Collecting vs Hoarding LEGO

In the past year, I’ve talked about how I have gotten rid of most of my LEGO. Today I want to discuss the distinction between collecting, and HOARDING, LEGO. I tend to follow a few online LEGO message boards, such as the good folks over at Brickset Forum. One of the nice benefits of being active here is that you are notified immediately of discounts and sales on LEGO. What can easily happen in this process is that you find deals too hard to pass up. For instance: a set that is about to retire for 50% off, or a favorite set at an incredible discount.

With LEGO producing hundreds of sets each year – many of them very impressive – it is hard to put limits on a collection. And that really is what I feel defines a “collection” from just “hoarding” – LIMITS.

As I bought more and more LEGO in the past few years, I found it stressful to figure out how to store it all, dust it, and often felt overwhelmed with decisions to either pass up amazing deals, or somehow try to justify buying FOUR LEGO Death Stars because I found such a great deal.

Now that the bulk of my LEGO is gone, I have begun collecting again. For now, this is the limits of my collection:

  1. Modular buildings
  2. Super Hero minifigs

These two categories should comprise 70-80% of the LEGO I own, if not more. Clearly, there will be some exceptions, but the goal is to keep them very small. Things such as:

  • Small sets such as Back to the Future or Ghostbusters
  • Minifigs I really like and just want to pick up for fun, such as Star Wars or Simpsons. Not huge collections, just select figures
  • Classic sets I love, and already own. For instance, I have a built Emerald Night that I really like, plus a box of vintage castle sets with their boxes. Sure, I may get rid of them, but I may also try to find a way to display them.

Which brings me to the other thing that should define a COLLECTION from a HOARD: display. I want to be able to display all LEGO I own. If I have to shove it into the attic, then what good is owning that LEGO doing for me? For instance, I own all of the last series of Harry Potter sets still sealed in the boxes. I love that line, and really like owning them. But… they are in a storage box where I can’t see them. And I don’t have room to display them. So what good is owning them? So I’ll likely get rid of them.

Here is a video where one toy collector talks about the distinction of collecting vs hoarding: