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When does a large collection become hoarding?

Sep 18, 2011

    1. I'm sure I'm not alone in this boat.
      We all collect extremely expensive dolls, and many of us have several of them.

      But when is there a time and say that "it's too many" and realize your buying dolls just to have. When it's no longer a collection anymore but just a part of you.

      I've observed doll collectors of many types. Those who play with their dolls like toys, those who have them on display, and those who keep them in their boxes constantly only to be opened to enjoy occasionally.

      Very easily between boxes, dolls, maintenance supplies, clothing, and props, it is extremely easy for a collection of dolls to take over a space.

      Hoarding is often defined by having a crippling obsession with holding onto things or constantly obtaining things, sometimes specific items like dolls.

      My questions for you:

      When does a BJD owner become a BJD Hoarder?

      Have you been accused of being a doll hoarder, or possibly even thought you may be? and on what grounds?

      There was a thread on "unhealthy obsession" that did touch a bit on hoarding, but it seemed more unhealthy relationships with dolls rather than hoarding which is the disconnect with the dolls and just having masses.

      When does a BJD Owner become a BJD Hoarder:

      For me it's when the owner fails to A) remember all of their dolls [constantly, like you open up a box one day and you completely forgot you had said doll.] B) they have characters and love some of their dolls but there are many that go unknown (exception would be like a doll that's a gift or some kind of special doll that is just kept on display or something)
      One thing that's also hard for me to grasp is doll collectors that keep their dolls in their boxes, and at times I do see this as hoarding from my perspective. I understand keeping it away from elements is important and want to keep the doll looking nice, but for me I just fail to understand the enjoyment of having a doll when it's in a box forever. And at times I can see it is "just wanting to have" which to me comes off as a hoarding instinct.

      Have you been accused of being a doll hoarder, or possibly even thought you may be? and on what grounds?

      I have been accused of hoarding, but only ever by one person (who I believe is ... psychologically compromised[?])
      on the grounds that (This is what she sees, not necessarily what is truth)
      A) I have several dolls and constantly have new ones
      B) they take over a room in my home and
      C) the amount of money I've invested in this hobby is creeping on $7K


      For my personal story, I have a mother with mild OCD who is constantly horrified by the amount of dolls I own (14, including 7 SDs) and how my bedroom in my apartment is mostly a dedicated space to the dolls. After her recent addiction to "Hoarders: Burried Alive" over the summer, she has expressed growing concern with my "hoarding"
      I have sets of storage drawers to hold clothing, a rather large shelving unit to hold my dolls, a corner where my doll furniture is laid out (sometimes organized into a room, other times just stuffed there), and then another corner for sewing with a desk and another shelving unit packed with fabric. (I'd like to point out that 90% of my sewing is for the dolls) and between that all that can fit is my bed sandwiched in another corner.

      So my bedroom has been pretty much, as far as space, surrendered to my dolls. But I live by myself in an apartment. I don't need my bedroom aside from sleeping and it keeps my dolls away from people coming in and out of my house (more so so people won't be creeped out by them, rather than anyone hurting my dolls)
      I'm only ever really in my bedroom to sleep - and that's before I started building a doll oasis in there.

      But having 14 dolls that when all sitting together do take up a shocking amount of space, and having almost a constant stream of dolls coming in and out (and more seeing the coming in as I always post news of new dolls but not so much one's going out) as I keep testing different molds out for different characters, and the fact that I am a cluttered and a set for a photoshoot may sit out for days before I put it away, or my dolls may sit wigless or head less for days and look un-cared for.
      I Can see how it can, at a first glance, look like I'm hoarding. But in reality, I have never compromised my living if anything, I live better than most people my age I know, affording to live by myself in a very nice apartment given that I'm a senior in college still.
      And I do generally keep my dolls in great condition (by the standards of what I'll call "my type collectors"[those who's dolls are toys for photography purposes]) and if I'm not doing anything with a doll then I am quick to resell it.
    2. I am a senior citizen, have been collecting all kinds of dolls for years. My grown children are aghast at the number of dolls I own, and one son in particular has called me a "hoarder", and nags at me all the time about getting rid of "s---"! I've been widowed twice, live alone with my two cats and my dolls.
      I fully realize that my 50+ year collection needs to be thinned, but I am NOT getting rid of any of my resin dolls! I think my son is afraid I'm spending "his inheritance" of resin dolls. Hah! If he keeps ragging on me, he will be absolutely correct!
      • x 1
    3. I am under the age of 20, I haven't been called a hoarder by anyone. I only have 16 dolls and have been collecting them since late 2007. I wonder if I have a large collection, but I know other members on this forum have more than I do and are happy with them, so my happiness/self confidence shouldn't depend on how many dolls I have. I don't think many doll collectors are hoarders.

      I think if the amount of dolls owned is greater than the space owned and you have to resort to hiding dolls in boxes, then there is a problem. I can keep my room looking great and still have tons of room for my dolls so I don't have any problems yet.
    4. I think that it moves from 'collecting' to 'hoarding' when you no longer have room to display your dolls so that others can see the collection, and instead just have stacks of boxes, filling 1 or more rooms in a home. My current collection is just over 20 dolls (honestly, I don't keep full track of the numbers, and have to go count them to be sure) in my BJD collection, with about 70 planned, as I want to do photo stories, and need the core characters for each story. I'm looking at possibly cutting that final 'wish list' down by 10-15 dolls, as I'm unsure if one set of planned dolls is worth having ALL of them, instead of just the ones that mean the most to me. But I also live in a house, and plan in the next 2-3 years to be in a larger one, where I can have the space I need to display them all. If I run out of display space before my collection is complete, then I'm out of space, and no more come in without some going out.

      A collection is something people often want to share with others. Something that you want other people to see, at the least, other people who share the same interest. A hoard, in the case of hoarding, is something most people are ashamed to show to others, and hide away. It contains so much stuff, and fills so much space that it is unhealthy, and dangerous, making large portions of a living space un-usable.

      Now...I know that 70 dolls sounds like a LOT...but I also grew up with a grandmother who collected porcelain and baby dolls. I don't know how many she had by the time she passed 10 years ago, and many of them are gone now. But it was a LOT. Yet, it never looked like a 'hoard'. She had them displayed in her formal living room, and the guest bedroom. They all had their spaces, their places, and looked like a nicely displayed, if large, collection. Almost like a museum collection, only in her home. I hope that my own collection will one day look the same, in a home where I can dedicate a room to my dolls being on display, or a shared room that has my dolls on display, as well as my and my husband's library collection. A more 'formal' looking room, that while inviting one to curl up in a comfortable chair with a book, also gives the feel that the 'toys' contained there are not to be played with in the traditional sense. As for all their stuff...well, that will go in the same room (or exterior shed) as all of my crafting, art, and sewing things. And again...once out of space to store everything safely, nothing new comes in unless something old goes out, or is used up.
    5. I'm not sure how to answer this. As I know of hoarding, it seems to be about multiple things. 1) about acquiring things and continually acquiring things with no regards to finances or space, 2) holding on to everything regardless of use, need, and space, and 3) the inability to organize because it's all too overwhelming. I figure as long as you don't walk into my house and immediately trip over 50 boxes full of dolls I don't know the name of and didn't even realize I had than I still have a mere "collection". I only have 5 so far but I keep them out and clean and dressed and I dote on them. I even plan to get a bookcase to display them properly along with the other dolls I plan on getting.

      In my opinion, hoarding of BJDs would be similar to a couple doll ladies I saw on "Hoarders". They literally had PILES of dolls everywhere and didn't even realize they had HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of dolls because they bought them, received them, and just stuck them in a corner. I figure as long as you aren't doing that, as long as you are somehow maintaining your dolls in a matter you see fit, that you aren't hoarding, you're collecting. If you put thought into the dolls you get, don't buy them when you have actual financial obligations, don't neglect them in gigantic piles all over your house than you're just fine.

      Now, do I worry I'll BECOME a doll hoarder? Sometimes. Hence why I make sure to really love a doll before I get it and make sure not to go with my first instincts of "I WANT I WANT!". My mother was what one would consider a hoarder and she passed that instinct to me. Only when I moved out was I able to start letting things go. But, every now and then, I have to really force myself to get rid of something or to not buy something because I just don't need it. Hopefully, when it comes to dolls, the price will keep me sober. I don't have a ton of money so I'm hoping that keeps me grounded. So far, so good. Yeah, I have a lot of dolls coming in but, honestly? I put thought into each one and passed up over 20 I almost bought. So, yeah. :D
    6. I think if someone is a hoarder then the very first doll they buy will be part of that trend. They won't have necessarily started with dolls either, because the compulsion to hoard things will take lots of different forms over the years.

      Buying a bunch of BJDs and feeling a bit guilty about the money you have spent on your hobby doesn't make you a hoarder, to my mind - it just means that you are trying to keep a handle on your spending. Of course, if while reading this you look up from your keyboard and are being watched by a million tiny acrylic eyes.... maybe you do have a problem! ;)
    7. So far I have 11 full dolls, counting the ones that are on the way. 6 MSDs, 5 SDs. I have at least another 10 or so in various stages of planning. I'm in my thirties. I don't consider myself a hoarder. Why not? Because I enjoy my dolls, like showing them to friends who won't be creeped out by them, and keep them on display, usually neatly arranged. Things might be getting out of hand if I were to stay in my current apartment - it's pretty small, and I don't have much shelf space left - but soon I'm moving and will be adding two floor-to-ceiling bookcases as well as one smaller bookcase to my furnishings. My photo sets can be easily stored in a closet as I just use cardboard trifolds and various fabrics for backdrops, and a lot of the furniture and accessories I have will fit on my new shelves, which I plan to decorate as little rooms for the dolls. The boxes can be stacked in a closet and they do double duty as a place to store clothes.

      Arranging things like this is fun for me, and I don't feel a need to hide or disguise my collection. So I see it as collecting/displaying, not hoarding. I do have tendencies to amass large collections of things that I could be called "obsessed" with - I have lots of books and music too - but I enjoy organizing them and I use them. They aren't just amassed for the purpose of simply "having" them. And I make it a point not to spend money I don't have, so it hasn't become something that I'd consider damaging.
    8. from what I read, I am a BJD hoarder ._____. I never had more than 3 dolls at the same time.....because I kept selling them to get new ones. it was really just to have them. try them all? I didn't have enough money to keep them, because if I did I would def. be a hoarder!
      since I started "collecting" 2 years ago, about 8 dolls came and left my house (if I didn't forget anyone). for most of them I never took the time to buy them proper clothes or give them faceups :/
      most of them were impulse buys. one or two I just really didn't like them though :sweat
    9. I'm a 17 year old guy, and I don't consider myself a hoarder. I have sold some of my dolls when I needed money badly, and also if I just didn't end up liking them as much as I thought I would. I don't think my doll collection makes me 'sick' in the way that hoarding does, but I am definitely obsessed on some level. That being said, I don't think it really causes problems for me. I still go out, I still have other interests, I do well in school, ect.
    10. This is actually a presonal subject for me. I've been called a hoarder by some many people it's jsut got to the point that it hurts my feelings. I'm 17. =.=

      My teacher once had a mini speach infront of my tutor class about how she can imagine me old and in my house stacked full of stuff, me not willing to throw anything out. She said it in a "sweet" way making it more insulting. My boyfriend, was just blunt and kept going you're a hoarder you're definately a hoarder about me to my mum =.=

      I will admit I have an obsession with the dolls but I wouldn't call it hoarding, all of them have names and characters(9 of em). I will admit I used to hoard fabric as to me any scrap was useful for something and to be honest I didn't regret keeping it.

      Also I think an aspect of hoarding is disorganisation (as with my fabrics) just piled up and lumped, where as my dolls are always organised and neat. (Maybe my excessive mess induces the hoarding name calling, :P or my attitude of not being wasteful >< )
    11. I don't think you can call it "hoarding" unless you include the psychological dysfunction that comes with it. It is not a matter of just having a lot of stuff, there is a mental illness component. The accumulation of stuff makes the person's life difficult to live in a healthy and functional way. It is usually bad enough to pose risk to the building's occupants like garbage, vermin, no way to receive emergency help due to blocked doorways, etc. Also, a hoarder does not just hoard one type of thing, everything is hoarded. Everything has an emotional connection that most people would not have to objects, from bags of garbage to old outgrown clothing to things of actual value. Many times there are other OCD issues like compulsive shopping.

      I don't see how just having a bunch of dolls and craft supplies = hoarding.
    12. collecting is NOT hoarding in the same way that drinking isn't alcoholism. There is no set extent for all people it's a person to person basis.

      If you have 20 drinks a week but it doesn't negatively affect your health, finances or social interaction, then you're good. If you have 10 drinks a week, get alcohol poisoning, and it messes with other factors in your life then guess what? you have a disorder. but, it's the same if you have only one drink a night. If it causes problems or dependence in your life, it's a disorder.

      If you have 35 dolls, your house is packed but you deal with it and it causes no financial/health/stress/social issues. You're a collector and you're perfectly well. As long as the only problems coming from your collecting are other people hassling about what isn't their business, you're good. ;)
    13. I'd only call it hoarding when it gets to the point that the owner is spending money that they can't afford to spend and when having too many (or any) dolls getting in the way of functioning normally (e.g. not eating, sleeping, etc.), placing the dolls over the welfare of your family/children, etc.

      I say if you can own dolls responsibly - even if you have 100 of them! It's not hoarding, it's collecting. Only when it is done irresponsibly do I consider it hoarding.
    14. Seconding Idrisfynn!

      Things are rarely so easy to label and define. Even if I had 35 dolls, I wouldn't necessarily be a hoarder (and I can easily see myself achieving that many XD). Mental health is something that must be taken into consideration.
      I love my dolls- I have a strong sentimental attachment to them- that said, if I needed money in a hurry, I'd sell 'em. My love of my dolls wouldn't inhibit me in the other aspects of my life that I feel are more important.

      For anything else, the old adage is pretty much right on the money: Everything in moderation.
    15. It's my understanding that you can hoard different things specifically, hoarders often times do have collections (cars, newspapers, dolls, every scrap of their childs lives, crafting supplies) this ties in with compulsive shopping. Some hoarders compulsively buy shoes, or furniture, or animals even.
      When that starts overflowing it starts to affect the rest of your home. When you can't eat at your table anymore because it's a dedicated place for doll box storage, when you can't use your bathroom anymore because you've piled it high with boxes of fabric.
      from there clutter begins to pile as you can't function, you don't have places to put things because your collections are taking over not only your space but your mind, and you neglect to take care of the rest of your house causes the mass amounts of now unrelated clutter ontop of the hoarded "collections"

      that's how I see "having a bunch of supplies and dolls" can eventually turn into hoarding
      Which I would then call "doll hoarding" because it's the dolls and their related things causing the compromise of your living.

      But my examples are also extreme cases.

      My mother argues up and down that my room is now "unusable" and it's my hoarding "location" (much like hoarders who hoard things in sheds and storage unites. The facts that all my friends are doll people, that my main artistic outlet is doll photograph and I dont have much desire to photograph anything else.
      can be seen as an obsession and then the amount of space they take up can be seen as a hoard. I'ts not necessarily JUST the dolls. It's the doll boxes, the fabric, the props, the furniture - that can be seen to someone who wants to see it as hoarding as just keep stuff.
      To us it makes sense to have 20 pairs of option hands when half of the left hands are the same (dolfie dream hands are like this) but to those on the outside, I think they can easily say "get rid of the doubles - you're hoarding"

      Does that make sense?
      it's not necessarily diagnosed that I was getting at in my own case, but I think many people that have large collections of whatever have easily been assumed a hoarder. because of the broad assumption that "lots of stuff = hoard"

      so you are right, in saying that just having a collection of "stuff" doesn't make you a hoarder. But it can if that collection effects function.
    16. I think "hoarding" is when you have a collection that you lose control of--so much that you don't know what all is there and trying to organize it is overwhelming. I hoard books, for example. I try to cull, but they just breed or something. ;)

      Dolls? No. I have a place set aside for them, their clothes and wigs are organized, and I can find things quickly.

      re: the box thing--I do keep mine in boxes most of the time. We have cats. Cats can be destructive. I learned that lesson with my books! So, the dolls only come out of their boxes when needed.
    17. Thank you! Having family members of my own who have OC disorders and having inlaws who are very much hoarders, (in every concieveable clinical, mentally ill sense of the word), it REALLY bothers me when people toss the word around in this hobby without actually knowing what it truly means to be a hoarder.
      Hoarding is very much tied to a mental condition that ruins lives, tears families apart and makes day to day life a living hell for the people who are suffering from it. And having a large collection of anything, in and of itself, does not a hoarder make.
    18. and that's what we're getting at here. :)
      when do you start to ruin lives?

      In my case my mother hates my dolls, she hates the hobby, she thinks they're too much money. She continues to push me away because she's disgusted that doing this.
      She see's it as hoarding.
      She can argue that it's affecting my relationships because "I'm pushing her away" (by not listening to what she requests even though I'm 22 o_0)
      She sees it a serious problem that almost all my friends are doll owners. *points up to my post before for more on this*

      Do I think it's ruining my life? No.
      I know it's not. *points back up to OP for more on my life*
    19. I do have a lot of dolls, but they have a dedicated space, and when I realize a doll isn't working for me I sell it. I do keep most of them in boxes because, as Reynardine says: "cats". I have one cat that is a nose biter, so the dolls stay in their boxes, or a cupboard or drawer if I am working with them. On the other hand, I have had to purge fabric every few years because the fabric stash gets totally out of hand in tupperware and then I have to pass it along. I just like buying it more than sewing with it ;)
    20. This is beautifully put.

      I have a cluttered house.

      A friend of mine, however, grew up with an actual hoarder mother. As much as I may joke that my house is the collections and art supplies all holding hands, I remember the day she brought me over to her mother's house.

      The difference was night and day.

      Even with the lights on, it was nearly impossible to tell, because the piles of boxes and random things stacked in the foyer were so high it quite literally blocked the light from reaching the floor. The floor which was covered in a thin layer of dirt, because it was simply not possible to vacuum through the narrow channels between the boxes, and there was no access to outlets to plug the vacuum cleaner in. Stepping over the threshold, I glanced down and saw the glint of a steak knife just laying on the floor right there, poking out from beneath a stack of mail.

      Clutter, or even large collections, simply are not the same thing.

      Especially since that series began to air, this accusation has been tossed around far more liberally than ever it should, principally to shame people into changing perfectly normal and healthy hobbies or habits simply because someone doesn't understand it or approve of it or share the interest. I can only begin to guess what my friend's life was like growing up in that house. I can't help but feel for her when I see the improper use of this accusation, because it grossly trivializes her experience and those of people like her.