Why do we collect?

The concept of collecting… What does it really mean to collect something? Why do we do it? It seems that people have different reasons and explanations for the instinctive human behavior.

By Patricia - Founder of Collectors Items

Evolutionary, we have always been collecting. Our ancient ancestors collected berries and wild plants as a way to survive in case of bear offspring. 

A psychoanalytical theory advocates that collecting is motivated by an existential anxiety. An anxiety for unwanted loss of control. The collection is like an extension of the collector’s identity, and it is a way to live on even though the collector doesn’t.

The existential anxiety comes to life through a wish to expand and improve the sense of the self. The collector has a goal to complete the collection and symbolically to complete the self. At the same time the collector has a great desire to complete his or hers identity through the collections, there is also a fear for the collections to finish, which would mean a finished life.  

Some theorists suggest that evolutionary a collection is a way for a man to show off his ability to accumulate resources and attract potential mates. Buuuuut… I don’t really know about that. Seems a little farfetched to me. But again, what do I know ;)

Like so much else, the topic of collecting has been discussed and debated by several different psychologists, philosophers and theorists. The truth is that no one has a specific answer to the primitive behavior of collecting. Many theories have been formed but none have universal support.





When asking what people collects, they tend to answer something like cars, post stamps, butterflies, designer clothes, baseball cards etc. Quickly summed up: material objects.


Because it could either be logical or sentimental to them. Maybe a collection of coins could become very valuable some day or it could be a desire to preserve the past. It might just be for the thrill of the hunt. Each collector has his or her own reason for collecting.

But the truth is that everything can be collected. Collections aren’t just for materialists. Everything from travels, jewelry and art to wrinkles, moments and goals can be collected.



The concept of collecting can do so much! It can tell us something about the person collecting but also something more existential: we all collect on a subconscious and biological level.

Think about it. Wrinkles are a way for the body to collect all the beautiful memories and moments in which a person has been lucky enough to experience. It’s a way to keep track.


collect memories



collecting is a part of the reality we live in.

Collecting is a way to express one’s personality. A collection is an extension of the self. It is a deeper purpose disguised as an object, idea, experience etc.

Everybody collects something.

What do you collect?

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