What Makes Someone Collect Things?

What makes a collector?

the cat collectorIt seems that there are two kinds of people in this world: Collectors and non-collectors. While some might own the odd, sentimental ornament, there are those of us who continue to add more and more pieces. These are usually related, whether it’s a range of figurines, sports memorabilia, toys, art or what have you, and can grow into quite large collections.

The truth of the matter is that most of us are a collector of something. If we weren’t we’d have no belongings that are specific to us. It could be just a collection of photos, or effects that have been passed down through the family. However, some collections are far more involved, and build up over time. They could start in many different ways, but spark something in us that pushes our need to add more and more pieces.

Many theorists and psychologists have analyzed what it is that makes us want to collect things. One of the key things that many collectors have in common is nostalgia. Nostalgia is a feeling of yearning for things past, of childhood and upbringing. It’s such a powerful notion sometimes that even certain smells can trigger off a nostalgic memory. For many, this is the initial spark that can set us off in recapturing something of our youth.

Why do we collect?

Sometimes this can manifest itself as building a music collection, storybooks and artwork that captured our imagination when we were young, or toys and collectibles that take us back to simpler times. This can often happen with dolls, or replica cars, and act to extend the past, creating a small buffer between the safety of the past and the harshness of adult life.

TV shows, movies, comic books and video games have some of the strongest pulls when it comes to building collections, particularly among men, but not exclusively. In fact, there is as much of an industry based around adult collectors in these fields than children, if not more-so. Merchandise is another from of extending the enjoyment of a television programme or game, with characters, vehicles, creatures and robots populating desks all over the world.

Collections can also start by the receiving of one gift. Ornaments that are given as a present for a birthday or Christmas can set off the collecting bug, especially if that’s a statue or figurine that’s part of a wider range. Sometimes a single figurine can just look a little bit lonely on the shelf, and you might want to just a companion for it. Before you know it, there’s another figurine and another… the funny thing is, the more of something you collect, the more it encourages you to have.

The truth about collecting is that it does give a sense of pleasure. Whether it’s a reminder of the past, or seven perhaps just a little bit of showing off, there are always reasons behind collecting, but above all it should be fun!

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