Wednesday, November 2, 2011

To Collect or Not to Collect

As a Professional Organizer, I am often asked how I feel about collections. Is collecting antiques or memorabilia a harmless hobby or is it a sign of “hoarding?” The answer is, as usual, “it depends.” Here are some ways to determine if your collecting tendencies are becoming problematic.

1. Do you love your collection?
When you look at your collection, does it make you smile? When you think of buying an addition to your collection, does it fill you with excitement or with stress? Does it represent something special in your life or has it become a selection of gifts that you feel guilty about letting go of or to telling people to stop buying you? Are you addicted to the search more than the item itself?

2. Do you take care of your collection?
Is it clean? Is it stored so that the items stay in good condition?

3. Is it affecting you financially?
Can you afford to maintain, build, and/or insure your collection? Are you in debt and still buying additional items? Are you trying to keep up with someone else or keep up appearances? If you think that selling these items will earn you a lot of money for the future, have you done the research?

4. Is it affecting your safety?
Is your collection so large or stored in a way that it impedes moving about your home? Could you get out of your home or could people get inside in case of an emergency? 

5. Is it affecting your relationships?
Do you spend more time collecting, researching, and cleaning your items than you do with family and friends? Are the people you value in your life bitter or sarcastic about your collections? Has anyone confronted you about your collecting habits affecting other concerns on this list?