In this guy's case, it truly is. He used to look forward to garbage day so he could drive around looking for stuff people had set out on the curb. He'd come in with stories about how he'd snagged some broken kid's toy or busted TV stand and be proud as a peacock.
I think a lot of that mentality started during the Depression, when "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" was the guiding principle. A lot of people who lived through that or were influenced by it just cannot accept that we're living in a time of plenty.
Some of the worst are farmers. If you drive by a farm and don't see at least one junked car and a rusting collection of worn-out machinery, then it's a cinch the guy hasn't been farming long.
I think the article does a good job of explaining it as a dementia.
. . . Damage in that brain area may make people lose control over their collecting. . . "Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and some other disorders, such as schizophrenia, Tourette's syndrome, and certain dementias can have similar pathological collecting behavior," says Anderson, in the news release.
What is really sad is when you see people who are aware of their illness, try to break it, but keep coming back to it -- losing family and friends along the way.
Me, I'd rather take somethin' old (and well made) and make it new again. A lot of the new stuff is junk right off the shelf, and expensive, too.
I collect stuff. Iron for weldin', wood for nailin', craft and design books, and ANYTHING concerning Indian (Native American) arts, crafts and history. I'm still trying to find info on old Indian tattoos.
I r Wiz an' got lots a 'stuff'. It's mine an' you can't have it, unless you ask real nice.