Saturday, December 22, 2012

The method to my madness

I've received quite a few nice emails during my tenure as a blogger.

Often time, they come in the form of trade proposals from readers or fellow members of the blogosphere.

Those always manage to put a smile on my face, as I'm not usually one to turn down a swap. Especially given how easy they are to complete around here.

The long, dragged out trading forum tactics are a thing of the past.

On occasion, I'll get an email from a reader saying how much they enjoy my writings.

Anyone who runs one of the many blogs in the blogosphere knows how awesome it is to get a compliment from a fellow collector.

They're a major part of what keeps me chugging along with this blogging thing on a daily basis.

Lately, though, I've been getting more and more emails from readers who have questions about me, my blog, or my collection.

To borrow the title of one of those recent emails I received, it's almost like my "fan mail", in a way.

While the amount of different questions I've fielded over the past year have been quite diverse, one seems to keep popping up on a regular basis.

Usually, it's something along the lines of...

"How do you organize your collection?"

This is something I actually discussed in the very first post on this blog.

I never tire of hearing how others store their respective collections. The organizational process is one of the best parts of being a collector.

At that same time, I never tire of talking about how I go about storing my cards.

I've been using this method for a few years now, and I couldn't be happier with it. Although the cards I post on this blog may seem quite random at times, I can assure you that I am not one of those Hoarders people.

My sorting method is pretty much to thank for that.

Trouble is, I have a hard time explaining the "process" with just words.

It'd be easier for me to simply show you.

So that's exactly what I'm going to do with this post.

But, for anyone with more questions, please keep 'em coming. I always enjoy answering my so-called "fan mail".

To start, I have self-labeled my organizational process as the "tiered" method.

You'll see why in a bit.

As I've mentioned many times before, I am a proud "binder guy". Nearly every single "keeper" card I own is stored in a trusty nine-pocket page within one of my 55 different binders.

One of those fifty-five binders contains my Hoyt Wilhelm collection, my printing plates, my autos, and my jersey cards. The autos/jerseys I own are separated between current and retired players.

I don't add to that one a whole lot anymore.

Another one of those contains my "defunct" cards, made up of all my Browns, Colt .45s, Pilots, and Senators cards. (The Expos get their own binder.)

Beginning with the Angels and ending with the Yankees, each of my other 53 binders are team-exclusive. Some of them are even divided into multiple sections.

Because they make up the very first binders on my bookshelf, I'll be focusing on my Angels cards to supplement my pointers here.

Over the years, I've had to split up my Halos issues into three different binders due to the sheer volume of cardboard. (Quick note: Try not to overfill your binders, kids.)

My third Angels binder has one of those cool, little "pockets" on the outside for easier identification. I use this extra Reggie Jackson card to ID my final grouping of Angels cards.

Sure, sorting by team isn't all that uncommon amongst collectors.

But here's where the process starts to get a bit tricky...

Within each team binder, I sort by the position of each player.

Depending on the league of the team, I have eight or nine different sections for each franchise.

In order, they go as such: Pitcher, catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, third base, outfield, DH, and any miscellaneous team cards.

Obviously, my NL cards don't have a "DH" section. 

Also, I don't sort by left, center, and right field. I tried that when I first started this method, but it got waaaay too messy and complicated.

Because of that, all outfielders are grouped together.

After the respective positions, I sort by player.

More specifically, I sort by the number of cards I own of each player.

The guys you see above all "lead" their respective positions. I own more cards of Jered Weaver than any other Angels pitcher, more of Mike Napoli of any other Angels catcher...and so on. 

My team cards are pretty much all over the place. They're not really sorted in any way. Thankfully, my "O.C.D." hasn't come into play with those...yet.

Chone Figgins represents a bit of a roadblock that can come with an organizational method such as this one.

Throughout his career, Figgins has been quite a versatile commodity. He shined at many different positions during his Angels days.

As a result, a nice chunk of my earlier cards of his list him as a second baseman. A few others picture him as an outfielder.

In situations like these, the majority rules. 

More of my Figgins cards list him at third base than any other position, so under the third base section he goes. It'd just be too much of a headache to grant him respective spots for his second base/outfield cards. 

Note: The only exception comes with Rick Ankiel in my Cardinals binder. Because of the uncommon pitcher/outfield split, he gets two different sections.

For a better understanding, let's take a deeper look into the pitchers' section of my Angels binder.

As I mentioned before, I own more cards of Jered Weaver than any other Angels pitcher.

My 101 different Angels issues of his kick off the binder.

Within each player section, my cards aren't all that organized. The only exception are the variant-type issues, as you can see with the Upper Deck/UD First Edition issues in the bottom two slots.

Those awesome "variations" are what keep my love for binders going each day.

After Weaver, it moves onto my 75 different Francisco Rodriguez Angels cards. After that, we have my 69 different Angels issues of Jim Abbott.

And then my 40 Nolan Ryans...

All the way down to the "single-digits".

Here, you see one of my three cards of Lou Burdette as an Angel. (The other two are located on the flip side of this page.)

Then, we have my three Luis Tiant Angels issues, one of the best subjects of my "unfamiliar uniform" collection.

After that, we have my two different Angels cards of Jason Isringhausen and Kevin Gregg.

And, finally, there's Zack Greinke, the lone "one-card wonder" of Angel pitchers.

His 2012 Topps Update card is the only one of his in my Angel binder to date.

From there, it moves on to the next position.

That's pretty much it.

So...did that make sense?

It can be a bit complex sometimes, I'll admit.

But, then again, that's what I love about it. I doubt there's another card collection in the world stored like mine.

To any of you contemplating on how to organize your cards, I can only offer one piece of advice.

Make it something that you'll enjoy.

In the end, that's all that matters.


chaplainandrews said...

Thank you for this great post on organizing!
One question: what if you get one more Tiant? Do you move the others down to make room, pushing the bottom to the next page...pushing them down as well?
Thank you again for a great post!

chaplainandrews said...

Thank you for this great post on organizing!
One question: what if you get one more Tiant? Do you move the others down to make room, pushing the bottom to the next page...pushing them down as well?
Thank you again for a great post!

Nick said...

Hey Keith,

What you said is pretty much what would happen if I were to get another Tiant.

I'd shift the Tiants past the Burdette and any other three-card Angels pitchers if I added a fourth. As you said, the others would move down.

My collection is continually "shifting" because of what you just mentioned. That's another reason I like this method so much.

Thanks for the kind words and glad you liked the post!

AdamE said...

You really don't organize the team cards even though you organize by team? You organize by team so shouldn't they bee the most important part of each binder? I would think you would put them in the front of the binder.