I think this is a hilarious thread that I certainly can relate to. I think the distinctions between collecting, accumulating, and hoarding can sometimes be artificial. If you spend most of your time moving one pile of papers to gain access to another pile of papers then I think you might have a little bit of a problem—as I do. I also kept receipts, primarily for tax purposes, way longer than necessary because I could never get a clear answer from my account as to the "drop dead date" for auditing from the IRS. I also have collected medical journals over the years with an intriguing article or two that I have told myself I will read when I have the time, but that time never arrived. I used to bind issues of the NEJM at a time before the internet made saving this irrelevant.
On a nice day, when I am not working, the last thing I feel like doing is clearing out the clutter, even though I hate looking at it. I rarely buy books anymore although my reading has increased enormously. Pleasure books I get on digital loan from my library and read on my phone. Although I have an active interest in collectibles I rarely purchase anything anymore.
My wife and I are building a house; I suspect this will be a strong stimulus to seriously downsize. Although I am certainly no one to give advice by my actions, my brain which has thought this out for a long time prompts me to say: be brutally honest with yourself, if possible, as to what you actually need and what you don't really need but merely want. Even in the former category, you are probably saving too much.
If you go to a Rasdale Stamp Auction and start viewing the U.S. or worldwide accumlation section then you will undestand the term -----stamp hoarding . Have been looking thru lots for 45 years .
The first reaction is how can people keep stamps like that ! Many years I would be the first client to view the lots before everything is made worst by the stamp lot viewers .By the day of the auction everything is turned up side down or dumped into the boxes .
My grandmother was a bit of a hoarder. She lived to be 95 but her husband died in 1960. She was living alone for a very long time. She had a spare room with stacks of National Geographic and Time magazines up to my waist when I was a child. She also couldn't resist spending all her money on things that came as junk mail. Some offer from Readers Digest? I have to get it. When we went through her things (after she passed away) she had a bunch of unopened VHS tapes. I don't even think she knew you needed a 'player' to watch them. She was also a stamp collector but fell for the cheesy overpriced junk, not quality material. I'm talking $800 for a Princess Diana 'treasury' and things like that. I decided to take all of her stamps becasue no one else was interested. The rest is history. Her stuff only makes up about 10% of what I have now.
I consider myself a novice who actively informs himself on proper storage of a collection and areas of potential long-term interest. I learned how NOT to store stamps from my youngest brother's collection long-forgotten after his death 10 years ago. It had some pre-1940 stamps but all the stamps were affixed to a photo album with some adhesive to it. The majority of stamps were from the 1980's and early 1990's with only a very small premium (if not damaged by how they were stored). I kept a few (some of the Transportation coil stamps, a few with nice engraving/lithography) to start my own collection and gave some to international stamp collectors and used the rest. This got me into collecting.
So now I get the Vario sheet and place them in a sturdy binder with the intent of getting one of the nice three-ring stamp albums in the future to transfer the Vario stockpages. My collecting areas? Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express US Stamps, Non-Machinable Butterfly US stamps, commemorative mint sheet that I enjoy the artistry of the design and find its history interesting, and finally international stamps that do the same with a predilection for Austrian engraved stamps.
I am not a philatelist as I put more focused collecting energy into coins. With my coin collection I keep an inventory and set more specific goals (for example, collecting for the long-term the long short set of Walking Liberty halves in Uncirculated condition when I can afford so). Stamps I would say the only ones that are similar in focus are acquiring the Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express stamps and Non-Machinable Butterfly. But even here I do not pursue actively past issues but just try to get the newest releases. Of course, international stamps I will get older issues but again I am not looking for rarities, just stamps I find beautiful and with some fascinating history. I mean the most expensive stamps I have bought were a panel of 4 Priority MaiL 2021 stamps for about $35 direct from USPS. For international stamps , the most spent about $6 and I have my eye on a rather interesting Mongolian stamp from the 1950's a seller is offering for about $25.
If there is a category for one is happy to be an informed collector but not agressively seek just a high-value collection then I would be in that one.
The funny thing about stamps and coins is I had no interest in collecting them although my father and youngest brother did . Ten years after their deaths and dealing with their coin and stamp collections awoke my interest in it. However, I always hated having too much clutter (one of my good friends says I am a minimalist) but this interest in stamps and coins has awakened a desire to pursue a hobby I can enjoy well into old age and pass on to family, friends or an active and sincere stamp and coin club. If I make money off the stuff or break even, well that would be nice icing on the cake.