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Collecting as a hobby is a fun and easy thing for almost anyone to start. Anybody can enjoy the fun of building up a collection of different things. There are a lot of great benefits to becoming a collector – and best of all no special skills or tools required!
Over the years I’ve enjoyed a LOT of different hobbies. While my interests may vary and evolve over time, one thing has always remained constant: I’m a collector. Understanding this about myself has helped me much better find a way to focus and channel my own interests and strengths into something productive.
Not Just for Antiques – You Can Collect Almost Anything!
While some people like to stick with one specific theme or type of thing to collect, others simply enjoy an eclectic mix of everything that fascinates and interests them.
When I talk about collecting things for fun, a lot of people automatically think I mean expensive and valuable antiques. While antiques certainly are great, it’s the stuff most people don’t think about collecting that fascinates me the most.
If you take a look on eBay, you’ll see all types of odd collectible things. People collect everything. Would you believe there are people who collect things like vintage sugar packets or matchbook covers?
If you have 3 or more of anything, you have a collection! It amazes me sometimes just how many mini collections I have of different things around the house.
Why Collect Stuff? 12 Benefits & Reasons to Start Collecting as a Hobby
There are a lot of benefits to start collecting something as hobby. Here’s 12 great reasons you should start a collection of some sorts today.
1. Stress Relief
There have been a lot of different studies on how our hobbies can help us relieve stress. No matter what your life might be like, we all need a way to unwind and relax.
I am interested in and enjoy all sorts of different activities and hobbies, but for me the biggest reason I always come back to collecting is because it is the least stressful of everything.
No pressure, no expectations. If I find something while I go about my daily routine, it makes me happy. If I don’t find something, I don’t even think about it.
Now, let’s compare that feeling to how I feel when I try to take up something like cooking and baking, which is one of my mom’s favorite hobbies.
For her, it might be stress relieving, but for me, who obviously did not inherit the family cooking gene…it’s basically a recipe for disaster.
Cooking requires concentration and focus to measure and prepare the ingredients. You might need special tools or equipment, like a stove or a mixer. If your food turns out terrible or you burn it, you are going to be hungry. Not to mention wasted ingredients and extra dishes to wash.
See the difference? A lot of hobbies like my cooking example can be both mentally and physically demanding. In my case, it would even actually be a trigger for stress. Your Hobbies Shouldn’t Cause You Stress!
If you have three or more of anything, you have a collection…and if it makes you smile, you are a collector. Easy peasy stress-freesy. 🙂
2. Educational Benefits Galore
Starting a collection is a great hobby to learn a lot about culture, history, and economics. Many homeschoolers use collecting as part of their curriculum because you can certainly learn a lot in a fun way. Learning about rocks and minerals certainly is more exciting when you have a rock collection to examine!
No matter what you collect, there is also always a story behind the items you are looking for. This can often lead to learning things that never even make it to the history books. History is definitely a lot more fun when you can hold a piece of it in your hand!
I remember when I was in school taking college level U.S. History classes. I hated those classes! Yet, I have tons of things I collect that are related to America’s past.
Turns out it was never history that I had a problem with, it was the style of learning. I’m not the “sit in this room while we lecture you” kind of person…I’m more of a “let me see and try this on my own” type of learner. 🙂
3. Can Enjoy for Free or on a Budget
One of the biggest misconceptions about collectors is that it costs a lot of money to collect different things. While this may be true for certain items, many collectible things can be found just by going through stuff around your own house.
Need some inspiration for what to collect on a budget? See my list of 101 things you can collect for free.
Another way to find inexpensive items for your collection is at yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets, estate auctions and more. You can often find certain themed items for just a couple of dollars and over time you can certainly build up quite the collection easily without spending a lot of money.
While very few collectors get into collecting “for the money” – one nice aspect is you can always sell stuff if you want to make room for new or different things.
4. Adaptable & Accessible for Every Person
There are many different ways to adapt collecting for almost any person. Because it is really up to you, the collector – you can enjoy the hobby in any way that makes sense for you.
It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, disabled, retired, or have an injury or illness – you can definitely find a way to adapt it for your own personal needs.
5. Make New Friends
One of my favorite things about collecting as a hobby is you can often find different groups and clubs to join. These are a great way to learn about a subject that interests you and you can really make a lot of great friends this way!
Many clubs have a variety of events. There are all sorts of conventions, trade shows and swap meets, and even just casual meet-ups to share information and finds with others. You can find clubs and groups both online and off – making it easy to connect with others all over the world.
6. Build Skills for Focus, Memory, Processing & Organization
Think of collecting like exercise for your brain. It can be a great way for people to strengthen their ability to pick up on patterns and develop focus and concentration. As a collector, you are always practicing and strengthening your memory skills!
It is also a very helpful practice to learn ways to sort, process, and organize information. Collecting gives me a lot of opportunities to build skills for being able to identify and recognize different patterns easily.
7. A Form of Creative Self-Expression
I have a friend who loves all things butterflies. She loved their beauty and of course, they were a very important personal symbol of transformation for her. In many ways, this became a way for her to creatively express herself without necessarily needing to explain or create anything.
There are also many other ways it can become a creative outlet. Popular blogs like Things Organized Neatly are just one example of how you can really see the art and creativity in the way collectors gather and arrange different objects. As the saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words.
8. Compatible With Other Hobbies, Interests, and Professions
The next reason I think collecting is my favorite hobby is that it is 100% compatible with any other interests or hobbies you might have!
For example, maybe you work in an industry that frequently has trade shows and conferences where they give you various promotional swag. You could collect pens, pins, stickers, and all sorts of brochures that relate to your field.
One doctor we know has a very interesting and unique collection of antiques at his office. He has a fantastic arrangement of all sorts of fascinating items on display in his waiting room. I think this really helps patients feel more relaxed and it’s way more interesting than staring at a plain boring wall. Even the waiting room chairs and tables are antique.
Whatever it is you do or are drawn to on a daily basis can work around collecting. Best of all, if you are one of those “like-to-do-it-all” types like me, you can often change what you collect & explore different things all the time!
9. Potential for Investment or Business Opportunities
Very few collectors get into this documenting, preserving and organizing things to make money, but there are a lot of potential opportunities to turn your interests into an investment or even a small supplemental part-time business.
My own interests change and evolve over the years, so one benefit for me is if I don’t necessarily want to keep a collection I can always sell it, donate it, recycle it or repurpose it.
Many of the things I enjoy finding are not exactly “high value items”. Still, as in the case of my penny collection, I at least know every penny will be worth at least 1 cent.
There are also a lot of great business opportunities to pursue. For example, I like to blog and write about the different things I find. I often take photographs of my collections, which I can then publish, license, and sell. I can also use public domain images and text to make my own creative mix-ups of art.
Most of us collectors if you ask us are not “in it for the money” – even the people who collect money will tell you that!
For lots of us, it is all about learning about history, connecting with a community, and capturing a small sense of joy and happiness from the little things in life. Still, there is always the potential to become a dealer or start a reselling business!
10. Altruistic Value
While we don’t always see great financial returns from collecting things, we can often find our collections can share a lot of value with a wide audience. I find it fascinating to learn things like the origins of how Pyrex cookware came to be and even the science behind it, even though I personally don’t collect a lot of vintage Pyrex.
Many collections are on public display in museums and countless collections can serve as a wealth of knowledge and information about history and culture for many future generations to come.
11. Bringing Order to an Otherwise Chaotic World
Most of our lives can be pretty crazy and the world is a chaotic place. One of the biggest distinguishing differences between collecting vs. hoarding is collectors typically have a very organized system for displaying or storing items.
When you are creating a collection, it gives you a sense of being able to have some sort of control and order over something in your life. This is important because so much of life is 100% completely out of our control.
If you think too much about it, you realize we’re just spinning 1000 mph on a giant rock orbiting around the sun at 67,000 mph. I’ve long accepted I can’t control anything…but I can at least give myself a small illusion of order with different things I like to display and collect. 🙂
12. A Healthy Perspective on Balance & The Ephemeral Nature of Life
One of the biggest things I’ve learned with this type of hobby is the importance of balance and of course an appreciation for the ephemeral nature of life. Nothing in this world lasts forever. Collecting as a hobby is a great way to appreciate preservation and good archival storage solutions!
Being a collector is a lot of fun, and as you can see there are lots of great benefits in starting your own collection of things. Find what interests you and follow it – you never know where it might lead you!
Do you like to collect things? Tell me about your collection and why you enjoy collecting as a hobby in the comments section below – I would love to hear your experiences!