Social Question

SundayKittens's avatar

Why is collecting things so much fun?

Asked by SundayKittens (5826 points ) September 16th, 2009

I collect buttons and snowglobes…not to mention certain animal-related items (koalas, octopi, etc)...
Okay, I’m a borderline hoarder but still…
Is it the thrill of the moment when you spot something in a store that could be part of your collection? Sentimentality? A sense of control? What do you collect?

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27 Answers

Allie's avatar

I collect a flag from each country I’ve been to. Typically, I like to get the flag while I’m in that country, but in the UAE I had trouble finding one that wasn’t massive and in Oman I didn’t see one at all. (Note to self: Find UAE and Oman flag.)
When I get back home, I put the flags up on my wall. It’s like a little memory maker for me. When I see the flags, I remember that trip and the things I did when I was there. Plus, they’re good conversation starters when people see my room.

CMaz's avatar

Because it is having all that stuff!

whatthefluther's avatar

I take it as a personal challenge to assemble the largest/most unusual/rarest/most diverse/most frugally assembled/whatever collection. But I am not the type to compare my collections with other collectors, just to share with friends. I’ve never collected on a competitive basis. See ya….Gary/wtf
PS: I collect Native American wearable art (jewelry), cobalt glass, art glass figurines, minerals/specimens (inc. geodes), bronze/brass/cast iron/pewter/etc statues, neon signs, clocks, writing instruments, carved stone, vases/urns, knights in armor statues, decorative swords/knifes, Martiros originals and serigraphs, antique lanterns, to name but a few

Jude's avatar

Art (paintings, drawings). It’s pretties up my diggs and makes me happy.

SundayKittens's avatar

Send me your buttons!!!! I NEED THEM TO LIIIVE. I mean…good answers.

mrentropy's avatar

I am adding this question to my collection of questions.

teh_kvlt_liberal's avatar

I’m normal, I just collect records and CDs

erichw1504's avatar

I think it’s the thrill and fun of it. I collect beer bottles, not every single one, but just one of each that I try.

Also: “not to mention”, but you did mention!?

Rocketman123's avatar

because its fun

Frankie's avatar

The only things I really “collect” are shot glasses from places I’ve visited. I hate clutter and chotchkie stuff laying around (I think it’s a reaction to living with my mother for 18 years, a woman who throws nothing away, has crap laying around everywhere all the time, and has about 200 Gone With the Wind collectibles that I had to dust) and I don’t keep anything that I don’t actively use at least once or twice a year. Shot glasses are okay for me, because they can be displayed and used.

erichw1504's avatar

This just reminded me that I will be receiving my grandmother-in-laws whole collection of salt & pepper shakers when she passes away. I believe there’s at least 200.

…Oh, god.

drdoombot's avatar

I used to collect comics, but then I realized I don’t necessarily want to keep them; it’s enough for me to just read them and follow along in the storylines.

Years ago, I started buying comic book figurines. Now I have a case of them that I don’t know what to do with. I’d sell them on eBay, but their listing prices suck and I don’t want to give them my money on principle.

The only thing I might still consider myself a collector of is Dr. Doom memorabilia. I have a mug or two, several figurines, a couple of little statues, a nylon mask, etc. The gear I really want, like the metal faceplates, are way too expensive for a frugal broke, actually guy like me.

As for the why’s, I don’t know. For the Dr. Doom thing, all I can say is that he “looks cool.” And I love the character.

MissAusten's avatar

I don’t really collect anything, other than books. Not valuable books, but I have a hard time parting with a book I’ve enjoyed. I’m running out of room for them all, so maybe one day I’ll start collecting book shelves.

On the other hand, my son has a collection that I’ve become very involved in. He collects insects and pins them into display boxes. Since he’s only six, he requires assistance with his collection. I would be lying if I said I didn’t also enjoy it. When he finds something unusual, his excitement is contagious. I now go out of my way to help him look for bugs, and even when he’s not home I’ll walk around the yard and collect any bugs that I know he doesn’t have yet. I also leave the porch light on at night, until I go to bed, so I can catch any interesting bugs that are attracted to the light. For my son, the collection represents his passion for all things entomological, his love of a thrilling new find, and the hard work that went into gathering all of his specimens. Many of them have a story connected with them, like the cicada he found while picking blueberries, or the rove beetle he rescued from the pool which then bit him hard enough to draw blood. When a display box is filled with insects, it really looks amazing.

marinelife's avatar

I think it is a hunter/gatherer hangover. I collect, desultorily these days, boxes, rocks, and armadillos.

evegrimm's avatar

I have a hard time collecting things because of my OCD tendency to complete my collection! (That can get quite expensive.)

I don’t really collect anything, unless tea counts. :D

(I have to pick things to collect where it would be impossible to complete the collection, or at least improbable.)

markyy's avatar

What are we talking about here? Collecting stuff that reminds you of good memories or the obsessive greedy I need to have it all kind of collection? Either way it doesn’t really matter because in both cases you can never have enough.

At what point does a bunch of stuff become a collection? I have a couple of music albums, do I officially have a CD collection now? I save all my bills and paychecks in ordners, please don’t tell me I collect bills.

CMaz's avatar

I believe more then one is considered a collection.

whatthefluther's avatar

@ChazMaz….Technically, you are most certainly correct, though I would call your avatar, for example, a set of theatre masks rather than a collection. See ya….Gary/wtf

gailcalled's avatar

@All: Just wait a while. You’ll wake up one morning and think, “What is all this crap that collects dust, takes up space and needs to be repaired from time to time?”

The emptier, the better, I think now. Zen and Feng shui and only the sounds of the wind soughing through the trees and the creek plashing. (Occasional bleats of distress when Milo gets stuck up a tree or on the roof is noise enough for me.)

whatthefluther's avatar

@gailcalled….Except for the occasional piece of jewelry, those are the very reasons I now call my collections complete (well those and the disappearance of disposable cash). See ya….Gary/wtf

Frankie's avatar

@gailcalled AMEN!! I’m visiting home right now and am starting to feel a bit overwhelmed with all the junk my mom keeps in the house. It’s nice being home, but I can’t wait to get back to my Zen-like, free-of-tons-of-worthless-crap apartment! I love being in college and moving to a new dorm/apartment, every year—it gives me a chance to throw even more stuff away!

Response moderated
boffin's avatar

…What do you collect?

Buzzards – Condors – Vultures

mattbrowne's avatar

Evolutionary principle i.e. courtesy of the brain’s reward system.

Jeruba's avatar

Because a feeling of plenty is comforting,
because each item in the collection confers meaning on the others,
and because each addition to a collection enhances a sense of its completeness and uniqueness, by extension making us feel unique and in control.

Also when we yearn after an addition to a collection and then we get it, the feeling of satisfying the specific desire is very pleasurable.

I don’t know. I’m just making this up.

whatthefluther's avatar

@Jeruba…For making it up, that was excellent, and, if I may add, quite sensually stated (and, I suppose, it might be the way sexual conquests are viewed by some people…but then again, one could consider that a form of collecting, as well).
Have you considered writing romance novels?
See ya….Gary/wtf

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks, Gary. I actually think the second point is true, whether the others are or not. I think there is a kind of resonance among items in a collection, or rather in our perception of them, springing from whatever commonality it is that makes them a collection and not just a bunch of stuff, that heightens the significance of each member of the set. Don’t you, as a collector, think so?

Your remark about sexual conquests reminds me of the movie The Collector. Romance writing is not for me, though. I couldn’t write what I never read.

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