Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Collector or Hoarder?

I have a friend who is a collector of certain artsy items.  These are neither cheap nor tacky, yet he has hundreds of them and will buy more as he finds them.  They have not driven him from his home, for while he has many dozens of them tastefully displayed throughout the house, the vast majority of them are neatly stored in boxes in the garage and attic.  He is a collector, a consumer of fine art.  

I have known a number of people, both men and women, who are hoarders.  These people amass stuff.  Once they acquire an item they cannot rid themselves of it.  These things may have value, they may be useless, but the clutter they create builds to the point that the occupant of the house has mere aisles eighteen inches wide between piles of junk, a path from a kitchen, a bathroom, one to a bedroom.  Papers, books, magazines stacked four feet high, unimaginable and unusable trash everywhere.  If there were a treasure in the lot, the heirs will never find it, for they will simply have the stuff shoveled into dumpsters when the owner dies.  Hoarder.

Oh, by the way.  Neither the stuff of the hoarder nor the collector has any eternal value.  Jesus said, 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.  --Matthew 6:19,20


Lin said...

I watch that show where the 2 guys drive around looking for treasure in old barns and hoarder properties...but they always call them "collections." It's amazing how many of these situations exist out there, and I imagine there are many homes that are packed to the gills with treasures/junk that the general public does not know about. I understand the hoarder mentality of those who experienced lean times (i.e. the war), but from what I can tell from the hoarder shows, it seems that mental illness plays a large part in these collections.

I can't imagine living like that.

vanilla said...

Lin, "waste not, want not" drilled too deeply into the head may result in some hoarding behaviors. (Note the title of this blog!)

I guess a hoarder's trove could be called a collection, or collections, by a definition of collection I saw: three of any thing comprises a collection.

Having some acquaintances who are hoarders and knowing a bit about them I would conclude that mental disturbance does play a role in some instances.

Jim Grey said...

I'm pretty sure my next-door neighbors in my previous neighborhood were hoarders. I only ever saw into their living room from the front door, but it was piled high with stuff and there was a path through it to the kitchen.

I used to collect a lot of things but most of that stuff didn't survive when my first marriage ended. I had too much stuff anyway. If there was anything good that came out of that time, it was how my relationship with stuff changed. I like to travel light now, my ridiculous camera collection notwithstanding.

Sharkbytes said...

My aisles are a little wider, excuse me.

Vee said...

Interesting take on hoarding. We visited a home once that housed a great collection of Hummel items. The displays were so crowded (and dusty/cobwebby) that after the first shelf of items, I stopped looking and just tuned out the environment. The amount of money invested was not in question; owning for the sake of owning was obviously the goal.

There is a mental diagnosis for people who can't get rid of anything, not even spoiled food. But I personally feel that overwhelming collections of rare and/or expensive things signals either the love of stuff or being overly sentimental.

Things considered to be collectables are scarce in our place now. Most of the things we have kept have meaning because they were gifted to us. And besides, we need to keep a few things for the someday garage sale and to provide our kids with something about which to complain.

vanilla said...

Jim, I sometimes thing that freeing myself from "stuff" would be, well, liberating. And yet one, speaking of this one, does get attached to his stuff. Happy for you, "ridiculous camera collection notwithstanding," that you have found a new freedom.

Sharky, my response is simply, "Different strokes."

Vee, as you know, we are encumbered with much stuff, yet we manage to keep some spaces open and clear!