I’m a pretty organized person, but I didn’t think it would hurt to pick up a book about household organization to help me in my ongoing project of paring down and sorting out. So, while at the library last week I picked up a book by Marilyn Bohn titled The Easy Organizer. In the chapter “Collections” Bohn discusses what a collection actually is and then offers suggestions about how to manage them.
But what jumped out at me was the phrase “unintended collections.” She categorizes an unintended collection as a collection of items in your home that you did not intentionally collect such as a stack of newspapers or a two-year subscription to a magazine someone gave you for a present. In my case I discovered two major unintended collections – letter openers (nine) and vinyl records. The record albums came as a total shock to me simply because I had totally forgotten them. In addition to the handful of records from my personal collection I rescued from my parents’ house way back when, there were the ones I had inherited from my grandmother.
I hadn’t really looked at them until yesterday when I was shifting things in my small bookcase to make room for my recipe books (more on that in another post). When cleaning out the middle section of the entertainment unit, I discovered the very first record I ever bought, Summer Side of Life / Gordon Lightfoot, the Bill Haley and the Comets “Shake, Rattle and Roll” 45 my dad gave me, and three Culture Club albums (yes, I’m a fan of both Jon Moss, drummer, and Boy George).
Ms. Bohn suggests that you manage the unintended collections that are useful and get rid of the ones that aren’t. She strongly advises to not hold on to any collection – intended or unintended – for sentimental reasons. I can live with nine letter openers. But since I no longer own a turntable, I have no idea what I will do with the vinyl records. I can’t easily envision myself letting go of the very first album I saved up for or the Janis Joplin record I could only play at a volume that would do it justice when no one was home.