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Collector Vs. Hoarder

August 01, 20224 min read

What is the difference between collecting and hoarding?

Hoarding is a persistent difficulty to discard or part with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with a hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items.

A collector collects items of a specific type such as coins, books or art usually to display and sometimes to sell in the future.

  • Think about what you are collecting for. Is it for your own enjoyment? To share with others? Or is it to create a “nest egg” of value in the future?

  • Are you giving the collection to someone? Have you asked them if they want it?

  • Are you planning to sell the items? Have you done your research on the actual worth of the collectibles? How will you sell it? Will it be worth your time to sell? Remember, time is our most valuable resource. Don’t waste time on something for just a few dollars.

  • Are you buying purposefully and thoughtfully or impulsively? Say you collect elephant figurines. Do you carefully select a new elephant each place you travel or do you buy every elephant you see at Home Goods? There is a difference. The first holds a sentimental value and each has a story. The latter is just a quick way to take up space on your shelves.

  • How to know when enough is enough.

It is not impossible to organize a collection. You just need to know what systems are available and what best highlights your most treasured possessions. The key to getting and staying organized for collectors is to accept the process and visualize that the less space you use for storage, the more living space you will have to create memories.

1. Determine your goals.

  • What are you trying to get organized? Is it a decorative area that you want to make more functional? Is it storage space, but you need more living space? What do you want this space to do for you and how do you want it to look?

  • Having a goal in mind makes it easier for you to commit to the organization process. Whenever you feel overwhelmed - think back to that end goal!

2. Start with the room or area you use the least.

  • For collectors, this is crucial. You have to start your decluttering and organizing journey with the room you care about less or the room you spend the least amount of time in. This will allow you to open yourself up to the process without feeling overwhelmed. You won’t feel like you have to get everything done at once, because the area you are sorting and editing in is not an area that you spend a lot of your day to day in. This allows you to take things at your own pace, and take a mental or physical break from the project if and when you need it. It will also motivate you to keep going and to make the harder decisions when you move on to a tougher area.

3. Tackle your functional and day-to-day items first.

  • While the sentimental items are generally the area where a collector seeks to find organization, it can be easier to do some simpler items first. By organizing items you are not emotionally invested in, you get to see the benefits of the process which can help drive you to weed through the harder sentimental items later.

4. Item-Specific Storage.

  • These days, there are storage solutions for just about everything! Maybe there isn’t something specifically made for what you collect, but there is bound to be something that can have an alternative purpose that would work great. Instead of multi-purpose bins or containers where things end up feeling thrown and messy, find a storage solution that keeps your items separate, clean, and maybe even displayable! This way you can enjoy them more often.

  • Some great examples of this are jewelry specific boxes, tie racks, hat hangers, baseball cases, or coin trays, boxes or books.

5. Transform Your Treasures.

  1. Display them in a shadow box

  2. Make memory boxes (for one person or event)

  3. Start scrapbooking

  4. Turn items into sentimental ornaments

  5. Make a quilt out of sentimental fabrics or t-shirts

When it comes to organizing your collectibles, try to be deliberate in your purchases of the items and the way you display or store them. If your collection becomes a burden, it may be time to rethink its purpose in your life. If you love your collection, then enjoy it and let others enjoy it as well. Happy Collecting!

Collector Vs. Hoarder
Karen has been a professional organizer in Kansas City since 2015. With her experience in sales & marketing, complemented by a lifelong side gig as a fitness instructor, she discovered that maintaining organization is her method of cultivating tranquility in her life and thoughts. Her frequent family relocations were managed with ease thanks to her organizational prowess, a talent she now imparts to her clients.

Karen's enthusiasm is rooted in devising systems, overseeing projects, and utilizing her meticulous attention to detail to craft spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and practical. As her enterprise flourishes, so does her team—comprising only the most professional, efficient, and discreet organizers. She's selective, ensuring her team exemplifies their high standard of service. For her, organization transcends the mere purchase of attractive storage solutions; it's about equipping individuals with the means to alter their habits and revolutionize their lives.

Karen Swart

Karen has been a professional organizer in Kansas City since 2015. With her experience in sales & marketing, complemented by a lifelong side gig as a fitness instructor, she discovered that maintaining organization is her method of cultivating tranquility in her life and thoughts. Her frequent family relocations were managed with ease thanks to her organizational prowess, a talent she now imparts to her clients. Karen's enthusiasm is rooted in devising systems, overseeing projects, and utilizing her meticulous attention to detail to craft spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and practical. As her enterprise flourishes, so does her team—comprising only the most professional, efficient, and discreet organizers. She's selective, ensuring her team exemplifies their high standard of service. For her, organization transcends the mere purchase of attractive storage solutions; it's about equipping individuals with the means to alter their habits and revolutionize their lives.

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