Similar to Laura Wingfield in Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie, I have a collection of animal figurines. Unlike Laura, however, most of mine are wax creatures made in Mold-A-Rama vending machines.
Mold-A-Rama machines are located in tourist destinations across the U.S., so finding them is a lot like a scavenger hunt. Actually, it’s a very addictive scavenger hunt. To keep my collection from taking over my home and becoming clutter, I instituted some rules to control the menagerie:
- Animals may not be stored anywhere other than their designated 4′ shelf. If there are too many animals, must sell least favorite on eBay.
- Only collect animals in person. No ordering them off eBay or asking friends to pick them up for me on their travels. If I don’t touch the machine myself, I won’t obtain it.
- The Mold-A-Rama must be an animal, not buildings or other molded forms.
- Don’t plan trips around collecting the animals, rather check machine locations only after I’ve made plans to visit somewhere.
- No duplicates. One animal in one color from each machine I encounter, no more.
- No paraphernalia associated with the collection. No t-shirts, no pamphlets, no books, no broken Mold-A-Rama vending machines rescued from the dump, etc.
- No more than 7 acquisitions in a single year.
If you have a collection, I recommend instituting similar rules to keep your treasures from turning into clutter. It’s always a good idea to institute limits for your collection that include budget, storage space, and acquisition guidelines. Also, if you live with another person or other people, make sure they’re okay with the rules you establish since they also have to share the space with you.
Remember, being an unclutterer doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t have collections — but it does mean taking an active role in ensuring your collection doesn’t become clutter.