When done right, collecting can be a wonderful hobby, one that can provide you with joy on any given day. It’s gotten a lot of bad reputation due to shows like Hoarders and Clean House, but when done right, it can give your mental health a boost you never know you needed. Here are some surprising benefits of collecting.
Collecting provides knowledge
We all know that when we’re interested in a subject, we’re naturally drawn to knowing more information and trivia about it. The same goes for collecting. According to the book Strengths Finder, the strength “Input” is all about collecting information and archiving it, proving that being drawn to collecting is not necessarily a bad thing that needs to be stopped.
Collecting special artifacts about areas that interest you can help sharpen your mind and memory. For example, if you’re into old music, hunting down and collecting autographed music memorabilia can help you remember dates of concerts and album launches as well as records these artists have broken. This information might seem trivial and useless to other people, but studies show that the act of memorizing can help prevent dementia and early memory loss.
Collecting allows you to hold on to beautiful memories
If you had a delightful childhood and want to hold on to the nostalgia of years past, collecting memorabilia and photographs from that period will help you hold on to those memories. There’s a reason why it’s called “memorabilia”—they transport us back to a time we want to hold on to, no matter what they are. It can be Polaroids from when you were in high school or dried flowers from the first bouquet your partner gave you, but whatever they are, their value rests on the memories that they hold.
Collecting improves your organizational ability and thinking
You will have to store your collection somewhere, and this process can help improve your ability to see spaces and how to maximize them. Not everyone has the gift of organizing and cleaning, and being a collector automatically entails being a storage expert as well.
Nothing enhances your knowledge of the best storage containers and organizing tactics than necessity. If you have plenty of items that you need to store and protect and limited space to put them in, you have no choice but to find the most suitable yet affordable containers for your items, as well as how to ensure that all these containers will fit in your space. Collecting forces us to be creative and resourceful as we aim to keep our precious memorabilia safely tucked away. If you want to learn the best cleaning and organizing practices, try collecting valuable items.
Collecting boosts creativity and imagination
Plenty of people view collecting as geeky or odd, but you’d be surprised to find that plenty of artists, writers, and other creative people have plenty of collections. Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has an extensive board game collection, Janet Jackson collects pig figurines and rumor has it the number of her items have been so vast she needed to stop because she no longer had room for more, Tom Hanks collects typewriters, and Penelope Cruz collects… coat hangers. Even modern artist Jean Miro has a vast collection of items he gathered from his walks, such as seashells, stones, and even driftwood.
This goes to show that there is an intrinsic link between creativity and collecting. Isn’t creativity simply the act of taking bits of information like memories, skills, and knowledge, storing them into your mind and spirit and coming up with an idea or project based on those stored pieces of information?
Collecting can be relaxing
Simply look through collection videos on YouTube, and you’ll find scores of comments from people who found the videos relaxing. Especially those that document a collector’s organizing and storing process—there’s something incredibly relaxing and soothing about putting things in their right place. If people can enjoy ASMR videos and find comfort in them, collectors can also find a sense of comfort in the collection they worked hard for.
Nowadays, collecting comes with a lot of disclaimers, and rightly so. Compulsive hoarding syndrome is a real disorder—and one that we need to combat and watch out for. As in everything, prevention is better than cure, so don’t hesitate to consult with a mental health professional once you find yourself having difficulty disposing of items you don’t need or having too many items that you don’t know how to store.
Collecting can be a beautiful hobby, but only if you do it right. So don’t deprive yourself of this joy, but do everything you can in your power to be mentally healthy and financially responsible as you do it.