Interesting topic! Living in Japan, I don't have to worry too much about my someone breaking into my apartment and having my collection getting jacked (or getting shot in a random place, or being a victim of a bomb, or...)
I have my stuff still in boxes on shelves 'cause I live in a kind of small apartment. I get mixed reactions when people see my collection depending on who it is. Most of the time, it's positive. Sometimes if it's a girl, "お金もったいない” (okane mottainai) "What a waste of money." Then I question them about how many pairs of shoes or how many clothes or bags they have and say it's the same thing. My gf doesn't mind my collecting at all...she finds it a little amusing. When I meet people for the first time, I don't mind saying that I love Macross and collect figures. I'm an English teacher and all my students know that I'm kind of an otaku. It's part of who I am, so why would I try to hide it?