My final lesson is something most people don't want to think about but is important. Once you have sold off what you don't want anymore it's a really good idea to keep an inventory. This can be done with a computer program or in a notebook, whatever is best for you. If you don't buy very often then it will be easy to maintain. If you do buy often then maybe you update it every few weeks before you forget what you have. Information included should be the doll name, the year made, the manufacturer and how much you paid. If you have significant others and aren't ready to share then store it somewhere safe. Obviously this is good for insurance purposes. No one ever thinks a disaster will happen to them until it does and the last thing you want to be dealing with is, "What did I have again?" on top of everything else.
The other purpose of the inventory is to help out loved ones in case something happens to you. Dealing with their own grief can be hard enough without having to deal with your collection as well, especially if it's extensive. For someone completely outside the doll world they might as well be looking at boxes of cutlery. They won't know what you've got in terms of quality or what to do with it so that prized Enchanted Doll might well end up on the garage sale table.
I was contacted this year by someone who's friend had passed and left her a collection that she didn't have the first idea about. She was overwhelmed and confused and I felt so bad for her. If it's possible it's a good idea to have a Godmother to your collection. My friends and I have made the commitment to be there and help with the collection in the case of passing. Picking a "second" is a big decision: it needs to be someone you trust, who has the strength to handle mourning AND the details of your collection and has the time to help your loved ones sell or actually sell off the collection for them. If you don't want to ask a friend to be your "second" then I suggest looking into doll brokerage firms that you can refer your family to. There are many companies that will handle listing on eBay for a fee they can look to as well. In any case the goal is to ease the pain of your family.
There you have it! We've come to the end of this series but have learned many valuable lessons: How to make a budget, prioritize our goals, trim out the fat, how to sell and what to buy. Just because the series is over doesn't mean that you can relax though. Collecting is like a child; you don't want to turn your back on it! Be aware of what you've got coming in and going out and you should be fine. I'm going to print off this series and aim to have a better handle on everything by Spring. With all the writing and working, I have yet to follow any of the steps to completion. Sure I've trimmed way back and have an abstract idea of budget, goals and what to sell but I'm looking forward to actually going through each step one by one and feeling good about my collection again.
When I started these features I was hoping to get some clarity myself while hopefully helping a couple of people out but the response has been amazing! I feel so much better knowing I'm not the only one struggling with this so thank you all for taking the time to email me your stories. It bears restating that I'm not judging you on whether or not you implement the steps. These were merely guidelines to help take down the clutter in your house and head but if you are perfectly happy with where your collection is then great! It must have been strange hearing how to say "no" to buying from someone who sells for a living LOL but I have always professed to being a collector first so I get it. Good luck to us all and feel free to continue sharing in the comments section.