So we have our doll budget figured out and we're on our way to cleaner living. Now it's time to examine some collecting habits that can leave you buried in both dolls and debt. Please keep in mind that these are only suggestions to help you manage your collection and thusly, your life. There is no pressure to change and definitely no judgement if you decide not to. If you don't practice any of these habits then great! You can sit back and laugh at me or take this as a cautionary tale. If, however, you feel like your collecting is out of control and you are looking for some direction, then this might be for you.
1. "I call to order this meeting of Hoarders Anonymous. Hi, I'm Sam, and I'm a hoarder.":
I didn't mean to start hoarding. I'm in a tricky position: I have a line of work that actually demands a lot of acquiring. As a repainter, I need many different head molds with many different hair colors and many different fashions to style them in. It started innocently enough...see a cheap head/bw body/doll or interesting outfit/accessory and get it. At some point it turned into a joke lovingly called "The Leaning Tower of Dollza". My repainter friends shop in my "stock room". A few months ago I decided to do inventory and found I have 5 Ficons. 5. I only remembered buying 2. I had a problem.
My problem was work related but many collectors share the same issue. You buy and you buy and one day you wake up to find yourself surrounded by dolls but unable to enjoy them because of the sheer amount. There's a word I want you to say with me, "Noooooooo". Feel it. Listen to how it sounds. Get comfortable with it. We're going to be saying it a lot more often. It will hurt at first but I promise it gets easier. If you start saying "No" to easy items like those you're only attracted to because of a low price or things that are out of your budget, then before you know it you'll not only have the money to show for it but also the space and a better sense of willpower. I started saying no to cheap dolls, no matter what the deal was, and working trades for face molds I didn't have and feel so much better for it.
2. Scattered lines of collecting:
Again, it starts innocently enough: You collect Tonner 16" dolls but see a Fashion Royalty doll you just have to have (she's so pretty! It's just one, no big deal!) Then Tonner debuts a licensed line you are obsessed with in the 17" size (Finally, Ishtar dolls of my very own!). Madame Alexander brings out a darling new doll (looks just like my nephew!), followed by a new Barbie line from Mattel (looks just like me!), Superdoll's redesigned Sybarites (OMG!) and all of a sudden you are collecting 10 different lines and can't pay your gas bill (help.).
You need to look objectively at what you collect and how far you are willing to take it. Use this time to decide if you want to streamline your collection. Maybe you want to focus on 1:6 scale or BJDs or repaints or cloth dolls. Streamlining doesn't mean you are locked into one genre. It is possible to have a well rounded collection with a wide assortment of dolls. Just don't buy 30 of each. If you find that your tastes are leaning to a particular area, think about selling some of the dolls you're not as interested in anymore to fund new purchases.
3. The sentimental collector:
I have all my old stuffed animals. I have hauled them from place to place since I was in grade school. I don't display them. They take up a stupid amount of space in the garage. But I can't get rid of them. You may have dolls from your childhood or ones that were gifted to you by people you love or dolls that were bought to mark a milestone like graduation or a birth. Maybe you set out to reclaim dolls from your past that were lost. Whatever the case, you're not only surrounded physically but also emotionally and whether you think it or not, it is likely wearing on you.
Now I am certainly not advising you get rid of anything that means the world to you or that you have invested emotions of loved ones past or heirlooms. I'm merely asking that you take an objective look at what you have and be honest about their place in your life. Does that 3 ft bunny won at a county fair 10 years ago by an ex-boyfriend whose name you can't remember still need a spot in your house or is there a child you know that would love it? Maybe you keep your collection of dolls given to you by your grandchildren but ask that they start giving you picture mementos instead.
Being aware of your collection, your collecting habits and how you feel about each piece is a huge step in making changes and regaining control. Now that we've taken emotional stock in what we've got, we can make the roads to where we want to be. Next week we'll discuss how to weed our collective garden so the roses can grow. Til next week!