Are you a collector? Is there something that you hold on to or go out of you way to buy even though you don’t need it. I used to be like that with sunglasses and watches. I needed a different one for almost every outfit. Thankfully, that habit is long gone and I sold more of my watches, and broke some of sunglasses (accidentally). Even at the peak of my of collecting habit, I was not as bad as my aunt.
Let me start off by saying that I love my aunt. I think she is a brilliant woman. She’s quick, she funny and she is a second mom to us. She, however, leaves 980 miles away by herself. She works in the public sector, and is fairly well off. She is a collector. She mostly collects random objects, such as picture frames and candle holders. Objects that don’t really have much value, and nor will there give a huge return on her investment.
The reason I’m telling you all this is because she recently had to move from her house to a brand new (smaller, but way fancier) condo, and have to start itemizing her possessions. Naturally my sister and I made the trek down there to her with packing and sorting. We were shocked to see how collections of random things she had. Keep in mind, it was wasn’t taking over her life, and nor is she a horder by any stretch of the imagination. She has tons and tons of the same thing.
We packed an entire box of salt and pepper shakers. AN ENTIRE BOX. Now I know they’re not cheap, esp since most of them were still in boxes with price tags on them. The same thing happened with the picture frames except they were out on display (with pictures of us of course).
8 hours of packing later we had 14 boxes of her “hobby” section put aside. Then it hit her, she wasn’t going to have room in the new minimalist, contempory condo off of her stuff. She started panicking a bit, not because she had so much stuff, but because there was no return on the investment.
Her options, as she pointed out, were save them of us (we wouldn’t want all of them) by placing all of her things in a storage locker, or sell them on Craigslist or Kijiji, both of which will bring pennies to the dollar.
Seeing her struggle over what to do with thousands of dollars of objects that she collected made me very anxious for her, and made me look into my spending habits to see if I am carrying around extra weight and justifying it under the guise of a hobby. Thankfully the only things I collect are books that I get sent and, and even those I am starting to give away to friends to enjoy after I read them.
The biggest questions that I have are as follows:
Do people collect to fill a void in their lives?
Do they assign monetary value to the items are they compelled to just add to their collections?
For the record, my aunt ended up picking up her favourite pieces from each collections, and allows my sister and I to do the same and donated the rest.