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Thread: Is excessive toy collecting a disease? Hoarding?

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    Heroic Warrior atlas0413's Avatar
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    Is excessive toy collecting a disease? Hoarding?

    I can't seem to stop buying toys even though most of them I don't even display. I also find it hard to part with doubles of figures or one off figures that I don't really collect. I spend A LOT of money as well trying to complete collections I have.

    Does anyone else seem to do this, I don't just buy random stuff but I know most of what I have will never leave my storage (part of which is in the photo I attached). I must say that lately it is feeling more like a compulsive disorder that a collecting hobby, but it has been an expensive couple of months so it might just be financial remorse.

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  2. #2
    Master of My Soul MOTU_Maniac's Avatar
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    I don't know if I would go so far as to say it is hoarding, but I do think many of us suffer from extreme collecting.

    However, I don't know if it is a bad thing. If it brings a person enjoyment and doesn't interfere with paying your bills and fulfilling other responsibilities then there is no harm, right?

    I personally never had toys as a kid and missed out on a lot, so now that I am an adult I have a lot to catch up on...at least that's my excuse. lol.

    But at the same time, I personally am a firm believer that if you buy a toy or collectible then you should display it instead of just putting it into a closet where it never sees the light of day. But again, that is just my own personal opinion.
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  3. #3
    Let's get Crita in MOTUC! The All American's Avatar
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    Excellent question! And I apologize for my upcoming long winded answer:

    I'm not sure if excessive toy collecting is a disease, but it is a problem if you're not having fun with it anymore.

    Do you own the collection, or does the collection own you? When it owns you, that's the problem.

    For collectors, I'd say a few things are our enemies and friends, both at the same time;

    1) Collect 'em all mentality - We live in a very materialistic world, and many of us grew up in the golden era of toys and aggressive marketing. I'd say the majority of us have that "collect 'em all mentality" deeply engrained in our emotional triggers. It's fun collecting too, getting each new piece to add. But I've realized something, at least for me, it's not as fulfilling owning an entire collection. It's almost anti-climatic when you get 'em all, you still want more, but there's nothing left, and it feels kinda dead at that point. So, I think it's best to get the toys you really want, and may want (before they get too expensive), but don't pursue figures you don't/won't love, and are at a high price. Buyers guilt is that. Buying something you realize you don't really like, or something you like but at a price you later resent. None of us are made out of money.

    But money sometimes feels like no object when you're fueled by....

    2) Nostalgia - I can nearly recall where each of my toys came from, when I got them, who got them for me (or I bought them with money I was given), and what time period. Nostalgia has a meaningful and heavy pull. One I have not yet been able to conquer. But for me at least, I value toys that bring back that nostalgia more than others (even though the designs are better nowadays). I have sold off a few new collections I have bought in the last 10 years because, while I liked them all a lot, I bought them mostly myself. And I really don't miss them now, because I was the one buying them. I don't have the same kind of emotional connection to them. For example, I owned the Muppet Backstage Playset by Palisades. An exceptional piece! But as valuable and exceptional as it is, it doesn't compare to a silly looking Dreadnok toy I got as a kid, like Monkeywrench from G.I.JOE (my aunt got my first G.I.JOE (Monkeywrench) at a Kay-Bee Toys discount sale in '86, and I was hooked since. Monkeywrench is invaluable to me).

    And now a lot my collecting is finishing up those old lines (at reasonable prices), versus buying too much new stuff.

    Nostalgia can be a detriment though when you end up saving everything from your childhood, when you don't have the.....

    3) Space - Not the final frontier, but the second biggest enemy of all collectors. If I was a rich man, I'd probably have entire rooms dedicated to a few of my favorite collections, a gigantic diorama. I'm still hopeful I will one day. But, few of us are rich enough to entertain this sort of possibility. Most of our collections have to go boxed until we hit that point. It is a shame, but necessary if you don't want to trip over them in the hallway, lol. Space isn't too big of an issue you anticipate getting a bigger house, and it's not a detriment to you and your.....

    4) Significant others/loved ones - Perhaps the biggest enemy of collecting. But the most important one. Whether it's your spouse or close family member, you don't want your collecting to influence or hurt your relationship with those people. Your personal relationships are more important than any toy out there. You shouldn't be with someone that hates your hobby. If they're at least indifferent to it, that's ok. If they love it, that's great. But if your collecting is stressing your relationships, and therefore you, it's time to take a step back. They're just pieces of plastic. And you're only collecting for your own enjoyment.


    Collecting should be fun. But it's easy for it to get out of hand because we like to collect. We normally have a nostalgia pull (or we just plain like new toy designs) that irrationally makes us buy more. In the end, weigh your options with how much space you have (or may have in the future) along with who has to deal with your collecting. Weigh all of those, and somewhere in there, you've got the answer to controlling your collection. It's not a disease if you control your collection. But if it controls your life and the relationships you have, you're in trouble.

  4. #4
    Mistress of the Whip! Divia's Avatar
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    I remember when MOTU came back I was on the bandwagon and was collecting and collecting figures. Only ones I liked but I would have different paint jobs n all that jazz.

    One day I opened my closet and I realized that I had no room for anything else because all my collection was in there. Animation cells, toys, figures etc. I stood back and thought "this is dumb." These items aren't on display cause I have nowhere to display them so they are collecting dust in my closet and I can't put my clothes in there.

    I decided it was time to clean out my unleashed figures, my MOTu figures and I tired to get rid of my animation cells but no one would buy them for the price I wanted to sell 'em so they are still in storage.

    I think if anyone's sistuation is like mine its time to really think of why you have the items and if you should get rid of em.
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    Super Powered Mod! markatisu's Avatar
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    It's not a disease if you control your collection. But if it controls your life and the relationships you have, you're in trouble.
    Exactly, everything in moderation.
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    Heroic Warrior
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    Exactly moderation is the key for myself I'm unloading the things that don't mean so much I'm going to just save for a few nicer pieces.
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  7. #7
    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    It's good to have hobbies that fill your day up. So collecting toys and video games has been good for me. Having said that, you should definitely look into establishing other hobbies and interests (if you don't have any).

    This is a form of thrill seeking. New acquisitions are a source of excitement. But that excitement wears off and you find yourself buying more. You can cycle your display just to get older stuff out of your closet and hopefully rekindle your interest in those items. If that doesn't work, then it's probably time to start moving some stuff out.

    When I sell, I usually sell expensive stuff. I don't mind having a big box full of $3-6 figures up in the attic, I don't want big boxes full of $15+ toys up there.
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  8. #8
    Clown Prince of Darkness Benedict Judas Hel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atlas0413 View Post
    Is excessive toy collecting a disease?
    Yes it is...a sexually transmitted disease. Although I've heard you can get it from a toilet seat as well...
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  9. #9
    Stridor in MOTUC! RockinHard's Avatar
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    I only collect MOTUC and MOTUC only. That's waaay more than an expense I don't need. I keep them all in a cabinet on display. No point in keeping stuff in a closet packed away.
    My seller/trader/buyer feedback:
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  10. #10
    Heroic Warrior
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    I fully understand those statements and agree with most of them. I started as a completist with MOTUC in 2009, but then I realized, that I don't like many figures at that time. So I chose to cherry pick. Ii'm more satisfied, because of the selection, a feeling, that I got only stuff, I really want. I kept Jitsu and Snake Face so far this year.

    I collect also some 80's Lego, some comics, New York Mets stuff and other geek things, but not excessive, I relaxe while searching. Cherry pivking can be relaxing, too. It depends on your personal preference.

    There are many collectors, who buy much stuff from Sideshow or Hot Toys, which is far more expensive. You see pictures, where stuff with a value of 4-5,000$ is positioned on a single shelf or sideboard, because of limited space. Collecting stuff has a lot of faces...

  11. #11
    grumpy old dragon scott metzger's Avatar
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    I think the main point here was brought up early: it's only a problem if it interferes with more important responsibilities. If you're spending money on toys rather than rent or food or bills, then it tips over the edge into a real problem. As for the "gotta catch 'em all" mentality, folks who are into toys have had that drilled into their heads from almost every package they've picked up. "Collect them all!" is the message we've been bombarded with from the early days of action figures, so it's an understandable compulsion I think we've all faced at least at times.

    I don't know where exactly the boundary is between interest and obsession, but I ask myself a few of questions with each toy purchase:

    Is it worth the money? This one is hard sometimes, as some things aren't objectively worth what's being asked, especially if it's an older piece on e-bay. It's a subjective judgement, and often comes down to whether or not it's worth it to you. The first instinct is often, "yes because I want it. NOW!!! NOW!!!! NOW!!!!!!" Sometimes giving myself a few minutes to walk around the store rather than rushing to the register clears that out and I realize it isn't really worth the money, at least to me. In other cases, it doesn't take that long; yesterday, one good long look at the new Max Steel stuff was enough to quell any notions of buying the figures.

    Do I have that money to spare? In an age of plastic money, that's always an iffy thing. But it's one of the most important questions, going back to the "other responsibilities" mentioned above. This is where trouble can come in if you're spending money you can't spare; that's one of the big signals of whether it's a hobby or a problem.

    A big one for me: Does it go along with a property I already collect or follow? I picked up the Disney Planes the other day because I collect Disney Cars (the die cast cars are the action figures for that property. This was another reason I passed on the Max Steel; it doesn't fit with the old Max stuff, or anything else I get. Starting a whole new property is something I try to do only when I am already into it or it is really grabbing me from the start (the best example of the latter is our beloved He-Man).

    Do I have a place to put it? I don't get something I can't put out on display. If I don't already have a spot available, or if I don't want the item enough to put something else away to make room, then I apparently don't really want it that bad.

    It really all comes down to this: if you can afford what you get, still have a life and career outside your toys, and can say still say no when you need to, then you're probably fine.
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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    I used to frequent a lot of guitar gear boards. There they called it GAS - Gear Acquisition Syndrome. A lot of people spent more time acquiring and customizing their gear, and talking about it/posting pics, than actually playing guitar.
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    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    I used to frequent a lot of guitar gear boards. There they called it GAS - Gear Acquisition Syndrome. A lot of people spent more time acquiring and customizing their gear, and talking about it/posting pics, than actually playing guitar.

    That's some expensive crap, too. Yikes

    I sometimes find myself buying a figure just because certain reviewers picked it up and dug the figure. There are 2 guys in particular (fxFranz and aetherus69) that I frequently emulate
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    Heroic Warrior RyDell's Avatar
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    Yes, it is hoarding. Lots of good points above. If it causes you stress but doesn't relieve it... if as soon as you get one figure, you need another "fix" from another one... if you can't even remember what you actually have or why u have it... it is sickness.

    "Collecting" is a form of "hunting" that has been ingrained in humans for thousands of years. Without a need to actually hunt for survival, humans have turned to collecting trophies in other ways. Hunting used to = survival, But collecting doesn't. When you feel anxious or stressed due to collecting, you need to take a healthy step back. My advice... take out your most expensive toy, break it out of its box and play with it... give it to a kid to play with... because that's what toys are for... u will enjoy the toy more believe me!!!
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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post
    That's some expensive crap, too. Yikes

    I sometimes find myself buying a figure just because certain reviewers picked it up and dug the figure. There are 2 guys in particular (fxFranz and aetherus69) that I frequently emulate
    Oh yeah, a single figure at $30 is cheap compared to a single guitar pedal at $50-$150.
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  16. #16
    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    I think it can be. Myself, I've cleared out most of my toys and put the money to useful necessities. I've also developed a strict "if it costs more than $X amount, I will not buy it" when it comes to novelty goods, since most of the time I get a toy and lose interest in it shortly after and often end up selling it, so paying heavily to get a novelty is a waste of money.

  17. #17
    DOODON NSP's Avatar
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    Great Thread!

    Long story short.....to answer the original question.....like other have said if it interferes in 'real life'....then yes it can be a problemb.

    As far as the toys go....I like the idea of cycling displays in and out. Depending on how much room you have. For me I have room for about 6-8 toy lines. Once a month or so I take a few down and put a few different ones up. This way you can 'enjoy' all your stuff a little at a time. The biggest thing for me is buyng things that just sit in a closet or something and never see the light of day.

    Main thing. If you dont ENJOY them....its not worth buying them. IMHO.

  18. #18
    Heroic Warrior Southzen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benedict Judas Hel View Post
    Yes it is...a sexually transmitted disease. Although I've heard you can get it from a toilet seat as well...
    It is like glitter, it never goes away, and is easily contracted from the most seemingly innocent sources.


    As far as a problem, if you are unhappy, then yes, there is a problem.
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  19. #19
    Heroic Warrior illicitjedi's Avatar
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    Honestly, there are a lot of good points made thus far; "Does collecting own you" for example.
    My mother is a legit hoarder, and I will not post pictures for my own sanity. I collect things, which probably started at a young age, but I'm also able to downsize and get rid of things I do not need, want, or will never use again.
    Hoarding is a psychosis, not a hobby or something that makes you happy. So, to me, there is a difference.
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  20. #20
    HAAAAAAAAAPPYYYYYYYY..... Prince Adam's Dad's Avatar
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    I agree with what has been said thusfar.

    I knew I had an issue when I was buying figures from the TF movie line (I think it was TF2, to be exact) and was buying figures I knew I didn't even really want because they were in the same wave as figures I did want. I wasn't going to display or appreciate them. I was just buying them to buy them. That's no good.

    If you're going out of your way to buy something you don't even want for no good reason, that's a problem.

  21. #21
    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    Well, if you do a cost-benefit analysis of these things, I think you might find that they provide a lot of enjoyment for very little money.

    If a $6 figure provides me with 3 days of fun before ending up in a box with others, that's $2 per day. And if I eventually sell said figure for say $5, I, ultimately, got 3 days of fun out of it for just $1

    The problem I have had is with larger and more expensive figures. They typically haven't provided any more fun than the smaller figures do, but they cost a heck of a lot more.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I had a lot of fun with Bot Shots. Many of them cost only $3 and provided 2 days of fun. Not much gas spent because they have been readily available at all the stores around here.
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  22. #22
    Heroic Warrior H.A.L.9000's Avatar
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    Is excessive toy collecting a disease? Hoarding?


    NO.....
    "I DENY YOU THE NIDUS!!"

  23. #23
    Heroic Warrior
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    Ive had to let go of many figures I have loved due to financial troubles, however I appreciated them when I had them. Now someone else will enjoy them, and I will find other things to make me happy and remind me of my childhood. Anything can be bad for you if it becomes too much, however the upside to toy collecting over other 'destructive' habits, is that you can recoup some funds or pass them onto others to love. Just keep yourself in check and perhaps reevaluate your habit.

  24. #24
    Shivering Isles resident diosoth's Avatar
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    If you're letting necessities slide to purchase toys then you probably should evaluate your hobby.

  25. #25
    grumpy old dragon scott metzger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post
    Well, if you do a cost-benefit analysis of these things, I think you might find that they provide a lot of enjoyment for very little money.

    If a $6 figure provides me with 3 days of fun before ending up in a box with others, that's $2 per day. And if I eventually sell said figure for say $5, I, ultimately, got 3 days of fun out of it for just $1

    The problem I have had is with larger and more expensive figures. They typically haven't provided any more fun than the smaller figures do, but they cost a heck of a lot more.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I had a lot of fun with Bot Shots. Many of them cost only $3 and provided 2 days of fun. Not much gas spent because they have been readily available at all the stores around here.
    Now here is a man who truly gets it...
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