My parents recently cleared out the spare room and loft. This means that my house is now full of crap. Crap that I’d intentionally left behind. I knew they wouldn’t throw it away (as my husband would want to). It would be there if I ever wanted it. Now that I have it back I’m sorting through all my “treasured” possessions with real hits of nostalgia. But I’m also shocked by some of the things I kept. I’ve got every school report from high school- and they’re all boring! Why did I ever think to keep these?
Most items have been thrown away, and over a decades worth of paperwork has been burnt. If finding it didn’t make me feel anything it was chucked. But I’ve seen the articles people share sometimes on nostalgia items. “Your old toys could be worth thousands” etc. So I went straight to the online market (we know where right?) to check.
I started my searching with some Polly Pockets, and one by one I could see them having sold on average for about £20 at a time. But then I saw a few that I had selling for hundreds. I was excited. I’d hit gold! I told my friend about it, and we then had a conversation for half an hour about all the different ones we’d had. It was like an addiction, each one I saw that I’d had gave a hit straight back in time.
I went on to sell two of them for £100 each, some items clocking over 100 views. Some of the buyers were online sellers of vintage toys (although I would hasten to argue that the 90s are not vintage just yet, surely), but some of the buyers were just buying for themselves. One successful bidder was buying for her daughter. She could have bought a new Polly cheaper, but chose instead something she herself had played with.
What are we buying with nostalgia?
What is it that we like so much about things we used to have? We clearly didn’t care that much for it at one time as it’s been thrown away. So why do we then want to get it back? The dictionary.com definition of nostalgia is:
“a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time”
So it’s happiness they’re buying. A memory of their Gran who gave it them one Christmas. Choosing it for a birthday in the catalogue. Picking it out in the Co-Op Department Store for being good at the dentist. We want to capture the happiness of a time in our life that was simple. A time where we had all of our family and thought they’d be there forever. Where there was no stress, and children were allowed to be children. Maybe this is what this woman wanted to pass on to her daughter- the permission to be young. To act like a child, playing fairytale wedding with the dolls to her hearts content.
What a beautiful thing that is.
Hold on to happiness
Some people say that living in the past is a dangerous thing, and I get that. If you’ve turned into a hoarder- things have gone too far. But don’t feel bad about wanting to keep the odd thing that makes you happy.
Needless to say my spare room now sports a rather fetching box frame complete with Polly Pocket locket, Tazo and Troll. And I am very happy with it.
For a thorwback to the 90s check out: