Collector or Hoarder? Why We Collect Things

Collector or Hoarder? Why We Collect Things

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People all throughout Australia and the world start new collections every day. What starts as a general spark of curiosity about the past or a sense of nostalgia can lead to a fulfilling hobby that gives collectors access to parts of history they never knew existed and open up the opportunity to socialise with fellow collectors, sharing the knowledge and the pleasure that comes with collecting.

It wasn’t until around 12,000 years ago, when our ancestors ditched their nomadic lifestyle and began to form settlements, where collecting became possible. It’s then that our ancestors were able to amass their belongings without having them constantly out in the open in transit.

While some collect items for financial gain, treating every item as an investment that increase their monetary wealth, many collectors admit that their collections are to self satisfy themselves, many of whom wouldn’t consider selling part of their collection they worked so tirelessly to create. For these collectors, the monetary value of their belongings is irrelevant, often finding comfort in not only the items but the act of collecting them, making parting with them difficult.

Many psychologists have attempted to explain the fundamental reason which causes certain people to collect. One explanation is that children that are unloved at an early age learn to seek comfort in gathering belongings for themselves; others believe that collectors use their collection as an extension of their identities, easing their existential anxieties by having something to live on when they pass. On an evolution standpoint, some experts believe that a collection was a sign of wealth and resources, which helped attract potential mates.

Many collectors choose to collect things that remind them of previous parts of their life that give them comfort. As we just talked about, that time period may be childhood where they found comfort in material items where as others may collect items that remind them of certain people or events in their lives that they wish to be reminded of. These very personal collections which consist of items of a similar theme, which the collector finds comfort, can bring the emotions of the past into their present lives.

A collection is something that can be left behind by a collector once they are gone. For those who have existential anxiety, it can create a sense of comfort knowing that something that is an extension of themselves will live on once they are gone.

As a collection can soon become a major part of a person’s life, the thrill of the chase for desirable items can become more enjoyable than the actual collection itself. Many collectors get a great sense of fulfilment by applying their efforts into finding and acquiring items that they desire. Once they are successful, they look to the next item with the same hopes of fulfilment.

The Difference Between Collecting & Hoarding

Some people believe there is a large difference between collecting and hoarding, where others don’t see much of a difference. After doing research on the behavioural traits of collectors vs. hoarders, it’s clear that there’s a clear difference between the two.

  • Where collectors are proud of their collection, hoarders are ashamed and often embarrassed of their possessions.

  • Where collectors organise and maintain their belongings, hoarders keep them scattered and unorganised.

  • Where collectors display and often flaunt their possessions, hoarders often refuse others to view their possessions and attempt to hide their belongings.

  • Where collectors budget their time and effort with their hobby, hoarders often times are in debt due to their habit.

  • Where collectors feel accomplished and satisfied by adding to their collection, hoarders feel sad or ashamed after acquiring more belongings.

    The theme that follows throughout all of these behavioural traits is that collectors are more organised and goal orientated where hoarders are often compulsive and unhappy with their behaviour but can’t seem to control themselves.

    For the organised collector, self storage offers a secure and easily accessible alternative to taking up space at your home. With 24/7 security and weatherproof storage spaces, you will have peace of mind knowing that your collection is safe and in proper condition while in storage. Here at Palmers, we offer a wide range of storage spaces for all types of collections from wine to comic books, with climate controlled units that will keep the integrity of your belongings intact.

    For a friendly chat about how our storage services may be helpful to you and your collection, give us a call today on 02 9742 6662 and we will happily provide you with a free quote for your requirements.