Not everyone collects things, but it's a common hobby enjoyed by many. Psychologists have long discussed why people feel compelled to collect. Carl Jung believed that collecting was an old human habit that dated back to the need to hunt and gather for survival. Others believe collecting might be a way to leave a lasting legacy, connect with something outside of oneself or master a certain type of topic.
You don't need to know why you collect if this is a personal hankering of yours. You simply know that you enjoy the hobby, and if it's not hurting you or anyone else, why not indulge a little?
Seniors downsizing into an assisted living apartment might believe that their days of collecting are over. While the apartments at Bethesda Gardens in Monument, CO, are spacious and comfortable, they're not meant to hold an entire library of books or a couple curio cabinets of china.
But that doesn't mean you can't continue collecting. It simply means you might need to evolve your collecting hobby to fit into your assisted living apartment. Here are five methods to try.
If you love books and reading, consider collecting your favorites in digital form instead of physical. All you need to get started is a device that you can read ebooks on. You can purchase a device specifically for this purpose, such as a Kindle ereader. Or, you can use an existing tablet, computer or smartphone.
If you're worried about the strain of reading on a backlit screen or you want something that's simple to operate, you might consider the Kindle Paperwhite. It's designed to feel more like reading from the pages of a book.
Once you have a device, you can get ebooks to read on it. You can buy ebooks from major online bookstores such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Often, ebooks are priced lower than their print counter parts, and Amazon offers free and bargain ebooks, which can cost only a dollar or two. That makes it less expensive to build your collection.
You can also check out ebooks from public libraries. The Pikes Peak Library District provides a wide variety of digital resources, including ebooks, that you can access with a library card.
Once you start building your digital library, you can carry all of your books with you wherever you go. That's something you can't do with a library of physical books!
If you don't like the idea of reading ebooks, consider collecting the memories of books instead of the actual books. You can buy and sell books at used bookstores and borrow books from the public library. Create an account at Goodreads.com, where you'll have a set of virtual shelves. You can add all the titles you've read to one shelf, leaving reviews and ratings for them if desired. You can even set up an annual reading challenge for yourself so you can try to read a certain number of books each year.
The same concepts hold true for collecting movies and music. You can buy these items in digital form and watch them on your computer or via streaming devices on your television. If you have a smart television, you don't even have to have a streaming device to access your media.
Make sure you understand when dealing with digital media whether you're streaming it, buying it or renting it. You can sign up for free and paid services, such as Spotify and Netflix, and get access to tens of thousands of movies, television shows, podcasts and songs. But you don't own those items. If the streaming service decides to stop carrying a certain title, then you won't have access to it anymore.
Use a digital camera or smartphone to collect pictures of a certain type of thing rather than collecting the thing itself. You might try to collect as many types of flowers as possible. Or, pick something more esoteric that you simply enjoy, such as pictures of recipes, hats or every shade of blue.
If tangible items are important to you, try collecting miniatures or small things. Buttons, coins, stamps, rocks and beads are all small items that are easy to store. You can easily keep buttons in mason jars on a shelf, for example, and they double as fun decor in your assisted living apartment. They also provide enjoyable texture and color experiences when you peruse them.
Try collecting items that can be stored in a scrapbook, such as paper clippings, dried flowers, stickers or photographs. Scrapbooking also lets you explore your own creativity, and you can enjoy time spent making pages with others in common areas of the assisted living community.