And it occurred to me just now, as I sifted through my case of ephemera, that essentially, I collect other people's memories. Tiny pieces of ordinary people's ordinary lives - people I never knew. I collect the theatre programmes and bus tickets and film wallets and paper coasters and cigarette cards and tourist maps and handwritten notes and purchase receipts and greetings cards that, once, someone decided not to throw away. I collect the adventures their luggage accompanied them on (my favourite suitcase - the one on top of my wardrobe, covered with faded and flaking labels - went to San Francisco, and Hawaii, and Japan, and Australia). I collect the smiles bound up in the cheap costume jewellery kept for its sentimental value, and the potential of the buttons bought for sewing projects perhaps imagined but never started. I collect the walks in the park, and weddings, and days out, and shopping trips that the handbags and hats and gloves were worn for.
It's not just "stuff".