Psychology Behind Collecting

I’ve always loved trying to find the why. Why do I do this, why do people do that? It’s part of the reason why I went to school for Microbiology (but it wasn’t enough of a want to make it my career path). So, i wanted to know why I have a passion for collecting specific things. I never noticed that I have a knack for wanting to collect things until I started to date Shaun. He doesn’t really have the want to collect things, he only wants to get a whole bunch of cars but at the same time he doesn’t want to house all of them. So, it seems weird to me that he doesn’t have the same passion as me about something. Later on, I noticed my whole family has a collection of some sort.

Hoarding vs. Collecting
I have seen the show hoarders a couple of times, and I know that there are some hoarders who try to call themselves collectors. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t a hoarder, so I wanted to know the differences between them.

Hoarders have an emotional attachment to the items they own, and have a hard time getting rid of anything. Hoarders however lose the ability to have their things in a sorted out way. So, if you asked them to find something specific, they wouldn’t be able to find it easily. Another difference, is they have a harder time living a normal life, especially since their home becomes a storage facility.

Collectors have their collections in a neat and organized manner. They are able to find anything from their collection easily, and will most likely have their collection catalogued in some way. These people are able to live normal and healthy lives, but do enjoy the hunt to complete their collections.

Obviously, finding this made me happy that I am not similar to a hoarder. I do enjoy cataloguing my collections if possible and they are all in a particular way that makes me happy. Now, my second question is if it is a genetic trait? They do link hoarding to a type of OCD. Collectors aren’t really connected to it, until it becomes a problem and can transform into hoarding. They more relate collecting to an addiction issue versus any type of disorder.

They reason that members in the same families are collectors might be from nurture. If you grew up around it, then it is something that you learned to do at a young age without realizing it. Shaun’s family aren’t collectors, they don’t have any particular obsession over one thing (besides baking). So, it makes sense for Shaun to think it is weird for me to have this obsession over certain things.

For now, Shaun and I have a good compromise on my collections, so it won’t be affecting our relationship. We have been able to enjoy some of them together, and I kind of got Shaun addicted to expanding his Lego collection to go with mine. Overall, if you like collecting things, don’t let it take over your life or put you in a bad spot like gambling could. Learn to take it in small steps and figure out what your breaking point is so you know when to stop before it is to late.

From Your Life Tutor
-Sam

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