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The Joy Of Collecting

3 min read

Everyone is more or less a collector. It starts small. You pick up an inexpensive souvenir during a holiday to remember the event or a little object from a flea market. Then you seek out similar items on your next travels or on your Saturday visit to that thrift shops and, before you know it, you have a collection of postcards, magnets, stickers, figurines, coins, stamps, dolls, taking part in swap meets, joining a collectors club on Yahoo groups and shopping the collectibles shows.

In the past, I used to collect all sort of things: stamps and little rubbers, samples of vintage perfumes, turtles figurines. I enjoyed the thrill of finding something rare and special, guessing the history behind the object. Today I prefer watching other people’s cabinets of curiosities rather than accumulate my own little treasures, but I still have plenty of admiration for collectors: I know firsthand that it can be a happy, positive and enriching experience.

Which types of collectors are you?

According to Fritz Karch and Rebecca Robertson, author of the book ‘Collected: Living With The Things You Love’, collectors can be neatly divided into 15 personalities. Among them: the Exceptionalist (if the object isn’t rarified, they’re not interested); the Containerist (collectors who gravitate toward vessels of all sorts); the Fantasist (someone who seeks out items simply for their whimsy, items serving no function other than to spark pleasure and tickle the imagination); the Pragmatist (this collector is drawn to items with a function); the Zoologist (who is drawn to animal imagery); the Machinist (intrigued by mechanical objects and obsolete technology); the Colorist (a collector who focuses on one color and is more interested in the collection as a whole than each individual piece); the Maximalist (someone who goes for volume, seeking large numbers and large things) and the Modest-ist (humble collector who enjoys everyday objects, sometimes making them into DIY projects).

For all these people,  the value of their collections are not monetary but emotional.

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Why Do People Collect Things?

Collecting can ground us in the present while giving us a sense of the past. According to several studies, the collections help mature people ease insecurity and anxiety about losing a part of themselves. Some collect for the thrill of the hunt. For these collectors, collecting is a quest, a lifelong pursuit which can never be completed. We also collect to express our appreciation of beauty; it satisfies our emotional, aesthetic and intellectual needs. Collecting helps us improve observational skills and organizational thinking, it awakens a desire for knowledge. as well as inspiring creativity. It helps u foster social connections and relieve the stress and turmoil of modern society.

The Benefits Of Collecting

Collecting may provide psychological security by filling a part of the self one feels is missing or is void of meaning. When people collects, they experiment with arranging, organizing, and presenting a part of the world which may serve to provide a safety zone, a place of refuge where fears are calmed and insecurity is managed. In other words, it is about curiosity, creating your own world, categorizing and arranging things according to your own rules and your own order.

Whether it is an occasional pastime or an all-consuming passion, collecting is a hobby that opens doors to new worlds. For people who are shy, or struggle to relate with others on a social level, collecting can also encourage them to forge new social links and meet new people. You will talk to those who have similar collections to you, either in person or online, and acquiring new pieces to add to your collection also requires a certain amount of social engagement. As a result, collecting can lead to a reduction of social anxiety and any associated depression and other mental health issues.

And you? Do you collect any unusual object and what’s your reason for collecting?

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