Collecting vs. Hoarding

I believe there is a fine line between collecting and hoarding. So far I haven't fallen over the line into the abyss of hoarding, but I can see how it could happen. Collecting is fun. It starts with only one item. It's usually an item you love very much, maybe you even treasure it. Someone knows how much you value your whatcamacallit thingamabob, and they see another similar one. They immediately think of you and buy the new item as a mate for your first one. A collection is born. Many collections start something like this, innocently enough, but after a few years a collection could take on a life of its own.

One thing that makes collecting enjoyable is the hunt. Your collected item might be unique. It might not be easy to find, so you search. It's like finding Easter eggs. If you find one you're not going to leave it in the grass, you're going to put it in your basket with the other eggs. In fact, you'll keep piling those eggs in the basket until maybe the handle breaks off. That might be considered hoarding. It's too much of a good thing. Some people may define collecting as organized hoarding, but I think collections are much more.

Over the years I've collected a few different things, and none of them have broken the handle of my basket -- yet. I once collected teddy bears, then angels, then rabbits. A person only needs so many teddy bears, angels and rabbits, then enough is enough. My more recent collections include cookie cutters, Fiesta ware, rolling pins and cookbooks. My justification for these later collections is that they are useful in more ways than just the enjoyment of the hunt.

One of my cookbook collections is the Southern Living Annual recipes. The first year for these cookbooks was 1979, and it has been published every year since. I don't have a bookshelf wide enough to hold the complete collection, so I keep the older ones on one shelf and the more recent ones on another. I didn't start collecting them in 1979. I started this collection a few years ago, and it was interesting to look for and find all the years to complete the full set.

I love searching these cookbooks for recipes. If it's worth cooking, Southern Living will have a recipe for it. The 2015 version will be released on December 1, and I'm sure the new volume will be as excellent as its predecessors.

I enjoy my collections, but I do have one bit of advice for those who might want to begin a collection -- be sure your basket has a strong handle.


  1. Great advice! Been there...done that. Your books all in a row look great, and I'm sure you put them to good use. So fun to have a collection...I once collected penguins, and ended up with over 120 of them because everyone wanted to give me one more...YIKES! When we had to downsize, most of them went to a local nursing home who decorated a big room with them. That was fun to see.