Friday, May 2, 2014

The pull of the purge

Here's an updated photo of my binder bookshelves.

I can't even fit all of them into one frame anymore. As of this writing, I have a grand total of 72 different binders in my room. And that's not even counting all the multi-team, non-baseball, and other miscellaneous cardboard I have in snap cases.

Call me Captain Obvious, but that's a lot of cards. I honestly don't know how how I've managed to accumulate 72 binders during my time in the hobby.

I'll admit, I sometimes wonder if I've taken this whole collecting thing too far. The thought seems to continually cross my mind whenever I read about someone purging their own collection.

Purging is basically "trimming the fat" when it comes to cardboard. Ever collector has probably asked themselves whether they really need this card or that card at some point. Purging is getting rid of those pieces that don't serve a real purpose.

When I see the thousands and thousands of cards in my room, I can't help but ask that simple question.

Could purging help my collection?

I could certainly stand to purge some of my spares.

I have quite a few of these kinds of boxes strewn across my room. And, unfortunately, very few are organized as neatly as this one.

I've accumulated a decent amount of extras from pack busts, trade packages, and sometimes mistakenly buying doubles at card shows over the years. I've done my best to send as many of my spares to collectors who might appreciate them, but I still have a long way to go.

Donating could be an option if I could find a local organization willing to take them off my hands. If that isn't a possibility, I'm sure others would recommend simply throwing some of them out.

But, no matter how hard I try, I just can't bring myself to toss a baseball card in the trash. Not even a 1990 Topps Jose Canseco.

This is why I wouldn't mind setting up at a few local flea markets sometime this summer. Hopefully, I could make a few bucks while helping clear some room around here. Plus, I could help build someone else's treasured collection.

It'd be a win-win-win.

Then again, it's easy to purge cards you don't want in the first place.

Getting rid of "keepers", on the other hand, is an entirely different story. That's what a true purge really is.

Lately, I've been pondering selling off a few of my autograph and/or memorabilia cards. As you might guess, they're not really a hot topic in my collection anymore.

I can appreciate the fact that I once appreciated them, but they don't serve much of a purpose with my dime box mentality nowadays. 

I've decided to try and sell off a few and see if I can make a couple bucks this summer. If things go well, then I might get rid of a few more. And then a few more.

Only time will tell.

I keep flashing forward to a time when I finally have my own place.

Whether I move in with a girlfriend/wife or by myself, it'll be a challenge moving my collection from one point to another. Of course, I'd have to find another way to store them as well.

This is when the pull of the purge seems to be the strongest. 

From the outside in, my dozens and dozens of "bat barrel" cards might seem a bit silly. My mini-collections as a whole represent a good fraction of my binders.

That's when the inevitable question comes.

Do I really need all those mini-collections?

Player collections are basically a glorified method of accumulation.

As of right now, I own over 250 different cards of Aubrey Huff. But I couldn't tell you where and when I found every single one.

I often wonder whether purging huge player collections like these to a smaller number would help things out a bit.

Do I really need 250 Aubrey Huff cards?

Whenever I start feeling the need to purge, though, it doesn't take long for the saner side of my conscience to take over again.

Of course you need all those Aubrey Huff cards, stupid.

They're part of what make my collection so special. 

I understand why other people have succumbed to the purge.

Sometimes the hobby can be overwhelming. It's hard to keep up with too many different collections at once.

But it's just not for me.

The way I see it, collecting isn't a race. That's why I have so many different collections. I'm at no liberty to focus on any specific one at any given time.

Besides, once a card is in my binders, it's almost impossible for me to let it go. Even if I wanted to, I honestly don't think I could purge at this point. It'd be too hard.

It might sound strange to someone who doesn't collect, but I get attached to my cardboard. Even the dullest, most generic Aubrey Huff card in my binders is sacred to me.

The next time I dig through my Vladimir Guerrero collection, I'm sure that thought will pop up again.

Do I really need all 650 of these Vlads?

That's when the answer will come back.


I do.


Cardhobbyist said...

It's tough to do but I am glad I did a purge a couple of years back. My purge wasn't just a few cards either as I gave away my entire collection to a young family member. Granted, nothing I gave away was irreplaceable but it gave me a clean slate and I became a more focused collector afterwards.

Hackenbush said...

My blog is called "can't have too many cards" but sometimes I do say "I have too many cards". Maybe after you've moved a few times you may change your mind. Or maybe not.

petethan said...

I'm into purging, say, twelve of the thirteen 1989 Donruss George Bell's taking up space. But it's been since 1981 that I got rid of any card that I didn't already have at least two of. I might try it sometime, as a psychological experiment. But maybe not...

Tony L. said...

Purging is tough. I could never do it before I got back into the hobby earlier this year. But now, it's been a great thing to me to "purge" by shipping cards out to folks who want/need the cards for their collections.

I used to have those attachment issues, but then I got to the point where I bordered on hoarding.

Fuji said...

I've always had a hard time purging the collection, but there have been times I've been left with little choice. Financial woes. Lack of space. Accusations of being a hoarder. These are just three reasons that have crossed my path.

Corky said...

Since I returned to collecting in 1992 I have gone through a purge twice, once was when I was moving and I had to cut down everything I gave half of my collection to a young cousin, which he appreciated. The second time was just a mental snap and I got frustrated keeping thing organized and I wiped out probably 90% of my collection through trades, selling and donations. I kick myself over that one still.

If you do find that you want to clear out some duplicates or unwanted cards definitely go the sell or trade route first but if you get down to not sure how to get rid of the rest, donate them to a local children's hospital. Trust me, they appreciate any help and the kids love it especially if you include local teams or players.

JediJeff said...

"I have a grand total of 72 different binders in my room."


"Whether I move in with a girlfriend/wife or by myself, it'll be a challenge moving my collection from one point to another."

With 72 binders, unless she is a frigging saint, I am guessing 'myself'. :D

Mike said...

"No surrender" when it comes to co-habitating!....

Robert said...

If you started setting up at flea markets with all those spare cards that you own, you could become "dime box Nick" in a whole different way.

AdamE said...

If you go to purge a bunch of Red Sox check my want list. I may have some extra money in PayPal...

GCA said...

You've just got two bookshelves and some monster boxes? That's it?
I just obtained a second four foot wide by six foot high china cabinet to match the first one that I filled completely with white boxes. Then there's the wire shelf unit that's 4/5 full of them too. Not to mention the bookcase and two more rows of 15 binders each.
Oh and there's four monster boxes of tradeables in the other room, which are the only duplicates in any of it except for overlaps in sets and player collections.
All of which is topped by my friend who really is a card hoarder and has monsters in every closet in the house, plus pallets in the basement.
I'm not really mocking you, I'm just showing how we perceive our personal geek-meter readings as being higher until we meet someone who trumps us.

Unknown said...

LOL, Mike and GCA!

I fear the purge like I fear water building up in the basement...