But what does it all really mean?
Why, as fans, do we get so caught up into material things?
Today I want to talk to you about how I determine what's valuable to me in my Michael Jackson collection and why it matters now more than ever.
Earlier this year I discovered a video that changed my life.
It was about decluttering; Something I had heard a lot about but, never really understood. Growing up, I was blessed to have had a lot of “stuff”. Clothes, shoes, books, toys, electronics… you name it. But, the things that really meant the most to me were always those things with sentimental value. Despite this, I’ve accumulated SO much beyond those criteria. I got used to hauling things around. From my room to my college dormitory, back home, and then to my first apartment.
But as I’ve gotten older, the things at the top of my value totem pole lean much more towards moments and experiences. After learning about what a positive effect decluttering and living a more minimalist lifestyle could have, I decided to get serious about it.
This past March was the first time I EVER truly put effort and focus into decluttering. I donated 6 garbage bags full of clothes, 3 or 4 bags of shoes, and trashed things that I always thought I would “use someday” but never did.
My apartment went from EVERYTHING THERE to ALMOST BARE. And it felt great. But what about my Michael Jackson collection?
How did I decide to deal with being a huge fan and collector but, at the same time embrace a new minimalist lifestyle?
Well this should be no surprise... I decided to keep all my MJ merchandise. Here are some throwback photos of my collection when I first started it:
|My Childhood Room!|
I’ve never sold or traded ANY of it and I have no intention on starting now. I’ve given small things away as gifts here and there but, have mainly held on to everything.
And what you see in the photos is just a glimpse.
Adding to my collection has always been FUN but, I have needed to rethink some things about the Michael Jackson items I have. I have also been forced to think about what my criteria would be for acquiring new things.
Today I want to share with you how I have decided to maintain my MJ collection and what formula I use to determine value on each item I have.
Quality (Over Quantity).
I know a lot of fans, both in real life and online. And in the past, I always looked at those with huge collections in awe. But now for me... quality over quantity. In determining value, something that has sentimental meaning always comes before something in mint condition in my eyes. I do have a mint Destiny tour book and have had the opportunity to get pristine, mint condition Triumph and Victory tour books too. But I’ve never wanted to.
These are my tour books.
I wouldn’t trade them for the world because they are from my father.
As I have mentioned before, he is also an MJ fan and the reason why I became a fan of Michael too. He has seen Michael live in concert 5 times (the last time was with me) and these two books are items he purchased himself. I haven’t done much to maintain them, other than keeping them in a dry and safe place but, they are prized possessions of mine.
Going forward, I will likely only be purchasing items that I foresee truly enjoying and holding close to my heart. I will also be avoiding purchasing duplicates of any one thing, without an immediate reason or need to do so. Lastly, I will be avoiding reprints and reproductions. I prefer to get real and authentic items when I can, which definitely helps me cut down on the amount of things I bring into my home.
There are certain categories of items I just DON’T BUY anymore. The first type of item I have decided to no longer purchase? BOOKS. Yes, books.
Over the years, I have purchased dozens and dozens of books about Michael’s life. But, I usually stop reading them halfway through. I can never really make it to the end because I know that a lot of the content is embellished for storytelling purposes. And I know how much Michael hated stories being fabricated about him.
I’ve always taken pride in learning as much as I can about Michael but, a lot of the books published post 2009 are so riddled with untruths. It's hard to know what to believe. Although not as revealing as many had hoped it would be at its time of publication, I always go to Moonwalk (Michael’s autobiography) when I really want to learn more about him and his career.
|reading Moonwalk at the airport.|
If I feel the urge to read any books about Michael in the future, I will buy them electronically or borrow them. Most of the books I have are in excellent and or very good condition- I plan on holding some giveaways on a lot of the books I don’t read anymore, so stay tuned.
On top of deciding what NOT to buy, I also will be purchasing items with certain categories in mind. The first type of merchandise I will likely always indulge in? Michael Jackson T-Shirts.
If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I have somewhat of an obsession with collecting Michael Jackson t-shirts. It’s been something I’ve always been really into. I work in corporate and have to wear business wear daily. But on the weekends, I make time to wear my MJ attire. I told someone that I got rid of a lot of my casual shirts and kept a lot of my MJ ones. It’s helped me to enjoy dressing up and accessorizing MJ wearables on the weekends. After all, who is mjfangirl without an MJ shirt?
Searching for new shirts was a hobby that started for me in high school. I got my first part time job at 16 and you can already imagine where most of my earnings went. The height of my fandom was during the early 2000’s… and to be honest, finding Michael Jackson shirts was a TASK. I won’t bother going into where I got most of my items back them but now, I get a lot of my shirts from garage sales, trading with friends, or on Poshmark. I have raved about Posh before and I highly recommend it. Its helped me not only discover MJ items I had never seen before, but also save money on my current wardrobe. Check it out!
The second thing I will be doing is collecting in groups- particularly Jacksons and Jackson 5 merchandise. Here's an example of a small grouping of Triumph Tour related items:
|Triumph Tour Poster- still looking for a frame!|
As time goes by, these items become more and more difficult to find so whatever I can get my hands on, I will definitely be holding on to.
The Dr. Laura Podcast is one of my favorites to listen to. When I’m not listening to Michael Jackson on Spotify or the Diana Ross Station on Pandora, I am likely listening to her podcast. The Dr. Laura show mainly talks about family, relationships, morals, and values. She’s sort of an ear of reason for me, helping me make decisions because we share so much of the same moral compass.
Anyway, one of the most interesting things I heard her recently say to a caller was,
“Money isn’t to be saved. It’s to be budgeted and spent”.
That made the wheels in my brain start turning. It made me think about how I’ve been living. Stressing about wanting to buy certain things and either overindulging or making bad decisions. Same goes for my collection. In the past, I’ve been so hellbent on building the collection that I completely forgot to ENJOY what I already had. I was so busy comparing my collection to ones I saw online from other fans, that I missed out on some of the cool things I had right in front of me.
I've been enjoying movies and tapes a LOT lately. Nothing relaxes me more than coming home and watching Michael. Here are some of my favorites recently:
|Jacksons: An American Dream- classic!|
I have made a conscious effort to spend at least 20-30 minutes each week rediscovering things in my collection. I have spent hard earned money on a lot of my possessions and have a lot of gifts from friends and family that I should be paying much more attention to.
Minimalism is something that is still a new concept to me. It’s going to take me time to fully adapt to learning to live with less but, I am enjoying it so far. When you declutter and start living in a space with less stuff, you learn to appreciate what you have much more. Even for someone like me, who takes pride in her modest collection of Michael Jackson merchandise, it’s possible to be a collector and still live clutter free. I no longer determine value by the “books”. I stopped determining value by the price stamps of auction houses. I don’t really care what other fans value. It’s about what matters to ME. And I think that’s one of the most important things I’ve learned.
One of the biggest lessons one comes across in the journey of minimalism, is to appreciate what you have.
And I’ve been doing a lot more of that lately.
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