Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Organizing And Cleaning Up The RPG Collection

I've been working on cleaning up my RPG collection, and it's not always easy. Our games usually end at midnight, which mean I have the terrible habit of stuffing papers away into whatever books or folders are handy as I try to get ready to head home from the local gaming store.

So, once or twice a year, I like to clean out my bookshelves, which become a sort of placeholder area for all the half-finished maps and campaign notes I have during the year. Books get out of order, and at times I need to scour other bookshelves in the house to see precisely where my copy of Keep on the Borderlands or Lacuna ended up.

The reason I like to clean up my RPG bookshelves are that I like to make sure I haven't lost anything, like to rediscover session notes I thought were lost, and I like to have a clean reference space for my game and campaign writing. Here's a few of the bullet points I have this year as I clean things up:

-Pack away stuff I'm not using. A rule I started this year is that if I haven't cracked open the book in the past year, it's probably just taking up room right now. I have a nice, secure plastic tub to store these books away in.

-Use some folders. I have long had an accordion file for character sheets for the various systems I use. I've begun doing the same by game/system for my notes as well, and am making a conscious effort to file things away as soon as I get home from gaming

-Space for miniatures. I'm working on clearing an entire shelf where I can organize my paper minis and terrain. Right now, I have this all sort of bunched together in a bag, and I'd like to change that.

-Off To Half-Price Books With Ye. A number of games haven't been touched in the better part of a decade, and I doubt they ever will. I have some old Heroes Unlimited titles that fit this bill perfectly. I guess I'll see what I can get for them at the nearest discount bookstore chain.

-A spot for future expansion. As my RPG core rules purchasing slow down and turns to picking up accessories for the games I want to run/play, I need a spot for the Hirst molds, larger minis terrain, and plastic minis I'd like to pick up sometime in the future.

One thing that strikes me as I do this is how much smaller my physical RPG collection is from 3-4 years ago. A number of RPGs I own only via pdf now, and the number of games actually on my shelf is much smaller as I've come to the realization I have more games than I'll ever be able to play. My RPG collecting has become more deliberate, more measured, as reality and three kids dictate, and I've been left with a smaller, meaner, collection. But that collection has been refined through the fire, so to speak, and what's left is Grade-A gamer goodness.

I'm curious, do you ever do any "spring" or "fall" cleaning to your RPG collection?


Loquacious said...

My household is 4 gamers- one of whom is a FLGS owner. We did a regular purge about every 5 years or so until a couple years back. Now it's sped up a little. We also just moved, so more purging. And finding of old treasures.

Bonemaster said...

I've almost always self policed myself with gaming stuff. That's not to say I don't have a collection of stuff I like to keep. I do tend to either put stuff into deep storage or get rid of it, if I'm not going to be using it.

This is really true of old characters and the like. I know for some, these are old treasured memories. For me, if I'm not going ever play that character again, there seems little point in keeping all that extra paper. The same is true for my DM notes. I may keep some here and there, but I don't try to keep everything.

I guess one could blame my attitude on being the Navy and trying to Game. I only had some much room. Which of course meant if I wasn't using it, I couldn't justify the waste of space.

DNAphil said...

I don't do a spring cleaning, but I have a system like yours. My home office bookcase, I share with my wife and kids, so I have one shelf for any games that I am actively running or playing in. This way, I can get my hands on those books all the time.

In the basement, where I have my game room, I have another shelf of books that are games that I am not playing, but I like to reference, casually read, or might want to play in the future.

Then in the storage part of my basement, I have two large plastic tubs, where books that I don't think I will be playing (3.0 D&D, V:tM, etc) are stored away.

Every few months, or when a campaign changes, I start shuffling books from the active shelf to the basement shelf, and from the basement shelf to the boxes.

Hungry said...

I'm fortunate enough to have my very own 10x10 office where I have most of my stuff packed away neatly on four sets of bookshelves. I'm getting really tight on space, and may have to soon rubbermaid-tub some stuff for storage.

As far as cleaning and reorganizing goes, I only do that when I move, which is not very often and will probably not happen again very soon. I'm anal enough about how my things are organized that I can find the book(s) that I need in under 30 seconds and put them to use. It drives my wife batty because she can never find anything she needs in her various piles of paperwork that are scattered about the house.

mxyzplk said...

No way man! I have three 7' Ikea bookcases holding my collection. Send those puppies this way! I'm insatiable!

N. Wright said...

I can't bear to get rid of any of my books, not ever. Unless I don't like them, that is. Then I'll give them to Goodwill...

That said, I really don't have the space for a whole lot of new books. I don't really like pdfs that much, but they're cheaper and don't take up real-world space, which is good when you're one of three people in a two bedroom loft with 900 square feet.

rspellman said...

I hoard all gaming stuff, although as I get older, I start to think more about downsizing here and there. But there's that little voice that always says, "But you might run this some day!" (And in college, I sent a bunch of RPGs to my parents' house because I thought I wouldn't play those games. No sooner had they been ensconced in the attic than a fellow gamer said, "Hey, I think I want to play ." And it was back to the 'rents' house to dig that box out.

runeslinger said...

I am also a hoarder... but I am trying. I wrote a post on this topic last month(called Encumbrance and the GM), and I am glad to see that there are others out there with the same instincts and resultant "problems" to solve.

Beware Moisture and Shelf-Wear!

Tetsubo said...

My RPG collection (books & boxed sets) takes up some 60+ feet of shelf space. And I got rid of 90% of my 2E D&D books.