Collecting has been defined as "seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining a group of similar items". To put a more negative spin on the hunting-and-gathering, you could use the words: amassing, storing, and hoarding.
However, I prefer to think of collecting as an educational hobby. But, what I learn may be less about the collection and more about my values.
Collections vary from the exotic--gold coins, thoroughbred horses, and vintage cars--
to the ordinary--sand, match book covers, or beer cans.
In our home, collections often have family sentiment. The shelves of our library holds not only books, but a collection of hand-carved birds made by my husband's father.
Sometimes collections just find you, serendipitously. You buy something; then find another and another. Before you know it, you have a collection.
My groupings of brass candlesticks emerged this way. First, I bought a pair to match the brass dining room chandelier. Next, I found a larger pair. Then, because groups of three are more pleasing than two, I added another set.
From then on, it seemed like every antique store I browsed in had brass candlesticks. Because they are not too expensive, pack easily, and are virtually indestructible, they became my go-to purchase.
Further, because I like to use similar metals in a room, I began to collect other brass items. A brass watering can and a brass pitcher found their way home with me from a trip to England.
Then I discovered that footed, English wine-coolers make perfect plant holders. I bought a large one.
Later, their taller cousin asked to come home with me.
Hmm...this collecting thing may be getting out of control. Such pondering, leads me to ask myself, "What values do my collections reflect?"
We have multiple translations of the Bible on our shelves, a worthy collection. However, other groupings, reveal not such noble values; case-in-point, my closet holds multiple pairs of shoes. (Oops, maybe this collection has crossed the line into amassing, storing, and hoarding.)
Actually, not all collecting is bad. In fact, the Bible recommends it. "Add to your faith, goodness, and to goodness knowledge, and to knowledge self-control, and to self-control perseverance; and to perseverance godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love" (2 Peter 1: 5-8).
"Lord, help me to collect virtue--not stuff."