Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sunday Reflections: When Does Collecting Turn Into Hoarding?

My Dad taught me the joys of collecting at a young age. He has so many awesome collections, from vinyl records to stamps, coins, and of course plenty of comic books, trading cards, and toys. I was hooked on collecting as soon as I could walk. Rock collections, bug collections, toys, comic books, cards, you name it!

Today I still have many collections and it's a bit hard to keep track of sometimes. My wife keeps my collecting under control and my penny pinching ways help me reign in my collecting. However I've always had the fear of becoming a hoarder. I'm sure most everyone is familiar with the hit reality TV show Hoarders.

WARNING!!! The following video contains nasty hoarders' house footage! Not for the faint of heart!

The Honey and I used to watch Hoarders from time to time and afterwards I would have a strong urge to start cleaning the house and quickly plan out a garage sale and DI donation run. Now a days I can't even watch the show, it makes me literally sick to my stomach (and I tell fart jokes at the dinner table!) and it depresses me! I want to own my collection, and not have it own me. I don't wanna end up being the crazy hoarder man, crushed to death under a fallen stack of toy bins and comics.

This card made my LOL! But then I thought "Am I buying too many GPK cards?

This next video made me almost cry. That poor guy, he just wanted to raise money for his kids college funds. I know it sounds silly, but he thought he was going to make hundreds of thousands off of Beanie Babies! A lot of people thought that, but boy were they wrong. This is why I think you need to be wary of considering collecting as a financial investment, because something like this could happen. It can be like putting all your money in one stock.

My brother and I have always found the junk people scene, from the Labrinth, to be rather interesting. A not-so-subtle commentary on hoarding? Maybe. The documentary clip above has an interesting take on the meaning of this scene.

I think it is possible to maintain a high quality of life while maintaining a large collection, though it can be hard sometimes. Collectable Spectacle is a series of documentaries on YouTube by Flophouse Films. The documentaries chronicle the collections of 2 devout G.I. Joe fans, Airedevon and Mark Bellomo. If you are a serious toy collector I highly recommend watching both documentary in their entirety, they're wonderful! They are a bit long, so pop some popcorn and enjoy your favorite fizzy beverage as you watch on in amazement.

What do all you collectors think about this? Have you ever feared you might become a hoarder? How do you keep your collection organized and in control? Do you focus exclusively on one thing, or do you collect a wide range, like me?

And for those of you that don't collect, do you think collectors are crazy? Should we change our ways and become minimalists? Or is collecting just a great way to have fun, bond with family, and meet new friends?

Let your voice be heard in the comments below!


  1. To be totally honest, it worries me a lot. My mom is a real hoarder. While the house I grew up in never has "trash" laying on the floor, (by trash I mean food wrappers and take-out containers) there were piles of stuff that touched the ceiling. I don't really remember (except for a few occasions) being about to see the entire dinning room table. My mom saved things about they had sentimental value or because they would be useful later. We did a lot of craft projects, so junk got saved for them. We had a large family, so pictures and newspaper clipping piled up. The closet in my bedroom was always full of my cloths from when I was a baby, so I never was able to hang stuff up in there. It's sad, and it's a mental health issue. It's not something you can just turn off. My Mom and my Dad are both collectors, but my mom hoards other stuff as well. I'm a collector, and I worry about one day being a hoarder. I just remember how much is sucked walking through little pathways though the piles of stuff and that reminds me to keep the place clean, and control the clutter.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Buzz Chuck! Hoarding really is a mental health issue. My Dad is a social worker and he has come across some pretty bad hoarding situations. Hoarding is not an easy thing to just switch off; even when parents that are hoarders are faced with the possibly of losing their children to child protective services unless they clean up their act.

      I searched through your blog and I love your collection! It's very nicely organized and displayed. I think that's very important. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing collection with the world!

      When a collector is steping over and around piles of figures, spending every dime on the collection, and socializing with toys instead of people, then I think the collection is starting to become a hoard.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Never thought collectors are crazy maybe some so passionate about their hobby they wind up going over board and can't stop or want to be completists or be that collector who not only gets rich off their stuff they wind up the thing changing from hobby to obession . my i have gotten to the point where my collection is going to be the size it has to be or risk being one of those crazy almost hoarder type collectors.

    1. Yeah, I agree with you there. When you become too obsessed with collecting it becomes an issue. When I find myself becoming obsessed with a certain collectable I tell myself to wait on buying it for a month. If I still want it after a month I'll pick it up. 9 times out of 10 I end up forgetting about it. This has helped me limit my collection somewhat.

      I think when you get too obsessed over a collection it's not even fun anymore. The best part of collecting is interacting with others that share that same passion, not so much having all the latest and greatest collectors items.

      Thank you for your input Demoncat_4!

  3. See I have this deal where I keep a little and get rid of a little and only allow myself to keep the collection in my home office/Man Cave which is a small room in our house so it allows for me to keep things in check.

    1. I really like that idea John! My wife and I used to live in a tiny one bedroom apartment, so my collecting was a big issue. We now live in a nice rental house and we have designated a room upstairs as my "the toy room". I also love gift giving, so I give certain things to friends and family as gifts. Nothing beats the feeling of giving to others!

      I've been really bad with budgeting, but I also want to set a monthly budget. I plan to mark and envelope "toy budget", put the cash amount in there, and when it's gone, no more buying for the collection for that month.

      Thank you John, I'm always glad to hear from you!

  4. Those documentaries were great. I have a lot of stuff too and I just love it and care for it too much to ever be a hoarder. Hoarders just pile stuff. I display it. And rotate things around all the time.

  5. I came across those 2 docs a few years back and I'm thinking of re-watching them because I enjoyed them so much.

    You bring up a good point Kal! If you really care about something then you treasure it, you don't treat it like garbage. I think it's okay to have part of a collection neatly stored away. It's nice to be able to switch things out and change it up. It also keeps the dust off. :)

    I'm glad you enjoyed the documentaries and thank you for sharing!

  6. I agree that frugality helps. I'm CHEAP and I pass up on a lot of things I otherwise would love to own because they are over five bucks! It also makes it easier to let loose of some things because you know it didn't cost you much to get it, and you aren't taking much of a hit even if you give it away.

    I also think a little focus is nice - that's my downfall, I'm all over the place in terms of collecting!

    1. I'm the same way. Unless I find a 10 dollar Rocket Firing Boba Fett then there's no way I'll spend more than 5 bucks on something!

      I am WAY unfocused when it comes to collecting. I collect mostly toys, but even then I collect from a million different toy lines. My toy room is also a total mess. I really need to tidy up

  7. Really great piece Mason! I enjoyed reading this and the videos are interesting! I sometimes have a hard time watching shows and things about collecting because I am always nervous about the perspective they are taking on the collecting. Like some of the other comments, I do feel that collecting can cross over into the realm of hoarding very easily.

    it is really hard to keep things in check from time to time. I think for me, I have moments where I just get tired of it all and say, "I have to get rid of this stuff." Like, I don't need five Wolverines. Ya know? I also think that one of the things I enjoy doing now is finding homes for certain items. I like the idea of passing things along to people that will really get to enjoy them.

    I collect a lot of stuff. That is part of my problem. I wish I only liked one property or something, but there are so many things that I like and enjoy. Another problem of mine was that when I got married we bought a house and I had a nice room to have everything displayed in and sadly the marriage didn't last and I have now been in a race to get everything packed back up and it is a struggle. I always joke that collectors are not meant to be nomadic. lol

    But I do think it is a balancing act. I may joke that I am a hoarder, and I can see that I have it in me to become one, but I make an effort to not let it consume me. It also helps that I get to talk and read about other collectors as well. That is always nice!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post Miss Michael!

      I sometimes have a real hard time keeping track of my collection as well and I've had the same reaction of "BAH! Just get rid of it all!!!" And sometimes I'll even go through a small purge of the collection. I try to have a garage sale every year. I like the idea of being the "cool" garage sale in town that actually has some decent toys to sell, LOL! Also, there's nothing like passing on a neat, thoughtful toy/collectable to a friend or family member that appreciates it.

      I've always had a diverse collection, but this year I'm actually focusing my collection on LEGO! Of all the things I collect I hands down love LEGO the most. I still remember building my first set with my Dad and my younger brother. It was set #6987 Message Intercept Base. The year was 1988 and I was only 5 years old! I'll probably still grab a few non-LEGO things here and there, but I will mostly focus on LEGO. The funny though is now my LEGO collection could easily get out of hand. XD

      I'm so sorry to hear things didn't work out with your marriage and I hope you are handling this okay. That's gotta be rough, I hope things turn out alright for you in the end for you Miss M! i just want to let you know that I really enjoy your blog and all of you wacky and fun toy stories! Whenever I find myself playing with my toys (who has grown ups can't play a little?) and making up crazy adventures with them I always think of you and your amazing escapades with April O' Neil, Michelangelo, and the whole toy gang. :D

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments and keep on balancing that great collection of yours. And remember, stripe away all those cool toys and pop cultural memorabilia and you're still you, a wonderful, kind, and amazing person!

      Also, maybe you could send me one of those Wolverines? J/K! Well, if it's a LEGO minifigure Wolverine, then maybe for reals send me one. :) But only if you wanna, and I'd probably send something back.

      God bless!