Monday, June 23, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship with Collecting

Collections require some care and maintenance or else they're just hoards. If they aren't organized in such a way that they can be enjoyed or pieces found easily, you're in danger of being one of Those People they turn into zoo attractions on reality television. In our old house, we were pretty cramped but still had stuff, so it was pretty borderline there for a while. Now that we have the space to organize and display the things we love, there's the responsibility to maintain it. Since I'm the one who's home all day, and I'm the one who's a little obsessively completist, that task falls to me.

For the action figures, I maintain an inventory at DASH, which is more than just a database, there's also the ability to buy/sell/trade (I haven't done any of that myself, however). Sometimes I have to add a figure myself if no one else has yet, like the Justice League War Wonder Woman I got yesterday, so there are a few figures in my collection that aren't in the inventory database because I haven't added them yet. It's imperfect, but it's the best thing I've found so far.

For the libraries (main and children's*), I keep track of our collection with LibraryThing, which is an online database. It took a few months for me to get all the books put in (over three thousand), so now a trip to the bookstore means books go to my desk for entry first.

For the comic books, I purchased Comic Collector, from, which also has an app (not a stand-alone app, you have to have purchased the program first!) that runs on my phone so I can double-check the collection when I'm rummaging in the old comics bins. They have various versions to suit your needs, it runs on Macs or Windows computers, and I love it. The same company also has inventory software for games, music, movies and books. They run sales every once in a while, and it's tempting to get some of the others, but I have covered, our movie collection that extensive, and our music is just weird... Anyway, new comics are dealt with the same way new books are dealt with: they go to my desk first and are entered into the database, and then they are read.

Once all this reading material has been dutifully entered into the computer, it gets read, or goes into a pile to-be-read. Read books often end up in piles in the library, to-be-shelved. Read comics go into a box to be bagged, then once bagged into a box to be taken downstairs to be filed with the others. Since I am the one who's home, once again I am the sensible choice for being the one to shelve and file, put away and straighten... and I hate that part.

Right now, I am procrastinating from doing the laundry. I don't actually mind the sorting/washing/drying part. I loathe the folding/putting away part. And socks. I bloody well hate socks. So laundry goes upstairs to be folded on the guest bed, where it usually sits in a wrinkled heap until I guilt myself into dealing with it... usually about the time I have to do laundry again.

Months ago, I organized our comics. I got all of them entered into the database, put them all in order, put out a few accidental duplicates that I found, left room in the boxes for new comics to be filed... and since then, have taken down new comic, laid them on top of the lids of those boxes, or taken them down in other boxes and just left them there, waiting to be filed. *sigh* I hate filing. I don't mind data-entry, but filing is awful.

Part of the issue (ha!) is that when I take the boxes off the bottom shelves, I'm going to cause an action figure avalanche. Then I'm going to cause another one when I put them back. Every. Time. Having the boxes on the bottom shelves of the figure display is awesome, because the bottom shelf is no good for display (plus dog temptation risk), but I suspect that once I take all the comics we have right now and file them, we're going to have full boxes, with no room for more. That means a new home is needed, and soon. But that's a task to procrastinate another day...


* We turned the formal living room into a library, but there was no room for children's books. We bought a bunch of bookcases for the guest room, adjacent to our daughter's room, and put the kids books there.