Roxy with military dog stamps

Last week I ordered an empty stamp binder and set of two-row stamp pages, so now I can easily page through my small collection of first-day covers. And with this modest bit of philatelist organization accomplished, I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much joy it brings me to gather my treasures in this way.

Anything becomes a treasure–a cherished collectible–if you put it in an album. Last night I received another presentation book I’d ordered to archive the pictures, cards, and silly printouts J posts on our refrigerator. A saner soul would toss these out in the name of decluttering, but it brings me joy (again) to flip through an album of memories: an archive of random moments.

Yesterday I heard part of an NPR story about a journalist who wrote a New York Times op-ed in praise of clutter, arguing that sentimental objects and decor help personalize our homes, apartments, and offices. This isn’t to advocate for hoarding, he was quick to add…but I’d argue that one person’s hoard is another person’s treasure.

It’s not accidental that the title of my blog includes the word “hoarded,” as I have always been a collector. A child’s inclination to collect stamps or dolls or coins (or, in the case of my childhood, model horses) is an early manifestation of an archivist’s urge. An archive is a repository of texts and artifacts that are clutter today but will be history tomorrow.

And although I doubt historians will be interested in my ragtag collections, my intended audience isn’t them but me in the future: someone who will be interested in unpacking the archaeology of my younger life.