My mother collects spoons. They are souvenir spoons from different cities or national parks or other places, I guess. She also collects angels. When I walk in her house, I literally think I've died and gone to heaven, if heaven is a place with hundreds of house plants, antique kitchenware covering the entire east wall of the kitchen, and if heaven is where no magazine, regardless of how obscure, gets thrown away. My mother is a collector, a hoarder, and a keeper.
My sisters and their husbands are collectors, too. Chickens, watering cans, pottery, music boxes, oh, I don't know what else. I always feel guilty at Christmas time because I can never remember who collects what and I don't want to ask because I don't want to appear to be exactly the oblivious brother I am.
My family is a collection of collectors - - except for me. I am a purger, not a collector. I want stuff to be gone. I don't keep things. If something comes in the house, I'm happiest if something goes out to make room for it. I don't like hanging on to clothes. I keep books moving out and have performed ruthless purges of my CD collection, greatly enriching the inventory at Goodwill.
I don't know what it is about me.
I guess maybe I see stuff as like the blood in our circulatory system. Maybe collecting strikes me as being like cholesterol. Too much collected stuff builds up and arteries get blocked and somehow, for me, when too much stuff starts to pile up in the house, whether it's magazines or books or clothes or even mugs and drinking glasses, I want to clear the arteries, get the blood flowing again, and feel like I can breathe.
In my personal thesaurus, collecting is synonymous with claustrophobia.
Right now, the only things I really collect I store electronically. I'm starting to collect photographs, ones I've taken and ones from our family's collection that I've scanned. I have very few printed pictures from the past, but with a digital camera and an external hard drive, which takes up very little physical space, I can collect pictures, and they don't take up any room. I can make little YouTube slideshows and I can display my pictures at Flickr and they are like, well, invisible.
So, I guess I'm really a virtual collector, a collector of invisible things like digital pictures and thoughts in my head, but when it comes to the material world, I'm a man in conflict with it, and find it hard to even collect coins in change jar.
Read about other collector personalities here.