Trinkets, Toys and Trifles: The Psychology Behind Collecting

We all grow up collecting bits and pieces, be they interesting rocks or trading cards, maybe even dinosaurs. There are many good reasons to continue your collecting habits into adulthood, but it’s important to be aware of your collecting motives and ambitions and how they are likely to evolve over your life. Here are some of the benefits of collecting and the top categories to choose from.


The Personal Joys of Collecting

People collect for many reasons, with varying levels of commitment and to different ends. The casual collector might just do it for the sheer opportunity to own more figurines, stuffed animals or LEGO, only to find the habit becoming more serious later on. Collecting hobbies can help reduce stress and give the collector pleasure as they appreciate the craftsmanship or beauty of their collection, and enjoy the pride of owning it. Collections can be diverse as well as large, with figurine, statue and doll collectors taking in a wide variety of different makes and styles, from traditional action figures to more recent designs like Pixel Pal representations of 8-bit characters.

Character Development

The process of collecting also helps you learn more about your area of interest, awakening a thirst for knowledge about a certain area and giving you a sense of command on the subject. Books can take you to new worlds and cultures, not only building your vocabulary and imagination but lifting your mood. Collecting helps you become a better seeker and finder in general, honing your pattern recognition skills as you become more aware of the details of the objects and how best to source them. This generally improves your organisational thinking and abilities, especially if you categorize or stylistically arrange your collection. You may draw creative inspiration from your collection, or even contribute to it with your own creation.

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Collector Communities

Then there’s the fostering of social connections and interactions with fellow collectors, which can involve both recognition and playful competition. Collecting – to some degree – is an integral part of the film, music, gaming, and art communities, and can provide both social and financial benefits. Having an impressive collection can be a good way of joining and establishing your reputation in those environments. Vinyl records, rare movies and paintings are not only socially helpful but can appreciate in value.

Historical and Financial Benefits

A feeling of nostalgia or connection to history can be a powerful motivator, and you can even contribute to history by ultimately donating your collection to a museum. Certain coins and stamps, for example, can have both aesthetic, social, historical and financial value. Finally, the accumulation of wealth by storing items whose value appreciates (especially luxury collectibles) can provide security and freedom later in life. Antiques exhibit great craftsmanship and appreciate in value. More specialised antiques, such as antique automobiles or guitars, can be even more valuable.

I hope that you now have an idea of the individual, social and lifestyle benefits of collecting. Perhaps you already have an interesting or valuable item in your possession that you’ve forgotten about? If not, what might be a cool way to start a new collection, or organise an existing one? Or maybe you can start your children off collecting something that they can build on each birthday and Christmas?

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