I’ve got about $8k in collections. But I’m finally in a position to start paying it off. Where should I even start?

I screwed up my credit when I was younger and have been struggling to come back from it (for lots of reasons not worth getting into.) Basically I’ve just been ignoring the debts in collections until I could get around to them, but staying on top of anything new. I now have a really good paying job and the financial stability to start paying off these old collections. I want to get rid of all of them and start fixing my credit to eventually buy a house for myself and my Fiancé.

What’s the best way to start this process? And what are some mistakes to avoid to not make my situation worse by reaching out to collections? Is it better to reach out to the original lender? Do I contact the collectors directly? Paying in full vs. settling? How do I even start tackling this?

I appreciate any insight and help. I really want to just pay back my stupid 18 year old self and put all this debt behind me.