I am an impulse buyer, and a bit of a hoarder, my problem generally is limited to optical media (and cartridge/tape/vinyl). My Film / Game / Music collection is far too big. I haven’t played or watched the majority of the things I own and probably never will. Just last year I threw away over 300 cases of DVDs and kept the discs because they were taking up so much room I couldn’t do anything in my bedroom.
I have always loved films. As a child, we never really had many films on video, just your regular Disney movies, we didn’t get a DVD player until way after they were released. My dad doesn’t watch films, he says they are too long and my mum isn’t particularly interested in them. So they never really bought any. I got a cheap DVD player for my birthday one year. I had to beg my parents for it. I spent all of my money on DVDs that birthday. And, in the last few years (maybe 5 or so) my DVD collection has gone from around 50 DVDs to over 3000, my games collection has gone from 5 consoles to over 25 and my CD collection has spawned a vinyl and cassette collection. I have never been embarrassed by my collection of media, in fact, I’m proud of it. People who see it tell me it’s ridiculous, but what do they know! Sometimes you have to surround yourself with things that make you happy, even if those things are inanimate objects.
I realised a long time ago that buying things made me happy, and this is where my impulsive buying started. I would go into a store see a DVD and buy it, my biggest problem used to be Blockbusters. I once bought 32 DVDs from one of those stores in one day. It was not my best decision.
From what I have read hoarding can be a symptom of OCD, anxiety and autism. In my case, it’s fairly safe to say that it’s to do with my Aspergers. Hoarding can relate to a lot of things, some people keep everything, newspapers, packaging, food etc. I just keep media and have an embarrassing knowledge about the history of DVDs, pop culture, most games consoles and the majority of musical artists I like. I tend to hide this knowledge because I am embarrassed by it and I shouldn’t be. People with Aspergers often have above average intelligence and “special subjects” that they know a lot about. Why should I be embarrassed by that? Although it is fairly awkward for someone to ask who you still have obsolete HD-DVDs in your collection only for you to explain that they aren’t yet on Blu-ray and that the sound and picture quality is far superior, most often people’s eyes glaze over in boredom. I don’t blame them, If I wasn’t interested in that kind of thing I would probably do the same. For example, I have two copies of the Disney film Brother Bear, one English language copy and one french copy. I bought the french copy because I preferred the cover, trying to explain this to anyone generally ends with them looking at me like I am crazy. I own 4 different versions of the movie Jaws, my favourite film, I even have a stuffed version of Jaws is in my bed. Much to my partners annoyance.
My console collecting is a little out of control, I own over 25 games consoles, some of those I own multiple versions of. I don’t get time to really use them as often as I used to or would like to, but knowing they are there for when I want to use them really keeps me satisfied. I used to be better at keeping things in genres, but more recently I have lacked the concentration and energy to fix these problems, mostly due to my depression getting significantly worse. Whilst they look like that are in a mess I know exactly where any film, game or piece of music is in my collection.
My music collection has become far harder to control. Digitally I have over 70GB of music. But physically I have over 200 CDs 300 Vinyls and around 100 cassettes. I don’t think my hoarding has become a problem quite yet. I can see why some people would disagree.
It’s ok to hoard things, obviously there are extreme circumstances and dangers included with lining your house with mass amounts of stuff. But I don’t hoard out of fear of losing things, I hoard out of a voracious need to acquire pop culture references that I can use to help me relate to human beings that don’t understand me or my autistic tendencies. The media is a very relatable subject, with a good knowledge of music, television, film and games you can pretty much have a conversation with anyone, well its always helped me.
The “Socially Awkward” Elephant in the Room