What’s the line between collecting and hoarding?  If you’re a collector, you’ll be in the Sunday supplement:  a personal profile accompanied by a photograph of you, surrounded by your collection and smiling as you hold a prize specimen (teddy bears or baseball gloves, it doesn’t matter). But if you’re a hoarder, you and your home become a subject for reality TV.

I cast my eyes around my living room and count the small brass bells I’ve arranged on each flat surface. I stop at 11 not because I can’t bear to continue, but because that’s all I have. Still, the bells have become a definite decorating feature. They’re “dust collectors,” my mother’s favorite word to disparage a no-longer-beloved tchotchke — or any decorative item she advised me against buying. Although I still dust them, I stopped polishing the bells long ago. Even so they look like a collection, and they… More…