People collect all different types of things during their lives including books, magnets, figurines, toys, jewelry, artwork, furniture, and just about anything you can imagine. Collections can be a source of joy.  But there also can be a dark side.   Collections can contribute to stress both for collectors themselves as well as the people around them.    The UK Mental Health Foundation define stress as “the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure.”  Here are three strategies you can use to decrease stress and anxiety surrounding collectibles.

Curation of the collection 

Curation of the collection is deciding what to collect and also what to include in the collection. Spending time thinking about this is important for beginners and experienced collectors. Collectors need to consider how much time, space, and money will be devoted to the collection.

Think for a moment about different examples of collections from your own life, including examples from friends and family.  Also think about examples of collections you’ve read about or seen in other media. Consider were these collections big or small? Did the collections bring joy or create chaos, clutter, and stress? Where the collections extensive or consist of just a few quality pieces?   We all have different examples depending on our backgrounds and experiences.


Once a person decides on curation or what to collect, the next step is organizing the collection. Good organizational techniques are invaluable.

A person should consider how much space is available for the collection. For example, an extensive stamp collection takes up relatively little space and can be held inside a tiny apartment while a collection of cars requires a large amount of space, even possibly a garage. 

Collections can be organized by type, color, or other significant meaning. They can be creatively displayed to enhance enjoyment.   The collector should discuss with other members of the household the amount of space required for the collection.  This should be available and agreed upon.  When collections go awry, they can overflow closets, cramp spaces, and even create dangerous hazards. 


Legacy means what happens to a collection when the collector is no longer around.  This needs to be considered for any collection no matter how large or small. Ideally the collection is already curated to include quality pieces that are well-organized and the collector has specified what to do with the collection. Collections can be donated to organizations, sold, or given to individuals, preferably providing value for others.  In some circumstances, difficulties may be encountered dividing, sorting, and distributing a collection. Families and friends often struggle with collections of deceased loved ones. In some situations, there can be disagreements and even lawsuits.  

 Collections can be wonderful, but they also can contribute to stress and anxiety. Consider curation, organization, and legacy for collections both big and small.  This will reduce stress and anxiety for you as a collector and those around you.