Asking for a Friend:) COLLECTOR vs. HOARDER, What’s the Difference?

According to http://www.dictionary.com, a COLLECTOR is a person that accumulates, and a HOARDER is a person that accumulates for preservation and/or future use. Both appear to be rooted in acquisitiveness, so how do you know when the venerable 1930’s Vintage Flex drinking straw has broken the camel’s back, and sent you to the dark side?

A Sample of Laurie’s Lovely Depression Era Glass

Like Francie Lanoo, the lead character in the novel IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes (a collector of shoes, mementoes, London trinkets, and some inherited lovelies that I won’t elaborate on or I’ll give away part of the plot), I like to accumulate.   Full confession, I have a total of four pursuits on the go, and can’t see myself saying, “enough is enough” to any of them (why would I, when they all make me so happy?)  This list includes:

Depression Era Glass (pictured above): brightly colored, oddly shaped, ornate plates, goblets, and serving dishes that I often use as mismatched table settings.

Original Artwork: which I began purchasing as soon as I started earning an income … that has pretty much covered every wall and every horizontal surface in my home to the extent that I’m now contemplating securing pieces to the ceilings so I can display more.

Hearts: including both natural ones like a leaf of arugula (NO, I don’t keep the actual leaf, I keep a photo record of it), and fabricated ones like paperweights and jewelry.

Another of Laurie's Lovelies
Another of Laurie’s Lovelies

Mementoes With Significance (good and bad): like a Spanish red-leather portfolio given to me by someone special that reminds me of all the good in the world, and a tiny diamond stud earring given to me by someone psychotic that reminds me of all the bad in the world.

All under one roof, these possessions do amount to a lot of stuff. So, should I be worried? Umm, let’s see. According to an article entitled What’s the Difference between Hoarding and Collecting posted by TLC, obsessive hoarding is a mental health condition that falls under the realm of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), with three telltale signs that an individual’s ‘accumulation’ has gone too far:

  1. An inability to discard objects.
  2. An impaired ability to function due to the hoarding.
  3. A cluttered living space that has become so filled with objects that it can’t be used effectively.

Assuming that these three conditions are the tell-all, how do I measure up?

  1. Yes, I have an inability to discard my objects. In fact, I can see myself, one day, renting an off-site storage container to accommodate what my home can’t.
  2. No, I am not in any way functionally impaired by the collections’ existence. Rather, I believe I’m enhanced and happier as a result of them.
  3. No, my living space is not cluttered. Quite the contrary; I maintain my favored minimalist interior aesthetic simply by stuffing closets to the brim.

Because I have answered yes to only one of the symptoms, I’m going to go out on a limb and diagnose myself as NOT being a hoarder. Which is good to know, because my glass collection is lacking in Dell Glass Company Tulip pieces, in the color amethyst.

To any fellow accumulators out there reading this blog. I’m curious. What is your pursuit, and what is your diagnosis: COLLECTOR or HOARDER?

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