Toy collector needs storage for his $300,000 collection
Yes, Mr Isaiah Tay, 40, keeps lots of toys.
More than 15,000, to be exact, but Mr Tay estimates that they are worth $300,000.
He says: "I collect the things I love, but I'm willing to let them go if I really need to."
He used to have lots of space for his collection when he lived in a cluster semi-detached house.
But he moved earlier this year and found that his new two-room condominium unit in Tanjong Rhu did not have room for his toy collection. So he turned to self-storage operator Extra Space.
He says: "Ever since my parents bought me toys when I was little, I've always found comfort in collecting them.
"Even though I stopped playing with them, I started to appreciate their value and see them as art pieces."
Mr Tay, who works in the fashion jewellery industry, is married, with a baby on the way.
He dated Madam Jamie Ng, 35, for six years before they married four years ago.
Madam Ng, a human resource manager in a technology company, says of her husband's passion: "I wondered if he was a pervert, but of course at that time I knew him pretty well already, so I thought that he was a very unique person."
She was referring to a particular collection - sexy and cute female figurines.
Madam Ng says she had mixed feelings at first.
After all, his collection includes Mizuho Kazami from Please Teacher, described as half-alien, half-human, with hot pink hair and purple eyes. The character is often skimpily attired.
His favourite anime figurine is Video Girl Ai, which he bought during a five-day Hong Kong toy shopping trip. He spent $3,000 just on toys.
Mr Tay started more than 20 years ago with Gundam model kits.
Three years later, he knew he was hooked when he found beauty even in a $2 capsule toy.
He says he was mesmerised by the details and vibrant colours.
His collection includes toys that cost an average of $250 and the most expensive so far, is the Transformer Ultimetal UM-01 Optimus Prime, which cost $800.
About 15 per cent of his collection are Gundam toys, 30 per cent are superheroes from Marvel or DC Comics and 50 per cent are other anime characters.
As his collection grew, Mr Tay quickly filled his first 23 sq ft storage unit in Boon Keng in May this year. Last month, he moved to a 44.3 sq ft storage unit, which costs him about $270 a month.
He says: "It's all filled up… I still have 10 per cent of my toys at my mother's place."
Madam Ng says that when relatives visit, they always take pictures after being impressed by her husband's collection.
So what happens when the baby arrives?
Mr Tay would not encourage his boy to collect and play with toys because he wants him to engage in outdoor activities.
But if his son starts showing an interest in toys, he would let him choose whatever toy he likes from his collection.
He dreams of getting a big house and dedicating space about the size of a three-room flat to display his entire toy collection.
He says he does not want them stored inside cardboard cartons anymore. He will keep the toys and discard the boxes.
As for the boxes, well, one man's trash is another man's treasure, so someone may pick them up and start a collection of his own.
Toys for keeps
TNP FILE PHOTO
Mr John Lee, 40, stores swords worth more than $750,000 in his storage facility in Chai Chee.
The investment firm director, who lives in a rented five-room flat in Tampines, says his collection includes samurai swords, ninja swords and Chinese swords.
There are also medieval swords, replicas from films and other blades.
The cheapest is $99 and the most expensive is a katana worth US$50,000 (S$63,300), which he keeps in his office abroad.
ST FILE PHOTO
Mr Muhammad Razali, 42, a technician, used to store his toy collection of more than 2,000 Star Wars and other action figurines in boxes in the bedroom of the HDB executive flat he shares with his wife.
In 2011, he rented a 30 sq ft unit at Extra Space Self Storage in Eunos Link and moved 80 per cent of his toys there.
Two years ago, he swopped it for a bigger storage unit.
His wife wanted to store her clothes as well as their two children's clothes and toys.
He pays about $270 a month rent for a 70 sq ft unit and thinks it is worth it.
5 Facts ABOUT STORERS
1.A 2014 survey of 1,000 people living in Singapore found that 56 per cent thought their homes were too cramped, but almost 40 per cent hold on to things they no longer use.
2.Men aged 55 to 65 find it the hardest to let go of their belongings including sporting equipment, photos and broken or old electronics such as TVs, computers and speaker systems
.3.Singapore has 47 self-storage facilities - up from a single facility in 2003. At least 26,000 self-storage units are available in these storage hubs.
4.Among personal or household storers, 9 per cent are hobbyists who store items such as figurines and antiques.
5.Wine collectors always store wine bottles on their side to keep the liquid in contact with the cork, which keeps the cork from drying out. Horizontal storing is also more space-efficient.
Source: Asiaone, Extra Space, Wine Spectator, Lock + Store, Property Guru, Colliers International