September 27, 2012

Collecting toys makes me happy

I'm a sporadic collector. I like toys, comics, books, and DVDs, but I rarely feel compelled to complete a set of anything. I just buy what I like. It's a random mishmash of Star Wars toys, LEGO sets, Firefly maquettes, Battlestar Galactica ships, busts, Doctor Who and Nightmare Before Christmas toys, trade paperbacks, and TV series on DVDs. If I have an entire set of something it's more likely to be because I enjoy it rather than a need to just have all of it. But why do I collect anything at all? Why do I purchase figures and objects that require dusting and sometimes gluing and mostly sit on a shelf?

I was searching for a deep answer, one that made me feel less attached to material objects that according to "them," should be meaningless. I came up empty though. In the end, it just makes me happy.

And that's okay.

It pleases me to look around my house or my desk at the office and see that I'm surrounded by stories and franchises I love. I like pointing my favorite figures out to friends who are visiting for the first time and tell stories of why I got them and how. Each piece has a memory that goes with it.

This Star Wars LEGO set was the first such set I put together. I received it from a friend for Christmas, and I put it together when I was sick a few days later... and then I sent my boyfriend at the time out to Target to bring me more LEGO sets because it was distracting, a bit addicting, and a lot fun. Now I've had to stop purchasing them because I just don't have the space to display them.

This Boba Fett helmet was on crazy sale at the shop, and I've used it at a few events to put names in for raffle drawings.

(I clearly need to dust.)

This Coraline figure was my first Comic-Con exclusive purchase and is one of my favorite toys.

I doubt I remember the story for every item on my shelves and some of them are as simple as "I adore this character and must have this toy," but for the most part, they all have a history.

I buy what I like. It means I have action figures from different generations, different styles, and a lot of random pieces. I don't purchase items because I'm thinking about how much they will be worth later (just not my thing, I know it can work out well for others with a lot more patience and capital than me). Most of my toys are out of the box and on display because I'm not concerned about resale and I want them to be seen. The ones that are still in boxes just have really cooling packaging (like my Polly Pockets from San Diego Comic-Con).

The show Collector's Intervention made me think about these collecting habits. Though I don't have a collection that's anywhere close to those seen on the show, it wasn't bad to stop and think about why I buy what I buy. Even if you are far from needing an intervention, it's good to take a look around your house and think about your possessions and why you have them. There's definitely a line, but I think it's different for everyone.

Do you have any collections? Tell me about it or even better, share photos!


  1. I have a slightly addictive personality, but it's never an addiction to chemicals (outside of caffeine, I admit) or destructive habits. It's pretty much always collections. I have collections of collections. The impulse seems to be a desire to try, record, or have handy all of a given set of something: pressed pennies from Legoland, minerals from Death Valley, pictures of plants/birds/insects, or having every interesting-sounding item on a favorite restaurant's menu. Should make some pictures of some of these, yeah.

    Ok, sometimes the habit can be destructive, specifically to my bank account, but it beats honking up my brain or something.

    1. I think it is definitely better than the alternative.

      And yes, you should take photos! I also gather pressed pennies from Disneyland and random rocks or salt formations or shinies from hikes. I like fossils and butterflies, too!

  2. I like Lego, and have quite a few thousand bricks. If I had more money to spend and more space, I'd have much more... :-P

    1. Very. cool. How do you store so many? Do you keep them in bins organized by color?

  3. I collect because its a distraction. My hubby has a very rare autoimmune form of Vasculitis. He has been in and out of the hospital and we have so many dr. appts. its ridiculous. Now when we travel to Dr. appts. I also scout stores for new goodies. I concentrate on Star Wars because I have such fond memories of the movies. I always wanted SW toys as a kid, but since i was a GIRL, my parents didn't get me any. Now I can have my own. And I have made a TON of friends through Star Wars

  4. You've got some nice toys there, Amy. I shared a few photos of my collections with you on Twitter a little while ago. I have a lot more though not on display (mostly carded Star Wars figures) and so many more I'd like to buy. I use to be a big completist, again mostly of Star Wars figures, but these days I just buy what I want (and have money for). Besides, the Star Wars toy line grew to be so massive that I'm not sure anyone could collect them all. I gave up after the initial wave of Revenge of the Sith figures. Although I would still like to complete my collection of Palisades Muppet figures. When I eventually own my own house, I'm pretty sure I'll have a room just for toys and collectibles. Hopefully I won't end up on Collector Intervention.

    1. They push out a crazy amount of Star Wars action figures these days!

  5. I'm a lot like you. I collect what I love, open boxes and don't always collect a set. Most of my collectables before the last few years are lost to me. While that makes me sad, it also makes it fun to rebuild with items that make my heart sing. I've got a Hargid Minifig I got at a con, Wesley Crusher action figure my BFF got me, ponies because joking about Bronies led to a full blown fandom. Many of my best toys came with my fiance when he moved in but I assure him I don't just love him for his starships.

    1. My collection of ponies is just starting - I love the new series!!

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