State Of The Streamlining? Purge? De-cluttering? (Weigh-In #69)

I’ve actively collected baseball cards every year since 1974 when I was a wee Shlabotnik.  There have been years I went nuts buying cards, there have been years where I cut way back on my acquisitions, but needless to say there’s never been a year like the one just passed.

For me it was sometimes hard but it wasn’t completely bad.  The sudden downturn in incoming cards allowed for the opportunity to look around my cluttered mess of a mancave and think about what I’m trying to do and where I’m going.

For the nine year’s I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve stated that I want to reduce the size of my collection.  Thing is, I’ve never had a straightforward plan for how to do that.  I’ll admit I envy those people who can make wholesale changes along the lines of “I’m going to get rid of everything but ________” or maybe “I’m ditching anything that was issued after I hit puberty”.

I do have some bits of strategy, though.

One thing I’ve decided on is that I’m sticking with the amount of shelf space that I currently have, and I’m not going to get any more binders than won’t fit in that space.  I can upgrade bindes or change binder size, but I can’t go on just adding binders.  There are binders I haven’t pulled out in years, and what’s the point of having binders if you never look at them?

I’ve also been pulling out some of those binders and realizing that “Hey, I haven’t looked at these binders in years and I didn’t miss a lot of these cards”.

I’ve also started using a variation on a decluttering technique.  They say that instead of going through your clothes in your closet and then going through the clothes in each drawer that you should instead pull all of your clothes out and then put them back, because that’s the only way you’ll realize that you have 527 concert t-shirts (or whatever).

I’ve discovered the same is true for card sets.  I might look at my 1991 Upper Deck cards and say “Well, I don’t collect Wade Boggs but the dude’s a HOFer so I’ll keep the card where it is”, and then later I look at 1991 Bowman and 1991 Leaf and 1991 Stadium Club and say the same thing each time.  It’s only when I pull out all of my 1991 cards and go through them as a whole that I realize “Holy crap, I’ve got seventeen 1991 cards of a guy I don’t collect!”

I’m doing this with a couple of years so far, most recently with 1991 (341 cards removed so far) and 2005 (721 after the first pass).  Not earth-shattering, but it does help me get rid of cards where I wouldn’t otherwise realize the redundancy in my collection.

So that’s what I’ve been doing… As for *how* I’ve been doing, let’s get into the “Weigh-In” numbers for the 4th quarter of 2020.  To visually spice things up I’ve added in some random cards I got at my last card show which, sadly, was a year ago this month.

So let’s kick things off as usual with my mission statement:  Posting updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection gives me a look at the big picture, keeps me honest and helps with motivation and/or guilt.

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 10/11/2020 to 1/5/2021):
Net change in the collection: -11 (779 added, 790 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: +684 (777 in, 93 out)

Having my collection reduced by 11 cards might not seem like much to you, but this was exciting to me. It’s the first time this number has gone down in a while.

Year-end numbers for 2020:
Net change in the collection: +279 (1,905 added, 1,626 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: +2,113 (2475 in, 362 out)

My “In/out of the house” numbers are stunted because it’s only showing cards sent out in trades and junk wax cards which have gone into the recycling. I normally give away cards at Halloween, but that didn’t happen this year. I didn’t send any cards to COMC because they suspended the cheap procesing option I normally use (I don’t sell many big $$$ cards). I also haven’t dropped any cards off at Goodwill because I just haven’t.

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 14,929
Net change to the collection, to date: +6,357

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 52,946
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -13,161

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 71,003
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 12,491

…which means I’ve got at least 83,494 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards:
This quarter (does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc): $66.54

This quarter’s spending consisted of a 2020 Topps Factory set and a handful of retail packs. Almost all of my hobby time has been spent organizing.

Average per month for 2020: $76.66
Average per month for 2019: $80.38
Average per month for 2018: $79.03
Average per month for 2017: $43.63
Average per month for 2016: $36.11

I didn’t track my spending before 2016.  The spending for the first two years is lower because there weren’t any card shows local to me at that time.

One thing that’s very telling about my spending this year… I spent more in the first quarter ($271.71 spent at two card shows and on still-available retail) than I did the whole rest of the year ($188.23)

Size of my MS Access card database:
I track my collection in a Microsoft Access database of my own creation. There’s quite a bit of work involved in keeping it up-to-date, so I like to satisfy my own curiosity by finding out how much information is currently in my database.

My database currently contains 981 set definitions (up 14 from the last weigh-in) and 244,564 card definitions (up 3,316 from the last weigh-in).

It’s important to point out that this is merely the number of sets and cards which are represented within my database; for example, although I have no cards from 1949 Bowman, that set represents 1 set definition and 240 card definitions.

6 thoughts on “State Of The Streamlining? Purge? De-cluttering? (Weigh-In #69)

  1. I love the comparison to pulling out all of your shirts and putting them back one by one to realize what you actually have and what you actually wear. I’m sort of doing the same thing with my collection. I’ve started going through 5,000ct. boxes and binders taking a visual inventory of what I have.

  2. Great work on condensing, and I also like your idea (like Fuji commented) of viewing all the cards from same year as a whole to make decisions easier. Been taking that same approach with my collection overall as you know, and it’s going very well. I enjoy these posts and find them inspiring!

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