By Deborah Devenney
My family has a bit of a problem with collecting things. Well, not things in just any sense of the word: the number of books, dolls, and model cars have been cleared out and cut back over the years. There is one thing, however, that we just can’t seem to stop collecting: DVDs.
This is no new phenomenon; our own personal “Basement Blockbuster” started quite some time ago. Well, 21 years and 11 months to be exact.
Just after I was born, my parents took me home from the hospital to a house already inhabited by three older sisters. These sisters - and my dear aunt who was graciously helping to care for them - were all sick with chicken pox at the time of my blessed arrival. At a few days old I, too, came down with the disease. With five sick girls under her care, my wise mother called my father at work and told him to come home with a VCR and a movie to entertain the invalid.
My dad bought The Little Mermaid. It was watched approximately 3,000 times and ever since then, the collection of movies has only grown.
When I was a kid, we had a large cabinet upon which our very heavy television and bunny-ear antenna rested. The cabinet contained two shelves - each filled edge-to-edge with a myriad of VHS tapes. The tapes somehow multiplied until the cabinet could contain the stacks no longer.
In the early 2000s, we finally got a DVD player. Our first DVD was Lilo and Stitch. How marvelous these little disks were - they took up less than a third of the space of VHS tapes! “We must have more!” the family cried.
My sisters at the time were working at a coffee shop across from a Target (Oh, the cursed store I hate to love!). Their favorite thing after a long day of work was rewarding themselves with a new DVD to watch over the weekend. As the family of DVDs continued to grow, we continued to buy larger and larger storage units to house them - from small wire racks, to free-standing furniture.
A few years ago was when we first realized we may have a problem: we barely had room for the couches due to our great storehouse of entertainment devices. My father then decided to move the collection down to the basement, where he built seven very long shelves upon which our 500 DVDs are organized alphabetically in order to find them with ease.
Why (so many) DVDs?
At this point you may be thinking: “How ridiculous! What a waste of money! What kind of family needs 500 DVDs?!” To be honest, we know it’s a little bit crazy to have such a huge DVD collection. I mean, most of them are not even that good!
However, we are also proud of our Basement Blockbuster, and it has helped us save an enormous amount of money of the years.
It would be impossible to guess how much the collection is worth. Between Blu Ray discs, television series, and movies, we are probably talking in the thousands of dollars. However, one must also consider the savings over the years.
- My family does not and has never had cable or satellite. Over the last twenty-one years, that alone is a savings of probably tens of thousands of dollars!
- We rarely go to the movies all together, if at all. Considering the price of our whole family going to the movies just once would be over $100, and a DVD typically costs at most $20-$25, that is a few more thousands saved.
- It also helps our friends and neighbors save money: they always know they can ask us to borrow some of our movies (we keep a ledger and have our name on all of the cases, so we know where they all are). We don’t mind sharing!
- In addition to the savings over the years, it goes without saying the invaluable time spent together watching these silver-coated digital discs. I can’t even tell you how many hours we have spent as a family picking out a movie, taking turns getting each other snacks, and crowding closely on the couch to laugh and cry and take in the silver screen.
The point is, does one really need 500 DVDs (plus even more VHS tapes)? Simply, no.
Can one really afford 500 DVDs? Obviously, yes. It is something we have decided (or really, started collecting without realizing it) is an important use of our time and money. It is something we do as a family, and something that we have chosen to spend our money on. Some people go on expensive, exotic vacations. Some people go out to eat as a family. My family watches movies; we all our burden to bear!
What about you? What does your family spend money on? What is one thing that you or your family is known for (material-wise)?