Junk R Us: Secrets of Compulsive Collectors Hunting for collectibles is a way to sooth the soul for many people who are coping with uncomfortable feelings such as loss, emptiness, loneliness and boredom.
News-Antique.com - Apr 05,2008 - What do many collage-assemblage artists and flea market enthusiasts have in common? Yep...you got it...they both are after someone else’s junk.........often referred to as “found objects”! According to C. Dianne Zweig, author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and a mixed media artist herself, “junk R us”!
Did you ever wonder what’s behind this desire to go “junking” and bring home odds and ends and “found objects” a term which elevates kitsch (trash) or is it “collectibles” to a higher level.
Why do outwardly appearing sane people like to go poking around dumpsters, junk shops and flea markets? Zweig who has been a psychotherapist for over thirty years is convinced that what collectors are after is not “found objects” but “new objects”.
In other words Zweig maintains that collectors find “ new objects” to fill a void in their life” .........they “fill their homes” with “things ” ..........they become attached to treasures in the same way people may become attached to significant others.......or pets. Heavy stuff dude (no pun intended) to consider but it is true. In fact the bigger “the hole” the more you need to fill it up.
This may help to explain why many folks shop when they are feeling blue. Or why some people load their homes with so much “stuff”.
Recently Zweig, who just completed her second book, Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes (Collectorbooks.com-Fall 08) was asked if collecting is in our genes or learned? Perhaps there is a “ hereditary” link. We are all wired a certain way and have unique personality characteristics and talents which influence “what we collect” and “how we go about collecting things” . Those of us with “ants in our pants” handle running around at flea markets quite well. In contrast, she points out that it takes a patient person to sit at a desk peeling off stamps from envelops and building a stamp collection.
Is collecting learned? This answer is really connected to the first. A child who was taken to the Southwest many times may develop a keener interest in Native American Pottery than a kid who grew up in Brooklyn who may grow up collecting baseball memorabilia. Zweig’s dad who owned a deli on the basement level of a New York sky scraper building would often find very cool vintage documents being thrown out by firms on the upper levels. Of course this is how Zweig learned to appreciate “garbage”.
If you ask people about their collecting habits they often will provide similar answers. Collectors explain that antiquing makes them feel better. On a deeper level collecting allows people to cope with uncomfortable feelings such as loss, emptiness, loneliness, boredom etc.
The bottom line is that “junking” is not a bad way to deal with unpleasant feelings as long as it does not get out of control. Most collectors fall into the healthy range. But Zweig points out that when collecting is out of control or interferes with daily