) sold much of his collection too. Combined, the sell pile was more than halfway up the wall of the gaming room. I watched as the collection got smaller and smaller. As the pile shrank, unexpected painful feelings came to the surface.
There was guilt for spending so much money, sadness for not being able to return to times in my past, and intense longing. The longing wasn’t always for the games but for the relationships I had back then. Then there was the letting go of my fantasy self that would replay all of these games and become a streamer. In fact, the more I researched into becoming an online gamer, the more I realised it would probably burn me out and ruin my love of gaming.
Besides, those discs were eventually going to degrade so I thought I should let somebody else play them while they were still in good condition.
My Collections Now
Now, at the age of 36, I still have a curated collection of videogames and figurines, but they’re far fewer. At least, physically.
Recently, as part of my extreme-ish minimalist experiment, everything but the videogames and the figurines I love were put into the attic. I’ve been loving the extra space and have chosen to embrace the hobbies I have rather than to add even more to collect for.
I only have one life, and I choose to focus only on the things that give me the most joy and that I can give my full attention to.
I no longer buy expensive collectors editions to show them off, but because I want to play them. Over the years, gaming has given me some irreplaceable memories and feelings. In the end, it was never about what was displayed on the shelf. It was the experience I had playing those games whether by myself, with friends, or with my mum.
Those experiences can never be replicated, but they can always be recalled fondly in my heart and mind or with old friends.
That’s what minimalism is about. Experiences, lightness, and only keeping what truly puts a smile on your face.