Hoarding and Impulse Buying

Dear Reader,

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.

As Always

The “Socially Awkward” Elephant in the Room

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23 thoughts on “Hoarding and Impulse Buying

  1. This may be a stupid question, but: Do you watch all of those movies (& re-watch any appreciable portion of them)? Yours is a particular type of hoarding, it sounds like, one with connectivity in mind…still, it can be quite freeing, I’ve found, to go on a sort of rampage, saying “I never watch / listen to / play this, what the hell do I still have it for” and throwing things out / giving them away. I used to hoard odd things (books, mostly), and would tell myself “I’ll read this someday,” or “I’ll use this for something some day.” Probably 80% of the time that didn’t happen. So then I became a carrier of objects, instead of a person who put objects to good use.

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      • It might be more helpful, where your goal of using things to relate to people is concerned, to evaluate how likely each thing is to help you before you buy it. That way you’re maximizing the use of each thing, and cluttering your room(s) up a bit less.

        I used to hoard music like *crazy*, because it felt good just to buy (and later download) loads of stuff. There was so much potential in it. I once did a massive 100 CD trade with a friend of mine in another part of the country. Most of what he sent me I never listened to at all, or never gave a fair, undistracted listen to, because there was just so goddamn much. It was overwhelming.

        Anyway the point is it’s easier to be excited about a thing than it is to devote your undivided attention to the thing. Doubtless you know this already.

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      • Aye, but if you have more movies than you can watch & more games than you can play & more music than you can listen to in a lifetime…in a very real sense, that sounds less like happiness and more like despair. What’s the good of having the thing if you can’t appreciate it?

        I challenge you to watch one movie you haven’t, and judge how useful it is. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great story. I have weird buying habits as well. I buy things in threes often. If I find a top that I like I end up buying it in 3 colors. I don’t find shopping a pleasant experience. Have learned if I go “window shopping” or go just to look around I come home with things I don’t need and sometimes my purchases sit in the bag for weeks after I get home. Now I tell myself for every garment I buy I have to get rid of 3. That has made me stop because I hate to get rid of things. I wear plus sized cloths and shop by catalog. When I get an order I have to try things on and repackage any returns right away before I get attached to said items. If you read my recent blog on my addiction to fabric you can see we are kindred spirits.

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  3. This is new to me. I don’t know anyone who hoards that much stuff! But it seems you have a good grasp of the reasons why. I think everyone has their own quirk, or ways to cope with life. Yours just happens to be a bit unusual, but if it helps you and doesn’t infringe on others – whatever works. And if you ever decide to sell it all … like one day, you decide to let go of it, it could be a great asset!

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  4. Hi! I just discovered your blog and I don’t know much about you, but what I know of people in general, everyone has a habit or a hobby that for others can be weird. As for owning a lot of things, I think that as long as you keep your items organized, you can call it a collection (maybe if you have a catalog of everything?) and that can be a good thing.
    Since you mentioned depression, I have to ask, have you ever seen a psychologist? I used to see one and they are amazing. It’s great to have someone you can tell absolutely everything to.

    Ok, enough with the random stranger telling you how to live your life. As for the text, I think is well written and I’m definitely reading more of your blog. You said your dad doesn’t like movies, for me is the opposite, much of my love for movies came from my dad.

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  5. I don’t hoard a thing. Well maybe I hoard things I make on the computer. I may have 10 copies of the same photo only embellished in different ways. Or I may make a graphic and edit it 10 ways. I keep them all …… as you never know. Every time I try to sort or prune I end up making another copy. lol
    We have a few movies etc, but we don’t know how to use the DVD player. 😦 At least you can watch what you hoard. 🙂

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  6. I hoard too lately. It’s random things, like washi tape and food. I think mine has more to do with anxiety. I find that when times are really stressful I turn to shopping, for anything, it doesn’t have to be any item in particular. I guess it’s an escape kind of thing?

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  7. I’m sometimes a little bit like you, but i go through house cleaning phases, where i figure, it’s easier to give things away, rather than to have to vaccuum and tidy them periodically! 🙂 Kindle helped me cut down on my book collection and now i’m thinking of starting to buy downloadable music instead of CD’s…..thinking still….cos i really do love my CD’s – just pop them in and play – i don’t need to learn anything to do this!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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