Why the Heck Do We Collect?

Welcome to my CollectibleCool blog – for all of us who love collecting. No, we’re not hoarders, though these days there seems to be a certain disapproval from some who frown on keeping anything (blame interior design and hoarder reality shows). We just take great pleasure in the finding and owning of awesome stuff.

But why do we enjoy it so much?

The fact is that people always have. Most of us aren’t collecting in the hope of someday making a lot of money off the collection. My experience is that the majority have a strong emotional connection to whatever it is they collect. Our collections remind us of our childhood, or connect us to a period of history that we are interested in. Some do it because they love the “thrill of the hunt.” Some have struggled through bad times, such as the Depression era, and now the collection helps remind them that they no longer have to struggle. And some do it because the stuff is just so darn cute we can’t resist having more than one!

My mother was a quiet but extremely determined collector. She loved china thimbles, Swedish annual plates, small pitchers, British porcelain items, Beatrix Potter figurines, stone carvings, penguins, European ephemera… Neatly organized throughout the house, her collections fascinated people – you never got bored visiting Mom. She was attached to them because they reminded her of places she had been, and her love for Victorian England in particular. I grew up watching my mother prowling the yard sales, garage sales, and auctions – making herself into an expert and a picker for antiques shops throughout our region.

Today I am following in her footsteps, spending a lot of time locating unique and unusual items and selling some of them (but certainly not all!) on Etsy.com. Please pay me a visit at CollectibleCool today!

Why do you collect? What are your favorite memories about collecting – did you have someone who inspired you, as my mother did me? Or did you get into it in a different way? Share your story!

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1 Comment

Filed under Antiques and Collectibles, Art, Historical Memorabilia, Porcelain

One response to “Why the Heck Do We Collect?

  1. Getting some wonderful feedback over on the Etsy site:
    One responder says: A lot of what I collect has sentimental value. i.e. it’s family stuff. I also keep stuff which I think may come in useful in the future, but which rarely does.

    Another: Used to be people were gatherers to store food and warm items for winter – I think it is a carry over from that – a comfort thing. Now we aren’t having to gather the same way, but we still feel the need to gather.

    Another: Collecting is not “hoarding”. Some of my customers have sent me lovely photos of their collections over the years, and their homes do not look like a reality teevee show about the compulsion to save treash! Other customers buy my vintage items to use for the purpose they were origimally made. Media desgn experts of course would consider buying what you love for your home, and sticking with your own personal style — letting it mature and evolve over the years — as a problem. Designers are trend pushers, and trends are about the disposable culture: buy it, show it off while it’s on trend, and then get rid of it. Repeat and repeat and repeat….

    And another: All the shelter mags I read promote finding your own style and collecting what you love. I do that, and I tell my friends (who know my husband and I are very much into design and decor — he’s a kitchen & bath designer) that if they see something they love but aren’t sure it will work in their home, to buy it — IF they love it — because if you love it, it will work.

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