Loving it to Death

I was watching one of those TV shows about “pickers” the other night. They are the people who go out and buy old things to restore and resell. They were buying from a man who had a two story building full of things that he had been collecting over decades. The problem was the roof of the building had caved in and rain was coming through. A lot of the collection, some of which was potentially valuable, had been ruined. The building itself was ruined repair. The pickers said they called this situation “Loving it to Death”.

Loving it to Death refers to the tendency to hold on to things for so long that they start to deteriorate. It can happen all too easily if you have such a lot of stuff that the maintenance and storage issues become a burden in themselves. Paper breaks down, metal rusts, materials yellow, insects and rhodents get in. Its disheartening to see a collection get to the point that it is ruined and worthless.

I still remember the first time I discovered that a book I had bought for myself was yellowing with age. What a wakeup call that was! Since then I have seen my old school notes deteriorate to the point where they are nearly dust. I realised that these things don’t wait around for us forever.

Its only natural to want to treasure momentos of the past, but if they are to be cared for and preserved, that desire to collect and keep things needs to be balanced with our ability to store and look after them. One solution is to choose your absolute favourites to keep in a suitable storage area, protected from the elements as well as you can, and let go of the rest. Another is to allow dealers, collectors and charity shops to move things on to new owners who have the capacity to store and restore.


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