I think every serious collector has done it at some point...misplace something from your collection. Often it is one of your favorite things too that you are sure that you put "some place special"! Clearly it was so special that you you have out-foxed your future self. It can really make you doubt your sanity the longer it takes you to find it..assuming that you do find it. You start to wonder if it even existed at all? Did you sell it? Was it stolen? Did the movers leave it behind? Etc...nightmare...etc...
I moved to my current apartment in August of 2013. It took a month to get around to unpacking the dolls as I added some new shelves for my ever expanding Integrity Toy collection. I would slowly do a couple of boxes when I could and had to be clever about stashing the boxes in a closet, under beds, and in the storage room in our new basement. So for awhile, I assumed I just had not come across the boxes that had my DC Stars custom Joker and Lex Luther. I also noticed that my Poison Ivy Women of Power version was missing too. I wondered if I had sold her? Maybe?
I did not really start to worry until Christmas when I had clearly been through all the boxes that I could see and nada. So I kept myself from going nutty by convincing myself that they must be in one of the boxes at the bottom of the pile in the storage unit. During the baby's nap on Wednesday, I rigged up the video monitor and headed down to the basement for battle but was devastated to find nothing. Crap! Maybe they really did get left behind?
So then Friday, I was moving things around in my sewing/guest room so the Roomba could do its business and noticed the HUGE box from the Tonner Sydney Masquerade doll slipped in at the side of my desk between a book shelf...wait? Where did that come from? Sure enough, the three dolls where in there along with my beloved Wonder Woman/Diana of Themyscira! I did not even realize that one was missing!
It was a bit like Christmas but also reminded me that I really need to get a list started and maintain it. The list should document all the dolls that I currently own or are on pre-order, the price I paid, date acquired or expected to acquire, where I bought it, and location (On shelf? In storage? At the doll hospital? Etc...). The list would also document when something leaves the collection: sold/traded/donated, price, to where, etc... The list can be helpful in figuring it what to charge when selling and also bring your collecting habit into greater focus..i.e. "I spent how much on GIJoe collectible plates last year?" You get the point.
This would also prevent doubles. I am sure we have all bought something twice..not remembering that we already have it. This is super easy to do with lipstick, yarn, comics, and doll outfits. You could have this list on your phone or print up a hard copy to take with you to conventions. You might also add a section for "Wanted" items and include the original retail price and whatever the current Ebay or internet selling price is...that way you don't overpay while at a convention for something you could get for less online.
Lastly and likely most importantly, this list is exactly what you need, along with some photos, to get your collection insured. This was brought up on the W Club recently that most homeowner or renter insurance only covers collections up to a certain point. Otherwise you need to get some extra insurance to cover it. This applies to fancy jewelery sometimes or even things like a handbag collection. The point is...think about the things in your house that you love...and then think about how much it would cost to replace! Besides, it could be both fun and therapeutic to go through your stuff to document. Then once the list is complete, maintaining it should be much easier to keep up if you enter the things as acquired. There are also some apps to help with this and at least one online collecting community...cllctin? For yarn there is ravelry. I wonder if ether is one for makeup and sewing patterns?
Happy Spring Cleaning!