A minimalist collector? Could it be or it’s a scholarly example of a contradiction in terms? By definition,
a person who collects things of a specified type, professionally or as a hobby, “an art collector”
Then there is the minimalist paradigm:
“Q: Why be a minimalist?
A: It’s a way to escape the excesses of the world around us — the excesses of consumerism, material possessions, clutter, having too much to do, too much debt, too many distractions, too much noise. But too little meaning. Minimalism is a way of eschewing the non-essential in order to focus on what’s truly important, what gives our lives meaning, what gives us joy and value.
Q: Isn’t minimalism boring or too sparse, with nothing in your life?
A: This is a misconception about minimalism — that it’s necessarily monk-like, empty, boring, sterile. Not at all. Well, it can be, if you go in that direction, but I don’t advocate that flavor of minimalism. Instead, we are clearing away all but the most essential things — to make room for that which gives us the most joy. Clear away the distractions so we can create something incredible. Clear away all the obligations so we can spend time with loved ones. Clear away the noise so we can concentrate on inner peace, on spirituality (if we wish), on our thinking. As a result, there is more happiness, peace, and joy, because we’ve made room for these things.” Leo Babauta
Are these two concepts compatible? Yes, if you ask me. A major Tarot collection consists of over a thousand decks – and several of my friends have them.
My own collection, in that context, is small – less than 100 decks, but all of them are exceptional either because they are hard to find, limited editions or simply because they are great reading decks and/or have outstanding artwork.
If you are going to be a savvy collector, you won’t be buying decks when they hit the Hard to Find/ Out of Print lists – by then their price has skyrocketed; you’ll be following new releases and buying them while they are fresh out of press. A newly released deck in Europe is around 20 euros, with shipment (from San Marino to you, or wherever your preferred Tarot dealer is.)
It hasn’t been unheard of that in time these decks reach 40x more of their initial purchasing value – if you do some research online, you can track the raise of value of Baba Prague’s decks for example.
Of course, commercial decks – those printed by major publishers in unlimited series – will hardly ever reach that value; so it does take a lot of researching, following Tarot artists’ work, reading forums and facebook groups (and, of course, the hearsay between the collectors) in order to make an informed and lucrative selection.
Myself, I buy decks I am impressed with at the first sight, that’s about it. I’ve never sold a deck, albeit I gave away at least two times more of what I kept for myself. (And among those decks are many which I received as a gift.)
It’s possible to make a business of it and many Tarotists do it, I find it to be an uber cool way to make an income – it’s artsy, it’s exciting, it’s magical – what else would one want from a business? I live of other things, so mine, at least for the time being, is directed towards acquiring the artwork I love and decks I enjoy reading.
I don’t necessarily need to possess every single deck I admire and I definitely don’t keep a single deck that I am not absolutely crazy about.
True, i was (jokingly) called cruel by a dear friend of mine who’s the owner of one of the world’s most impressive collections, she said that one can’t simply discard decks they don’t like because they are… like children… And it’s true, as much as collecting might come across as a greedy and possessive thing to do to those who simply don’t get it – once you become a collector, you develop quite a deep , emotional bond with the items you collect. (Mind you, i spend less on that than most people spend on unhealthy eating habits or some other vice of their choice.)
My “problem” is that besides decks, I collect books…
My living space (in Montenegro) is 85m2, I am a clean freak and at the same time I am trying to simplify my life… Improbable, but doable.
Until recently, I had a library – a room furnished with shelves only, where books used to dwell. The problem was that it took me 8h every other week to un-dust and tidy it and with my working schedule it did become a chore. With the books I apply the same principles as with decks – only loved ones and those of big value stay, everything else is gifted, donated and some of it – even thrown to the dust bin. I’ve moved what’s left to a closet. In that closet I used to store table linen – all those embroidered clothes and napkins… I got rid of those. As much as I love table art and albeit I am having guests often, I did downsize there. I opted for table clothes which don’t need to be ironed and paper napkins – albeit that causes heartache to my mother and my grandmother probably wouldn’t talk to me at all after that heresy. See, those napkins took me 4h every other week – to be washed, cleaned of vine stains and ironed… I don’t have that much time.
I applied the same principle to all the areas of my life – hobbies, friendships and even online forums and facebook groups.
There are many people and things I really like, but very few I can’t live without; the very little free time I get – I choose to spend on the latter.
(And here are some images of my home and how I’ve organized it during the latest de- cluttering .)
“Make the place where you live to be your place, even if it was not your own choice. And make yourself an essential part of this place. So you belong. Your life is the entire life. If the grass is greener somewhere else, then you let your life get lost. And the people you live with, lose you. Make thís grass green, fill in your place, give coordinates to your life. An unlimited life does not make you exist, but a limited one makes a big presence.” LiSe’s Hexagram 54