“Why do you collect?” people always ask me whenever they see the over-stuffed living room with my toy collections. I usually counter this question with “well, why don’t you collect?”. Not because I’m looking for an easy way out, but because there are simply too many reasons. The sheer fun and happiness that collecting brings, the thrill of the hunt for a new collectible, the cool ways to display and integrate a collection into your home, just to name a few. A lively discussion with my friend and fellow collector made me realize the pros of collecting are universal matters that many of us will relate to. Our deeply philosophical dialogue (well, at least we thought it was) resulted in below list, with what we regard as the absolute advantages of collecting – and the reasons you should seriously consider to start collecting, if you don’t do so yet! Moreover, if you already are a collector, the list will provide you with some strong arguments on why we’re allowed to obsess over our hobby (hey, “we nurture our inner curiosity!” – how about that?!) in case anyone ever dares to question our passion.
1. A fun break for the mind – Collecting is fun for so many different reasons, like the rush of finding a rare collectible, or meeting someone who shares your passion for collecting hot toys figurines or beautifully crafted sideshow statues. But apart from just plain fun and having something for ourselves, a hobby like collecting is a very effective way to clear our minds. When you focus on your collection through any activity to build, expand or maintain your collection (anything from combing through online forums to dusting off your collection), your mind doesn’t have time to think of anything else. This gives your mind a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
2. Connecting with other collectors – Besides acquiring or exchanging knowledge through a forum or social media group on your collectibles of interest, friendships for life are formed at those kind of touchpoints where people with a similar interest meet. Not just digital; also think conventions, clubs, gatherings etc. A common interest serves as a great icebreaker to connect with new people, no matter at what age.
3. Nurture your inner curiosity - Research shows that curious people are happier and that curiosity helps us survive, helps strengthen relationships and boosts achievement. However, curiosity is a mercurial quality; it will rise and fall throughout our life, depending on what we're doing, where we are and who we're with. Collecting awakens our desire to learn more about the stories behind our collectables, in which complex characters and/or aspects from history, literature, science etc. are involved.
4. Reinforcing Personal Skills – Building, preserving and expanding a collection requires a lot of personal and cognitive skills like organizing, researching and communicating. It can also boost your creativity and openness to new experiences a great deal. Think about it: you might need to get out of your comfort zone to travel to new places for conventions, or must think out-of-the-box to find a creative display solution for your awesome yet not so practical collection.
5. Personal Accomplishment – Aww the sense of fulfilment when you finally track down that rare collectible. But also the pride you feel when you’re looking at your own unique collection. You’ve undoubtedly seen your own collection a billion times, but when your let your eyes travel over each and every item in your collection… it’s almost like a meditative state of completion. Sounds crazy? Well, we’re positively not ashamed of our state of ‘collector zen’.
6. Cool & Unique Home Décor – Displaying an interesting collection can really personalize your place and add some casual coolness to your home decor. Do keep in mind that you must know how to properly display and showcase the collectibles in order to avoid too much clutter; before you know it, you’ll star in the next episode of “Extreme Hoarders” thanks to some concerned friends.
7. Investment – We came up with this as the last and, in our humble opinion, least important point. After all, most people don't have millions of dollars disposable income to invest in high-value collectibles, vintage cars or rare antiques. You won't be enjoying collecting so much if you’re main concern is to preserve or increase the value of your collectibles. We believe the golden rule of collecting is to collect what you love most!
Oh, and one final benefit: people will always know what to give a collector for his or her birthday! :-)