By the appearance of various rooms in my house, it would seem as if I do hoard – or rather, collect things. I have quite literally thousands of things - not everywhere, but only in 2 rooms. It has taken me - well I've had many of these things since my childhood - which was 60 years ago.

Yes, I collected (past tense) what I consider to be wonderfully unique examples of marvel, inventiveness, and substance. But on the other hand, many would call the stuff I have as just purely junk.

Most of this “stuff” is from my maturation starting with elementary school through my post-graduation early working years. For some reason I just kept it. Like many people, each item represented memories, goals, and ideals. But unlike most, I kept a lot of it. Today it is what I believe to be historic, exceptional, remarkable, or unusual.

Over the years, most of this stuff was kept in boxes in various closets in the various houses I lived in. Then 8 years ago after moving into this bland suburban house, I decided to display it all.

I have a fairly large collection which includes a lot of artistic items as well as technical/mechanical/electrical/electronic devices such as vintage TVs, radios, recorders and such. My neatly displayed eclectic hoards might be seen by others as eccentric. But for me, each thing tells a story of the people who were designers and artisans, times in our history, or who I was at the time I acquired an item.

If this stuff had no significance, it would have all long since been sold or tossed. The reasons I collected it all was because it must have meant something to me. However, if I lost it tomorrow, I wouldn’t cry over it – well maybe I’d be a bit miffed at the possible loss of its value.

Was loneliness the impetus for the hording of this stuff? No! As I said before, a lot of this stuff I had since I was a kid.

Some people collect memories, photographs, memorabilia, toys… Humans are unique in that many of us have a propensity to collect items we hold with fondness as well as valued property.

While the rest of the world is enamored by false gods such as politicians, activists, movie celebrities, musicians and sports figures, I am captivated by the lost and forgotten inventors, mentors, artists, teachers, and the greatness of what I saw and experienced. I look at my “stuff” as a kind of – museum.

There are those who believe that those of us who collect large amounts of things have a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with these items, regardless of their actual value. They say this difficulty is due to strong urges to save items or distress associated with discarding them. These symptoms have been said to lead to extreme cluttering of the person’s living space which may render it unlivable or unusable. They say that the individual experiences clinically significant discomfort or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

I’ve heard this many times about the negatives associated with collectors. I’ve also known of people including my extended family who've rid themselves of most of what they owned so as to, as they put it, lead a more simplistic uncluttered unattached life. But I don’t feel weighted down or held back by these items. These marvelous things make me feel really good about life. If there is a problem, it is as a 69-year-old that I miss people to share these things with.

The point here is, we are not people who are deficient in life or have some kind of neurosis.  We are caretakers of our stuff.  Some of us wish to share our experiences with those who wish to see and learn.  We also don't criticize others for their lifestyle, so don't do this to us.

As for me, I’m retired now. I felt I wanted to quit working before my full retirement age.  So rather than do work I disliked, maybe now I can now enjoy life - and this stuff.

When I die or get too old to live here, this stuff will no doubt get auctioned off, given away or merely end up in some landfill. But by that time it won’t matter to me. For you see, if I had nothing but the TV, as an older person I would be nothing. It would sicken me to go with the oldies and play bingo or be taken out on those little outings.

So what do I do with all this – stuff? I maintain it, fix it, look at it, sometimes play with it, and I wish to share it. I occasionally find a unique item and I may add it to the collection, or if it doesn’t convey an unusual positive story, sell it on eBay or – just give it away.

It’s not the thing itself. It’s the ideas and memories associated with the thing. I mean, after all, what are our museums full of? I am the curator of this museum.

Note.  The TVs I collect have a diagonal screen size of 5 inches or less.

Steve's – February 2019