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While collecting is usually a fun hobby, sometimes it can be a source of stress and overwhelm. Fortunately, there are a lot of easy ways to avoid stress as a collector!
If you find your hobby is causing you stress, here are some things you can do to make it more enjoyable and way less stressful.
1. Take the Pressure Off Yourself
One of the primary sources of stress for collectors is the pressure we put way too much on ourselves. We may feel like we need to collect everything in a certain category, or even that our collection is never good enough.
This can be a lot of pressure and can be a huge source of stress that really isn’t necessary! Instead of putting so much pressure on yourself, try to relax and enjoy your hobby. Collect what you enjoy, and don’t worry about having the “perfect” collection.
2. Set a Budget to Avoid Financial Stress
Sometimes overspending can even complicate your relationships with your family, such as a spouse or partner getting angry about how money is being spent on a collecting hobby.
To avoid this, the easiest and most practical thing you can do is set a budget for your collection. Setting a budget is not that hard to do – whether you set aside $5, $20, or even $200 a month depending on what works for you.
See How I Manage My Budget for Collecting Vintage + Antique
3. Keep Your Expectations Realistic
One of the main sources of stress for collectors is having unrealistic expectations about their collection.
Maybe you’re hoping to find a certain item, but it’s proving to be more difficult (and expensive) than you thought.
Maybe you want your collection to be worth a certain amount of money, but it’s not growing as quickly as you’d like.
Whatever the case may be, try to keep your expectations realistic to avoid disappointment and stress.
It’s important to be realistic about what you can collect, how much it will cost, and how long it will take to complete your collection. If you set unrealistic goals, you’re more likely to become stressed and frustrated. It’s okay if things don’t go exactly as planned!
4. Don’t Compare Your Collection to Others!
Teddy Roosevelt said it best, “Comparison is the thief to joy.” It’s easy to look at other collections and feel like yours is not good enough or that you are not good enough as a collector.
Remember that your collection is for your enjoyment and not to impress anyone else. It’s okay to take your time and enjoy the process of slowly adding to your collection.
5. Remember Why You Started Collecting in The First Place
Sometimes when we are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, it’s important for us to look back and remember why we might have started our collection in the first place. There are a lot of great benefits to collecting as a hobby, and so sometimes you just need to remember why you started!
6. Get Organized
Another huge source of stress for collectors can come from feeling like their collection is out of control and unorganized. This can especially be true if you’re collecting a lot of different items or if you are tight on space.
One of the best ways to keep your collection – and your stress levels – under control is by keeping everything organized. This can be as simple as getting some storage containers and labeling them, or you can get more creative and make a display for your collection. You can even opt for something more elaborate like color-coding or categorizing your items.
Whatever method you choose, getting your collection organized will help you feel more in control and less stressed.
7. Don’t Let Your Collection Strain Your Relationships
While many of us are very fortunate to have supportive family and friends, sometimes a hobby can cause some strain on our relationships. This applies to almost every hobby – not just collecting!
If your partner or household members are growing resentful of your hobby, take a step back for a minute to think about why. What are the underlying reasons for them not being supportive?
Sometimes it’s just a matter of giving that person enough attention so that they don’t feel like your collection is more important to you than them. Other times it’s just a matter of looking at how your collection might be affecting them.
Remember that relationships are all about give and take. Sometimes you will need to compromise. Most times, a solution can be found once both people understand what they each need and expect from each other.
8. Avoid the People Who Cause Drama
No matter what hobby you are in, there are always a few bad apples that can ruin the fun of connecting with other people who collect the same thing as you.
If you’ve ever been in a Facebook group that has a lot of drama, you know how easily heated arguments can happen over different things. I’ve seen online wars explode in groups about houseplants – yes, really – houseplants! I’ve seen so much crazy drama over the most trivial things. If you’re in these groups and they cause you stress, there’s nothing wrong with leaving them!
One of the great things about collecting is that there are always other collectors out there who understand your passion and can relate to you. Try to connect with these people online or in-person if possible and you’ll find your joy in collecting coming back in no time!
9. Take a Break
If you find that your collecting hobby is starting to cause you to stress, it might be a good idea to take a break. This doesn’t mean you have to stop collecting altogether, but maybe take a week or two off (or even a few months) and do something else.
This can be a great way to reset and come back to your collection with a whole new approach and attitude. You might find that you come back feeling refreshed and more excited about your hobby than ever before.
10. Know When to Stop
This one can be really tough, especially if you’re passionate about your collection – but it’s important to know when to walk away.
There will always be more items to add to your collection, but at a certain point, you need to be able to step back and say “I’m happy with what I have.” Just because there are always going to be more things to add to your collection, doesn’t mean that you have to keep adding to it.
If your collection is becoming a source of stress instead of enjoyment, sometimes it’s just time to let it go. Letting go is hard to do, but there are a lot of things you can do to make the process easier, whether it’s cashing in on the value of your collection or being able to donate or pass it on to someone who will love and care for it just as much as you do.
And of course, don’t forget, there is always the option of digital preservation! If the logistics of keeping all the items in your collection is a source of stress for you, your budget, or your relationships, you can always go to a digital option as an alternative!
It’s important to remember that your hobbies are supposed to make you happy – so don’t let them turn into something that causes you anxiety.
Collecting is fun – but if it isn’t fun anymore, I hope these tips on how to avoid stress while collecting are helpful for you. Have you ever felt like collecting is a source of stress for you? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!