It's Travis' Turn column: I am not a hoarder, just a collector

The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.

I'm never doing this again.

That's what I told myself almost four years ago, the last time I moved.

Moving is never a fun proposition, especially for somebody like me, who has a lot of things.

I must make a distinction here. I am a collector. I am not a hoarder. A collector is a person who knows what they like and acquires superior examples of that thing (or those things). A hoarder is somebody who says, "I'm not using this banana peel now, but I might in the future, so I better save it."

I collect a variety of things: Vintage taxidermy, typewriters, records, oddities, but most of all, I collect books. Lots of them.


How many, you ask? Well, when I moved almost four years ago, I had 80 boxes of them. Smallish boxes, yes, the kind you can find at the liquor store, not too big, not too small, but still. Eighty of them.

Even to somebody like me, this was a lot. It made moving more than a little difficult, since these boxes took up most of the trailer my parents borrowed to help haul all my stuff. (Bear in mind, I wasn't moving just books, but furniture, household goods and clothes, as well as the aforementioned other collections.)

It was a trial, and when it was over, I made a vow to never put myself through it again.

I did not, however, take a vow to stop collecting. Consequently, over the next few years I continued to acquire more oddities, records, etc., but especially books. Always books.

I don't go in for any particular genre. I like them all, to varying degrees. I also don't seek out copies that have high financial value. If I can find a paperback of something I like for 50 cents, I'm happy. Book sales? I'm there.

This is perhaps why my apartment resembled not so much a living space as a library, but I was comfortable with that. After all, I wasn't going anywhere.

Then things began to happen at work which made me reconsider this mindset. I won't go into what they were, but suffice it to say, they were enough to make me rejoin the journalism profession after a break of about six years.

I was glad to have the job, but I wasn't glad about the prospect of packing up and moving the entire menagerie three hours away to Alexandria.


I tried to make it as easy as possible. I donated at least 20 boxes of books, as well as some of the other items, to various organizations. Yet even after all that, I still had more books than when I had arrived. I estimate the total to be about 90. Even to somebody like me, this was too many.

I described the last time I moved as a trial. This time was a disaster.

To begin, we couldn't fit everything into the trailer. Far from it, actually. We had to leave behind five bookshelves, in addition to some other things. (Note: I did have help from many friends and relatives, for which I am truly thankful.)

Now comes the unpacking, and as I go through each box, I find myself saying, "Do I really need this?" and usually coming to the conclusion that yes, I do.

One thing I am not unsure of is whether I will be moving again. That answer is easy: No. I'm never doing this again.

Aren't I?

“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

Travis Gulbrandson covers several beats, including Osakis School Board and Osakis City Council, along with the Brandon-Evansville School Board. His focus will also be on crime and court news.
What To Read Next
Get Local