I used to collect penguins. And dinosaur figurines. I have a small collection of owls, mostly named after constellations, all with unique personalities (and singing voices). I started to collect Harry Potter books: every different cover and edition, and in as many languages as I could find. I collected all Harry Potter stuff actually.
I used to collect lapel pins from gift shops and Hard Rock Café. I remember when I was really into the movie Pirates of the Caribbean just before going to Disney World, and how excited I was to go to the gift shop. Fandom swag.
I no longer collect things to amass them. My collections are more curated, and often intangible.
When I decided to adopt a minimalist lifestyle, my biggest worry was my books. I loved being surrounded by them. My philosophy has changed, however: now I would much rather have a small selection of only my most beloved books, the ones I will want to reread constantly. That collection includes Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, and my Penguin clothback Jane Austens. I also have a stack of books I read, loved, and will pass on to friends as presents because my journey is through with them.
The other thing I collect is places.
I love having a personal list of favourite cafés and restaurants and museums in every city I visit. I keep them in the backs of my Wallpaper* City Guides and Moleskine travel notebooks. These lists encourage me to explore, in my own city and when I am visiting.
Part of collecting places is ticking off experiences on a list; I do love my lists. I am going through the Wallpaper* Edinburgh guide, one by one adventure, to encourage me to venture to places off my own beaten path. But I am also staking ownership in my regular places, building up a collection of favourites for each particular mood or need. The best coffeeshop for writing (Brew Lab, or Dovecot Café for a wifi-free cleanse) and the best for catching up with a friend (Spoon or Black Medicine, my original Edinburgh favourite from my tourist days). My New Town favourite (Frederick’s) and my Old Town favourite (Lovecrumbs).
What do you collect?