Where It’s At! I Got Too Many Binders And Some Match Attax

Today’s post is going to, for no good reason at all, switch back and forth between the organization of my collection and a pack of cards I got at Target.

…Just because…

I’ll start with a trip I made to Target for some household goods. I’d seen a handful of comments online about cards starting to reappear on retail shelves, and I foolishly got my hopes up a little bit. As it turned out, the only thing different from the last time I was there was that the empty gravity feeders now include one for Stadium Club.

But I did want to open *something*, so I bought a single pack of 2019/20 Topps Champions League Match Attax… It’s at a relatively low price point ($1.59, I think), it’s something to open and with any luck I’ll find something one of my trading buddies might like.

Was my pack worth the HUGE investment I made? I’ll let you know…

…After I start talking about my binders.

The cover came off one of my binders the other day… It was a repurposed binder I got from a prior employer and it originally housed one of a library of manuals devoted to the IBM AS/400 midrange computing platform. The binder currently holds my 1978 Topps set, and the cover tearing off got me thinking about my many binders and how I’m going to find a place for all of them.

For much of 2020 I’ve been reorganizing my collection and plotting new shelving solutions for my binders. Right now in the office of Shlabotnik World Headquarters, my primary shelving is a freestanding bookcase against one wall. Inside a closet I’ve got old plastic shelving (originally from my sister’s college dorm room, and my sister is now well into her 50s), and a third set of “shelving” in the closet is really old baker’s rack (where not every binder I own can stand upright between the shelves). At random places around the room I’ve got 5 or 6 binders sitting in other places because there’s not currently any good place to put them. Many of the binders are 1″ or 2″ binders and there are over 90 binders housing part of my collection. The remaining cards are in boxes.

Back to my pack… the first card made it clear that my money wasn’t wasted. I don’t know much about international soccer, but I know Ronaldo. This is justification for the pack right there.

So generally speaking, the more I see the need to organize my cards, the more “I gotta get more binders!” pops in my head.  I try not to get too caught up in the idea of keeping my collection in monster boxes, because I never pull monster boxes out and look through them. There are there as storage, much like someone might rent a storage unit, put stuff in it and then completely forget about it. A lot of the cards in monster boxes are there because I don’t want to break up a set, or because I had designs on completing the set one of these days.

Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City. Wikipedia declares him to be “widely considered to be one of the best players in the world”, so… not too shabby, eh?

I’ve started going through my binders because I’ve realized that how I collected when I set up many of these binders is not the same way I collect now.  My mental organization has also changed, and I had a few instances of “Why would I put that card in this binder?”  While going through the binders, I’ve also come to realize how little I flip through some of these binders, and if I don’t flip through the binders I already have, it’s kind of hard to justify the belief that I need more binders and more 9-pocket sheets.

Jonathan Bamba (LOSC Lille)… LOSC Lille is a French club and LOSC stand for “Lille Olympique Sporting Club”… so calling them LOSC Lille seems a bit redundant, like “ATM Machine”, but anyway…

So my looking through my binders is resulting in a mental shift. Rather than “I need to find space for all the binders I’ve got plus the ones I’ll be getting because I’m going to need more binders”, I’m starting to think that maybe the real solution is right there in front of me: Instead of trying to figure out where to put all of these binders sitting on the table and propped up against the side of the bookshelf, I’m thinking I need to say “This is all the room I’ve got and all of the room I’m going to have”, and then figure out what’s important enough to put on those shelves.

Daniel Wass (Valencia)… Wikipedia says Wass is a “Danish professional footballer who plays as a utility player for Spanish club Valencia and the Danish national team”.

So it’s not like I’m limiting myself tremendously. The shelving I have will still fit a good number of binders  If I prioritize which binders are most important to me right now, and get those binders into the shelves, then I’m thinking that any binders which aren’t shelf-worthy need to be emptied out and the contents put into monster boxes… but while I’m doing that, I should also consider that if some subset of my collection isn’t binder-worthy, then maybe it’s not worth of being in my collection in the first place. I *am* trying to be a bit Marie Kondo-ish about my organizing. “Spark Joy” and so on.

Gold Limited Edition Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)… Wikipedia says that van Dijk captains the Netherlands national team and is “considered one of the best defenders in the world”.  Shane over at Shoebox Legends is a Liverpool supporter, so this is going to him.

I’ve bought enough packs of these cards over the past couple of years that it occurred to me that I probably have enough to play a game. From looking at a “How to play” video, though, it looks like it’s really a game for two players… So good news, you won’t be subjected to a “Learning to play Match Attax” post from me.

Final thoughts on the whole binder thing… I’m comfortable with the idea that limiting my binders is a good move, especially given the need to contain things in my “office”, but I’m also a bit apprehensive that this is just another collection-streamlining tactic which will get me just so far before I’m looking for new ways to bring order to chaos.  Maybe attacking the mess on multiple fronts is the only way I’m going to get it done.  If anyone has any thoughts about this, I’m all ears.

Beck’s song “Where It’s At” figured in to an early draft of this post far better than it does now, but I kept the title and the following video anyway.

6 thoughts on “Where It’s At! I Got Too Many Binders And Some Match Attax

  1. oh wow, i’d forgotten the line dancing in this video. it’s still funny. sorry to hear of the chaos in Shlabbyland. chaos needs space to be what it is. chaos is not mean to be contained. i too have tried to tame the disorganization. have you seen my contest? lol. losing candidates will still need a new home. i’m thinking last place gets the rest, or maybe they should take residence in Shlabotnik World Headquarters.

  2. I’m starting to get close to binder capacity in my room as well. I’ve had to move some stuff around to create any little nook or cranny I can squeeze a binder into, because I’ve long since filled the couple bookshelves I’ve been using for binders.

  3. You got a great pack here! Super late to the party as work has been insanity. Ronaldo, de Bruyne and van Dijk is one heck of a threesome to pull! As you know, I’m in much the same boat, been downsizing like crazy lately. FWIW I like your idea of “this is all the room I have, what do I want to keep?” ;-)

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