Are You a Collector or Hoarder?

Do you have a fondness for collecting, be it comic books, coins, sport memorabilia, shoes, or ninja weapons?

Stars Wars fans fork over insane amounts of money for anything even tangentially related to the Star Wars franchise. Basketball fans wait for hours, even camping out near stores, in order to get their hands on the the latest sneakers. Bibliophiles search far and wide to acquire rare and elusive first editions of iconic books.

Most people have at least one personal obsession they dedicate time and money to. The question is: Are you a collector or a hoarder?

The Characteristics Of A Collector

CollectorCollectors have a keen eye for what is valuable and worth procuring. They are passionate and dedicated, and ensure what they purchase is cared for and has some underlying purpose. They conduct research to see if there is potential for a particular item to appreciate in value. They have a healthy obsession with their passion, never allowing irrational decision-making to cloud their judgement.

If the above describes you, you're likely a collector. Heck, maybe you'll appear on an episode of Pawn Stars, striking a deal on that rare Superman comic book you plucked out from the bottom of a cardboard box at a local garage sale.

The following are signs that you're a collector:

  • You have a comprehensive knowledge of your field of expertise, which allows you to make wise purchases
  • You have a spending budget that is reasonable and you don't deviate from it.
  • The items you purchase don't render your home unlivable; they usually are relegated to a specific room, and are well organized and maintained.
  • Your purchases stem from a genuine, underlying passion; you're doing it becomes it brings you joy
  • Your passion for your possessions doesn't interfere with your social relationships, work, health, etc.
  • You enjoy displaying your possessions to your friends and family.

The Characteristics Of A Hoarder

What if you purchase things for the sake of doing so? What if you continue to retain items that no longer serve any useful purpose, be it practical, sentimental, or aesthetic? And, what if these behaviors cause significant stress and take a toll on your life?Hoarder

If the above describes you, you just might be a hoarder.

People who hoard often rationalize that no item can be discarded, because it may prove to be useful in the future. When they purchase an item, it's done out of compulsion. In addition, they don't put in the effort to care for and maintain their possessions.

The following are signs that you're a hoarder:

  • You generally don't have a comprehensive knowledge of your possessions and don't care to acquire it; you simply buy whatever catches your eye.
  • You don't have a budget; you feel a compulsion to buy and the thought of affordability doesn't enter your mind.
  • Your possessions clutter your home, making it difficult to move around and make use of living space
  • You never, under any circumstances, discard your possessions
  • Your possessions cause a strain in your personal and professional relationships, and have a negative effect on your health
  • You're embarrassed and ashamed by the clutter in your home, even to the point of dissuading people from coming over to visit.

Before you go on your next wild shopping spree, think carefully, and ask yourself:

  •     Why do you want it?
  •     Why do you need it?

If you can't answer these two questions honestly and objectively, you're buying something for the sake of buying it; you simply must have it.

Ask yourself the same two questions for items you already own. If you come up with no rational answer, you're holding on to them for the sake of holding on to them; you simply must have them.

By asking yourself these questions every time your hoarding tendencies swarm your mind, you can train yourself to make more sensible decisions, and, one step at a time, purge your inner hoarder (this type of self-talk is actually a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, which might prove to be useful in combating thought patterns that induce hoarding behavior).

If you don't put in the effort to curb your hoarding proclivities, don't be too surprised if one day your friends and family infiltrates your home, armed with cleaning supplies, garbage bags, cardboard boxes, and a yard sale sign. They may decide they care too much and do things the hard way!

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