May 13, 2009

Hard Decisions. About, Um, Dolls.


Perhaps the first thing you will notice about this picture is, "Hey! That's the old couch! Paul must have fixed it!" And you would be right: he did fix it, so now we still have it, but in the playroom rather than as the main piece of furniture in our living room.

Or perhaps the first thing you will notice about this picture is the SEVENTEEN DOLLS sitting ON the couch.

This is a little embarrassing. After William was born, we'd planned to have a third baby about 2 or 2.5 years later. Then Paul lost his job and couldn't find another for almost two years and so I went to work full-time. There's never a "perfect time" for a pregnancy, but there are definitely times that are better than others, and this was not one of them. So we delayed our plans.

Evidently I went a little crazy? That's all I can think of. Because I had NEVER been interested in dolls before, not even as a child, and yet I started collecting them, and collecting clothes for them, and CHANGING their clothes, and COMBING THEIR HAIR and so forth. Then Paul got a job and I quit mine and got pregnant and totally lost interest in the dolls and packed them all away, so draw your own conclusions.

We're going to be putting in a second bathroom, and it's going to mean a loss of storage space in the basement. My doll collection, totally ignored for more than four years now, takes up five huge Rubbermaid bins. I've been reluctant to cull, though, because what if I get interested in dolls again? Some of these dolls were acquired only after expensive, time-consuming quests. What if I get rid of them and then WANT THEM BACK?

Well, but this is getting silly. I can't just hang onto them forever, and Elizabeth is, so far, uninterested in dolls, and we need the space. So my goal is to pare it down to what fits in ONE large bin. That way I can keep my top favorites and my favorite outfits, just in case either Elizabeth or I suddenly get interested, but can also free up space.

The problem, of course, is deciding on favorites. I'm very influenced by how hard the dolls were to find and how much they cost, or by how badly I wanted to buy them originally. I'm TRYING to judge only by how much I LIKE the doll, but it's tough. Doll #1 was a $20 Walmart doll that eventually went down to $8 on clearance. I bought her new from a large stock of the same doll. Doll #11 was a hard-to-find doll from a line of dolls that sold for $80-100 each before the line was discontinued; I bought her used on eBay after many failed attempts, in a very exciting auction that I WON and went around feeling thrilled about for WEEKS. I prefer Doll #1. But it's hard to ditch Doll #11.

All right, yes, this is all just a stall while I'm supposed to be culling. Fine, I'll get back to it now.

61 comments:

Kim said...

Hi, my name is Queen of the Packrats. I would hang onto everything I've ever owned if I could. I guess my point is I'm not the one to give any advice on this because I have to force myself to purge every few years, yet whenever I find something I've saved but haven't seen for a long time, I still get extremely excited about it.
I wish you good luck with the culling.

Annika said...

Isn't it interesting that not having a #6 has not rekindled your interest in the dolls? I think it is.

I don't know how to get rid of stuff so that is about as helpful as I'm going to be!

The word verification, however, is clearly trying to tell us something: towbar.

Mama (Stacy) said...

My 2.5 year old daughter saw me reading this post and just about lost her mind! She quickly informed that she would love ALL the dollies and that they needed some clothes. If you are looking for a good home, apparently I have someone here who is willing to adopt them.

I will add that she is an only child as of right now and also tries to 'take home' every baby she sees.

Nowheymama said...

Would it make you feel better to do a giveaway/adoption drive for the dolls? (I see Stacy is having a similar train of thought.)

Nowheymama said...

Also, I'd keep whatever one looks the most like Elizabeth/she is at all interested in, just in case she becomes a doll person later on.

Lawyerish said...

I may be alone here, but I'm not sure I could sleep at night with all those dolls in my basement, all huddled together in a plastic bin, just waiting for a stormy night when they can all come to life and KILL US ALLLLLLL!

I'm just saying, when you pare down, you'll be more able to fight them off in the case of a freak spontaneous animation incident.

Melospiza said...

Okay, this totally cracked me up. Starting with the fact that all of the dolls are modestly wearing underwear. I started picturing the culling process, which evidently involves a lot of pre-preparation (dressing, arranging on couch, photographing on couch, carefully arranging doll #9's foot to cover #8's apparent lack of undergarments--etc.) As to the cull, I am unhelpful. My culling techniques generally involve organizing objects into sets, then discarding objects that fall outside of that set. I also occasional cull using the "quick! love or hate!" method, which works great when I'm sorting kids' stuff, less great when I'm sorting my own.

Kathy said...

How many dolls & outfits will fit in one bin?

I think doll #16 has the prettiest hair, by the way.

Jen said...

i am 1000% with lawyerish.

and also, i may never sleep again.

Whimsy said...

I'm betting that Doll #6 is the Ringleader, come the fateful lightening storm when they are all animated and try to take over the world.

Miss Grace said...

This picture is freaking me out. However Gabriel has been begging me for a girl doll with girl hair because all of his babies are boy babies that look like boys and he thinks they should have a sister and on the one hand I think that's very sweet but on the other his father is just BARELY okay with the fact that Gabriel has three babies that he likes to tend.

Firegirl said...

OMG, I forgot all about the dolls!

I agree, keep the one that looks like Elizabeth for her and the top 2 faves of yours. I like the "Quick: Love or hate it" idea too.

Lawyerish made me ROTFLMAO.

Elizabeth said...

Yep, those dolls are scaring the crap out of me. ALL THOSE EYES STARING.

Meredith said...

I'm with lawyerish. And now I'll probably have nightmares. Thankfully all the dolls in this house have soft legs - nothing that could stand up on their own (although if were thinking of otherworldly animation I don't suppose it would matter), but now I have a picture of animated baby dolls dragging themselves through my house to get to me . . .

yeah I'm having nightmares tonight.

Soxmama said...

I am cracking up picturing the dolls coming to life...and I'm trying to think of a good hiding place.

I would also be in on an adoption if you decide to go that route. My 3.75 y/o girl would go CRAZY caring for a new "baby."

Kristin said...

Oh my. That is one creepy picture. I almost think it is made creepy by the fact that they are all in their underwear. As far as the culling, I am not a hoarder of anything really, except maybe books, so I get rid of things regularly. I try to go through the bins in our basement twice a year, and I am ruthless. I'm firmly in the love it or hate it camp, or more often, the "have I used this in the last year or so" camp. If not, I toss it. I agree with another commenter who said decide how many you're going to keep at the beginning, like 2 or 3, and then pare it down knowing you will be getting rid of the majority of them.

3carnations said...

Shouldn't some of those dolls have clothes?

Kristi said...

I was all prepared to just write: WOW. Because, really, WOW. However, upon zoom-in of the picture, they are actually very pretty and one can see (sorta) how one can get into them (sorta). PS - You're weird. Cute weird. But weird nonetheless. ;)

Have a dolly contest (one which I shall not be entering)!

Lippy said...

How do you have a girl who isn't obsessed with babies? What magic power do you have? I have no advice on the culling, but after Lawyerish's comment I might get rid of all of them. Or set something really heavy on the bin so they can't get out.

el-e-e said...

Oh! I was waiting for you to ask US to help you cull! But you didn't. I'm slightly disappointed as I think #16's cute little gingham underwear and #7's obvious need for love and attention would have earned them my vote.

Oh well. Hope you're making progress!

Also, you deserve a brownie after.

Kristi said...

LOLOLOL at Lawyerish! The stuff of nightmares!

DomestiKook said...

Okay, #9 is looking RIGHT AT THE CAMERA and POINTING at me. I have some antique porcelain dolls in the linen closet that I am thinking may need some kind of securememnt.
You said you had 2 bins and wnated to cull to one bin. That tells me you can keep up to 8 dolls and their clothes. My picks, knowing nothing about them, are... 1, 2, 5, 10, 11, 14, with 3, 12 and 13 as alternates.
Nice ethnic diversity.

Eva said...

Ditch 10! She scares me.
I never realized until #6 that I never owned a doll with curly hair. Perhaps if I had, I wouldn't have had such a complex as a child. Or adult. Or maybe I still would.

Kristine said...

I don't know if you noticed or not, but the girls seem a little cold. And some of them are creepy. But then, I have the one doll I got when I was 4 and she is by no means a collector type doll.

Kristin C. said...

I...am at a loss for words.

I think you should GET RID of your dolls. Especially if your daughter has no interest. Holding on to them "just in case" is silly.

Virginia Ruth said...

Ooh, this one touches a nerve. I have a largish collection of porcelain dolls, having gotten one for Christmas every year for... a number of years in my childhood. Right now they live in a cardboard box, well-padded to be sure, that has gone untouched from one move to another. Having just moved again, I look at that box (currently occupying a prominent place in the middle of my floor with all my other unpacked/storage boxes) and think, "Do I really need these dolls? All of them? How long is it before I'll actually have a place with enough space to display them?" But... but... they're my dolls! Sigh. I'll probably throw the box into a closet and forestall the decision till my next move. Repeat ad infinitum.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to get them all out of your house as soon as you can find #8's panties.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - I'm not Anonymous, I'm Laura!

Jewels said...

I can't give advice on this, I'm too busy reading preteen books and searching for an exact replica of my childhood dollhouse.

That being said, I like #12.

g~ said...

I say hold onto one (for Elizabeth) and toss the rest because think of how much fun it would be to "find" dolls that Elizabeth potentially likes WITH HER. Also, you could possibly make some cash to plan your next trip to see Niestle.
(who totally thought your niece was named Nestle the first time I read that...)
g~

Anonymous said...

Well. This may sound insensitive, but I say get rid of them all. I adore your quirkiness- it is so fun and cute, and I hate to be mean, but this photo is just plain creepy...Doesn't it freak you out just a little knowing they are all down in your basement? If you don't want to throw them out, maybe you could give them away or donate them...

Anonymous said...

In re-reading my comments, I feel like a big jerk. Whatever you end up doingwith the dolls, I hope you are pleased with your decision- really! And I meant it when I said I think you are fun and cute!

This blog post is leaving me with some freaky images- my verification word is "eardays" and now all I can picture is a bunch of giant ears walking around carrying dolls...

Magic27 said...

Have to say that I have pretty much always loathed dolls like this (particularly the ones with eyes that open when you put them upright - gave me the creeps when I was a kid) and can't fathom the idea of collecting or keeping such things. And neither of my daughters is really wild about dolls (yeah, they've got a "baby" each, but that's it, but they only play with them very occasionally), much preferring soft toys and the inevitable Barbie-StrawberryShortcake-Disney Fairy-Disney Princess type dolls.
But I am with you on the "needing more space but having trouble ditching stuff" thing. I would recommend, like many others, keeping maybe one or two (not as many as "one bin-full") and either giving or donating the others.

Gina said...

First thought: Dolls!
Second thought: why are dolls half-naked?
Third thought: old couch?

I agree with those who said keep the one(s) that resemble your daughter the most. And I would sell the rest. I imagine there are more of us that would buy one than there are dolls to sell.

Hannah said...

Hmm. As a fellow "just-in-case" pack-rat, I fully sympathize. I would keep the one that most closely resembles Elizabeth (I don't think I've seen any pictures of her, but #11 looks like the closest match to me.)

I would also consider keeping two more - specifically #6 and #14 - because they are nice to look at and don't have the same creepy "I'm-watching-you" feel that some of the others (ex. #9) do.

For the rest of the dolls, line them up (clothed, this time!) and take some pictures. Your blog readers can enter giveaways to adopt dolls and/or you can sell the remaining ones. The money earned from this can go towards another Niestle visit!

Shelley said...

You are so delightfully strange.

Anonymous said...

I never post here (sorry!), but read here a lot (my fav. blog...)...and I have to say this: I collect dolls, too, and have had plenty of people think it is ok to call me or my collection weird or freaky or creepy whatever. It's pretty hurtful.

Your collection of dolls looks lovely (clothes or not...) because it represents a part of you and what makes (or has made you) happy. Don't feel that you have to throw it all away.
If you don't enjoy them yourself, you might get them out for your grandchildren, or your NIECE!! My doll collection makes me the favorite aunt in my family! :O)

BTW, I am a hoarder, so you might not want to listen to me...but collect what you want and allow yourself to keep big bins of stuff if you want. It's not silly (or freaky or weird) at all.

Heather said...

I like 1, 8 and 13 but kinda think maybe you should aim for one of each hair colour or ethnicity?

kris said...

i think they are all creepy..

HHRose said...

Okay, I don't have time to read the comments, so forgive me if this is repetitive, but the only thing I really notice and wonder about is why the dolls are all TOPLESS if you have all these beautiful clothes for them!!! Did you strip them of their belongings so the outfits wouldn't influence your decision?

;o)

Michelle said...

And this ... THIS is why those people who charge you way too much money to help you throw things away have careers. I feel your pain.

jac said...

I agree with HHRose. To me it wouldn't be about the dolls, but about their clothes. If they were all dressed I bet people would be like, "Victorian Milkmaid #4! And also Flaxen Haired German Fraulein #11!" rather than "AIEEEEE THEY COME FOR MY SoOOOooOOUUL," you know?

PS. My word verification is "Hestees" which I believe is the name of Doll #15. Am I right?

Swistle said...

I just hadn't gotten their clothes out yet. The dolls were stored in different bins than the clothes, so when I was unpacking the doll bins I just put them on the couch as a convenient place to look at all of them at once and decide which ones to keep.

Bunny said...

I mean this in the nicest way possible, as I do consider you my favorite blogger, but...
You're kind of crazy.
(I love that about you.)

Bring A. Torch said...

Next time my hubby expresses alarm at how fast I accumulate stuffed animals...I think I'll send him here. I get the feeling, based on how many stories I've heard of people moving previously unpacked boxes from one home to another (and my own numerous such boxes), that pack-rattery is ridiculously common in humans. Your attempt to attack it is most admirable.

plk said...

Wowee. Great collection. I'd say keep it, if you can find the room. But if you are culling, I'd love to buy #5 from you - she looks a lot like my daughter.

Anonymous said...

This is a post where I'm supposed to say NOT CRAZY, right? But I can't do it. That is nutso. I know some women who can't get fertile get obsessed with dolls, but to me, it's creepy... okay, so you're not nuts, you're just very different from me and maybe a touch less rational.

Good luck with the culling-- maybe have someone else make some picks... maybe try to sell the expensive ones on Ebay.

PS: I love how they look like America's Next Top Model in this picture.

Lora said...

you are the most adorable thing in the whole world, has anyone ever told you that?

it could have been worse, you could have started hoarding cats.

then where would you be today?

then where would that couch be today?

i shudder to think

crisitunity said...

This cracks me up. Because I am totally like this. I obsess and turn the silliest lamest decisions into THE MOST IMPORTANT DILEMMA OF ALL TIME. In a year, you won't care a bit what happened to these dolls. But right now OH MY GOD I HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO ABOUT THESE DOLLS BEFORE I FEED MY CHILDREN.

Seriously. I'm exactly like this.

Ellie said...

My mom just bought a "magic attic" doll for my daughter...actually I think it was #15. And from looking at the website, I think that several of them are magic attic dolls. Definitely sell them on ebay. Since they were discontinued you should be able to get at least one plane ticket. And if #12 is Chloe from that line, she sells for $100 (according to my mom). If you have any of the clothes, they sell really well also. I'll be happy to buy some from you! Also, I don't think dolls are creepy! : ) Except barbies...but even they're not nearly as creepy as 6 year olds singing about how they "wanna be a rock star".

bananafana said...

I'm probably no help because I would absolutely keep them all. That said, I will totally buy #5 from you should you choose to part with her. :) I love dolls but I'd be much more likely to accumulate massive quantities of dollhouse furniture . . .

Kathy said...

I'd sell whichever ones are hardest to find on Ebay. Especially if you make more than you paid you'll be just as delighted as when you bought them.

Whimsy said...

Oh Swistle! I commented yesterday, early on in the day--- but came back here today to read all about the controversy. I ended up LAUGHING UNTIL I CRIED. You poor dear. Here you are, just posting about these dolls and the fact that you're tormented about which ones to get ride of, etc. etc. And what do you get? FIFTY-THREE (now 54) COMMENTS FROM PEOPLE TELLING YOU TO GET RID OF YOUR BABIES - THEY ARE SCARY AND ZOMBIE-LIKE AND WILL EAT OUR FLESH. I'm so sorry. I'm still laughing, of course, but I'm also feeling a little bad about it.

Kisses!

Anonymous said...

OMG if you cared as much about your children as you did your dolls...

Jen said...

wow, who saw that one coming from an anon troll? *raises hand*

jeez, if you're going to be an ass, at least be creative.

Swistle said...

Anon- Hee! You mean I should put my kids in Rubbermaid bins in the basement for four years? I sure do show those dolls how much I love them!

Meg said...

I adore you. I'm not into doll collecting but you should see some of the (seriously crazier) shit I've been hoarding for years that I should get rid of.

I think you should keep all of them if you love them. Even if they only sit in a tub in the basement. If you don't love them, then I'd go with picking 1 or 2 favourites to keep, then closing your eyes and grabbing them at random and choosing that way. This one to keep, this one to chuck, etc. etc.

GOOD LUCK.

jess said...

LOL at your reply to the anon. commenter. I believe you've also neglected to strip all of your children down to their undies and taken pictures of them to post on the internet. What kind of mother are you?!?!?

I think dolls are creepy. I'm sorry, I can't help it.

Sam said...

I'm not one to spend time reading comments (too busy with my boob in someone's mouth) but I'm glad I read these today. Now I'm wondering where my dolls are and if they are in the house (and not the garage) are they coming to get me?

qwanty said...

Okay, I'm going to go out on a big bitch limb here. Collecting stuff is rad. I have a binder of Ren and Stimpy cards encased in special plastic sleeves. I have a drawer full of japanese bento things. I have a closet that is unusable because it is full of vintage dresses that don't fit me. So yay for fun things that make you happy! But you sort of acknowledged that you were kind of embarrassed about this whole thing, and sort of recognized that it was maybe driven by a baby jones. So while you might like the dolls, maybe you don't "like" like them. Maybe kick them to the curb. Give them to little people who will love them. Or grandmas. Some grandmas totally dig that shit. If your daughter suddenly develops an interest in dolls, take her out and get a new one together. And if you maybe become interested again? Maybe? They've been in a box for four years. If you wake up one day and think "Hey! I want to collect dolls!" just deal with it the same way you deal with waking up thinking Ringo is your favorite Beatle: mull it over and know it will pass. Okay. Scooching off the bitch branch now.

Also: my word verification is "testies"!

brightfeather said...

I'm probably the wrong person to ask about this kind of thing, because I collect dolls. This said, I collect My Child dolls from the 80s and not other kind. My advice would be to reunite them with their original clothes and sell the more expensive ones and keep the ones you like the best. I only have three of the rarer dollys and the rest of my collection isn't worth much. But oh! If I had a brunette midpart ringlet... Sucker is worth around a thousand bucks. It'd be a struggle weather or not to sell it!