Collecting Advice: Don’t Make This Mistake With A Collection

I am posting only briefly to say that I am minorly traumatized by recent events that happened in the actual physical location of The Vault.

Upon opening a giant (4 foot long, i.e. so big it had handle openings cut into its ends so it can be moved) cardboard footlocker-sized box of posters I have not looked in since 2003, I discovered the remains of what was a rodent ‘condominium development’. I say the remains, because the mice responsible were evicted well over 2 years ago (their food source was eliminated as soon as I became aware of their presence in the house). So I wasn’t confronted with any actual mice or their corpses.

What I did find were some destroyed posters, thoroughly chewed and shredded. Color me upset and mildly grossed out.

Most of the posters I lost were thankfully not VDO related…in fact the only posters like that affected were my 3 US single sided styles A B & C posters for ‘The Cell’. Thankfully these weren’t expensive posters and will not be hard to replace (in fact I will probably go ahead and spend a little extra for the double sided versions I had wanted in the first place). But the mess that had to be cleaned up was not fun and took me several days to straighten out. And I lost some of my other lesser movie posters and many promotional and concert music posters (from an earlier collecting phase) which I liked and was saving to get framed at some point so I’m kind of mourning their loss and frustrated that it was so easy for the mice to ruin them.

At least I had the good sense to store the most important and/or valuable posters inside thick walled poster tubes with plastic end caps…mice were unable to enter these at all. The posters either not in tubes or in a few cases in partially capped tubes towards the bottom of the box were the ones that got shredded into confetti. But I have definitely learned not to store anything “shreddable” and “organic” like paper or wool or cotton in cardboard boxes in the basement (the same mice destroyed a few sweaters of mine stored in cardboard wardrobe boxes, the kind you get from a moving company that have a metal pole from which you can hang hangers and the same offending handle openings cut into two of its sides).

I think what happens with the violated cardboard boxes is some of the mice enter through the handle holes, get stuck in the boxes and shred up anything between them and getting back out of the boxes. They all eventually figure out how to escape but they leave a lot of damage in the aftermath.

This not so subtle wake-up call prompted me to upgrade every kind of item I am storing related to VDO that will fit into the following nifty storage container made by Sterilite:

Sterilite Wheeled Footlocker

I have invested in 9 of them so far and have plans to buy at least one more (for VDO TV appearances and movies on DVD, VCD, VHS tapes and laserdiscs which are currently split between 2 18 gallon Rubbermaid tubs). Unlike the locker pictured in the photo, the ones I found are black with a white handle although they also come in a deep blue with a silver handle. They strike me as extremely rodent-proof, easy to move around and easy to store. They’re not exactly cheap, but they are easy to find in my area and give me piece of mind should critters decide to try and move into the house again (living in the country this is always a strong possibility). And transferring everything into what I think of as safer containers has made me better organize and catalog what I have. So this is something of a blessing in disguise. I just wish these had existed when I started collecting…they would have saved me some grief (but then so would me packing away the posters more carefully in the first place).

I still need to find something more suited to posters that are more than 4′ in their smallest dimension (things like banners and subway sized posters) but I have some ideas about how to better protect those than with only capped cardboard tubes stacked on their ends in lidless plastic Rubbermaid tubs.

So I and the stuff are going to be okay. In the relative scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal and it could have been worse. And 99.8% of my VDO stuff is unaffected although it’s been eye opening to find that I needed to get so many of these footlockers to house 6+ years worth of collecting efforts.

Still I don’t understand why the mice picked my collection to shred when they could have done the same to papers stored in cardboard boxes with handle holes…those they left untouched…go figure.


Music “Don’t Ask Me Why” Acoustic Version by The Eurythmics (from the promotional only ‘Acoustic Eurythmics’ CD Sampler released in 1989)

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