Hobby Problems: The Thin Line Between Collection and Addiction

collection of ceramic kitchenware

Collecting as a hobby is quite fun and rewarding for those into it. Collecting actually helped pave the way for museums to come into existence. In the 19th century, aristocratic collectors valued their collectibles as some sort of status symbol. Their collections contained items and rarities such as art, books, fossils, zoological specimens, and other similarly popular objects of their time.

These items were stored in what was called a cabinet of curiosities, a special vault used to store or display their various collections. These cabinets contributed to the development and growth of the first museums in Europe.

Since then, a lot of people got into collecting as a hobby — a pastime or a form of distraction or escape from their daily challenges.

Toys and mugs lined up shelves and display cabinets. Fine wine and liquor took up space in a beverage display rack. Comic books and trading cards are graded for valuation and speculation. Stamps, coins, rocks, musical instruments, and a slew of other things make up a person’s collection. The possibilities are seemingly limitless.

As far as collecting is concerned, it can be a quite fun and relaxing hobby to pursue as long as you don’t go overboard. But how would you know if your hobby has gotten out of hand?

Financial Mismanagement

It is no secret that maintaining a collection is quite pricey. Getting started is easy. The acquisition of one or two items to start off isn’t really a big deal, especially when we’re talking about smaller and trivial stuff such as baseball cards, comic books, porcelain mugs, and other similar objects.

However, over time as you continue to build your own cabinet of curiosities, things can get pretty expensive especially when you start going after the more valuable variants. A lot of collectors have ended up in huge debts, bad credit, and resorting to a crime because they could no longer control their spending.

Spatial Lack

Spatial concerns are subjective. It will depend on the type of collection that a person has. For instance, a person who collects postage stamps can easily store them in albums which they in turn can stash on shelves and racks. Scale model collectors might have slightly bigger storage and display space concerns compared to postage stamp collectors.

Those who are into taxidermy will eventually run out of display space for their hobby. Car enthusiasts, needless to say, will need more than just a two-car garage, especially if they have a decent-sized collection of cars.

If you find that your home is getting too small for your collection and storage is getting to be a problem, you need to think things through and consider other options such as flipping some of your older items to make space for new ones. This way, you’re able to clear up display and storage space and at the same time, make a decent return on an item.

Interpersonal Strains

pile of books

Lastly, while collecting may seem like a harmless hobby, if left unchecked, it can gravely affect the relationships that you have. If all of your time and attention is devoted to your hobby and collection and you see interacting with people or spending time with your family as a distraction, you need to stop.

No collection is more valuable than people, especially your family. Not to sound flippant but if you truly believe that your collectibles are more important to you than your spouse, you need to check your values and get some help. Look for ways to still enjoy your hobby without compromising the really valuable things in life.

Anytime your priorities take a back seat to your collection, that’s when you can say that you’ve hit rock bottom and have become addicted to it. At this point, you have taken the fun out of collecting. What was meant to be enjoyable and liberating to you, to give you a fuller life, has now enslaved you. Do not get to the point where your possessions possess you.

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