This Summer I moved for the first time in 22 years. That's a long time, especially when the house you're moving from has ample storage. I don't recommend houses with ample storage, as it's likely you'll use it, and that's not doing you any favors. This is particularly true when your hobby requires big clunky boxes of different sizes to be kept over extended periods of time.
As you have probably deduced, the process of moving needed me to pull out all of my games from the old house and transport them to the new. Now, unlike all of you "game collectors" that have half a dozen Kalax units to store your titles in, my old house had two old bookshelves that I had pressed into the task. They were serviceable and nice pieces of furniture. Other games were kept in overflow locations due to insufficient space, odd shapes or the like. So when it came time to unload all my games (about 125 including the bits and pieces), move them, and then organize them in the new house it became apparent that I had a problem on my hands -- a lot of games that I have outgrown, games that have become redundant with my buddies' hoards, and games that just weren't good purchases in the first place. It also became apparent that I have had a lot of back-pressure to buying new titles because I'm out of storage. The first question I had to tackle whenever I saw something interesting was “where am I going to put it?” That’s no good. Some big changes needed to happen, and they did. The bloat needed to be managed.
The first challenge is that my game storage location in the new house is front and center in the family room, and the gaudy colors that publishers put on their boxes to catch your attention at the store were an eyesore in such a public space. A long rack of cheap shelving units that we had picked up from Target years ago became my new storage option and there is a fair bit of room in them that nicely accommodates the size of hobby game boxes. But there was a need to hide them, as most evenings members of my family would be sitting on a couch facing that heap to watch the TV perched on top of them. Games boxes is ugly boys and girls. So back to Target I went, to purchase square canvas buckets to drop the games into. The shelving units are cheap, the buckets are not, and a need to purchase ten more than we already had set me back $90. But the buckets are blissfully mild in color, and have provided me with an incentive to group like-games together as I can’t simply stand there and scan an entire wall looking for something in particular or look for something to catch my interest. If I’m looking for an engine-builder now I’m going to go to the upper left corner cubbies to pull a title because that’s where they are. To date I’ve only gone through looking for a particular game once. It worked fine with a few tugs on buckets until I found it. But I’ll be honest, the calm in the room with the visual glare of the game boxes hidden away is refreshing.
The new shelving solution midway through completion. Uncovered boxes on the right throw huge amounts of visual noise while games dropped in canvass "buckets" do not. Not the cheapest solution out there, but upon completion all games will be organized, clean in appearance, and readily available for a quick grab on the way out the door.
The second change that needed to happen was a lightening of the load. I want to fit in this space. My goal was to identify 20-30 titles that would go, and the local game shop offers cash for used games. My first pass was remarkably fruitful, identifying games with little angst that I could offer to my gaming buddies first and then move on for sale at the local place. I put them into two big stacks and sent a photos via email to the usual suspects, telling them to make claims on anything they wanted. Short deadline, dynamite prices. One of the games will be offered in exchange for a session of Angels 20 in an upcoming gaming night, another for $10. Four will deliver this evening, my first trip out to game night in months.
The first pass of the Great Unburdening. More will follow as I become more comfortable with the weight loss. Each has a reason for going, though there's a few I wouldn't mind seeing stay within my local group. Truth be told, if a buddy grabs one of them there will be two of us looking to justify the purchase, increasing the likelihood of it getting played.
A few of the games are still in their shrink wrap, games that I purchased with the best of intentions but have never been able to generate any interest in. Oh, and yeah, a cherry Dungeons and Dragons flat box from 1975 is on the top of the pile on the right. Got that one just a couple of years back. That was an impulse buy because it was the package that introduced me to role playing. Even has the original dice in it. I bought it because . . . uh . . . yeah. Can't justify that one at all.
I still have overflow because of games that are not the correct size or shape for my “storage solution”. (As an aside, it’s simply remarkable how hokey some of the terminology us gamers use. Anyone else would have said “shelves”.) So the top of one closet in the new house holds the monster flat box that is my copy of The Game of Life as well as PitchCar boxes, El Grande, Mechs & Minions, etc. Not too many and some were actually able to come out of there now that cubbies have freed up due to the sell-off. But all in all, I have enough space for all of my games in the cubicles I currently own, with a bit of room to buy new. SpaceCorp is inbound, but that’s all I have on the wish list to date and I find myself in a position to buy without feeling like I’m just adding onto the bloat for the first time in a few years. That’s a nice feeling, as I’ve let things coast by because I just felt like I was buying for the sake of buying. I feel like I can get excited about a game I haven’t played again. That part of the hobby is coming back to me with this revision in ownership, storage, and outlook.
I know people have talked about the optimal number of games in the past here, but for me I think I’m going to let the physical space call the tune. If it fits I can buy it, if not something needs to squirt out the other side.
There were games that I was on the fence with that could still go and likely will, and games that I have an emotional attachment for. They’re really serving no other purpose. My kids are grown so any game that they were enamored with as a kid that but don’t care about anymore really should go, especially ones that are easily replaceable. Memoir ’44 can go but I haven’t put it on the pile yet. Shadows Over Camelot can go. Carcassonne The City is an example of a game that I think is much superior to its namesake but it’s never played, so should go even though I’d like to have it out once or twice a year. It gets steamrolled by Scythe and Rising Sun and Terraforming Mars and other Bigs that more or less run the gaming sessions that I try to get to once a week. So there’s fodder for continued removal, giving me opportunity to acquire new games as my tastes change or something just happens to catch my eye. And with a calmer, more aesthetically pleasing storage location I don’t have to hide things in the basement anymore. All in all, I’ve brought a solid dose of ease to how I approach one of my main hobbies. A very fruitful transition for the soul.