So I went through a phase where vintage hats were my thing. I didn't wear them (although I threatened to when I wanted to get my way lol), but I loved learning about them, collecting them, and finding creative uses for them. They had texture and interest and their quirkiness made me smile. I loved learning about the styles, embellishments, and fabrics of each decade.
Then came hatpins. I collected a few of those, too. Why? No idea. But I did, and I'll still pick one up if I find one stranded at a thrift store!
If you find something that interests you,-- wacky hats, stamps, coins, brooches, or anything else you dream up-- consider going all in and curating
your own collection. You can enjoy learning along the way as you find new unique objects and add them to your collection. The Internet has become such a great resource for researching everything from the history of things to maker's marks-- it's amazing what you can learn just from looking up items as you come across them.
But why though??
It's super satisfying to spot something unexpectedly for your personalized collection. Collecting actually has some surprising mental health benefits, too. Aside from potentially making some new buddies to share your interest with, discerning pieces for your collection increases both focus and memory. When you notice all the little details about something, you're exercising concentration and observational skills, while recall strengthens as you learn more about your interest.
When you commit to a hobby like collecting, you're also giving yourself the gifts of self-affirmation and relaxation. Stress relief is associated with putting time and focus into things, especially things that are of genuine interest to you. Your knowledge and interests are an authentic part of who you are. Nurture that by indulging in something fascinating to you.
A big consideration as you decide what to collect should be how much space you have available for storing your items. Maybe you have a wall you'd like to fill with porcelain plates or a small drawer that could hold doodads. The beauty of this is that you get to decide what you have room for before deciding on what and how much to collect. There will also be a natural stopping point to revisit your collection once you hit capacity. It's so much easier indulging a guilty pleasure when it's contained!
During my whirlwind vintage millinery phase, I decided to store my collection in a large hatbox. Once the box was full it was time to re-evaluate. Fortunately, right around that time I found someone who fell in love with the collection and purchased it from me (of course, I did keep a couple of my fancy faves along with my newly-discovered loads of useless hat knowledge).
Collecting mission: accomplished.