I have OCD, ie…having a tendency towards excessive orderliness, perfectionism, and great attention to detail or more generally a fixation on things being where I expect them to be…at all times…you should also read that as control. I like to have control of things. Not to a “Sleeping with the Enemy” level, I’m no psycho.
When I don’t have control of my environment I can get rattled or frazzled. Thrown off kilter to a point where I can’t manage the task at hand and I need to step away, take a breath or a walk, move on to something else…or just take a nap. Yeah. That’s a defeatist perspective, but that’s how my brain works.
I’ve tried to rewire it, but to no avail.
I’ve read books on how to let go of things, but to no avail.
I’ve discussed letting go of things beyond my control with professionals, but to no avail.
Honestly, I don’t really care. I like it. It’s a daily challenge, but something I’m up for. The issue is that most of the world around me doesn’t let me work in this format. I work in an office where you collaborate or die, inclusivity is critical and unilateral decisions aren’t allowed…even if the unilateral decision is the correct one…or so I think. Maybe it’s for the better? Who knows? What I do know is that the world I live in needs to be shared with the people that accompany it with me on a daily basis, and that’s ok. Just as long as I have my cards. I can control those. I can make unilateral decisions and abandon or start a project on a whim. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
My cards and my card space are the one thing that I’m able to control (…mostly…), and I like that. It brings me great joy. As I’ve mentioned in the past and quite recently, my card space is my respite. My place to get away. There are no windows and it can be cold. It is also a bit dark, read cozy.
The lack of windows are excellent on these mid to late winter days in the Pacific Northwest as it’s mostly dark and gray outside anyways…plus the cards don’t need vitamin D. It’s bad for them, well UV rays are bad for the cards. I’m sure they could benefit from some sort of nutrients.
The cold, on the other hand…that has a remedy. I have an electric gas fire place right next to me that I can turn on or off as needed. There are two problem with this though. It gets really, really, really hot after five minutes and one of our cats LOVES it. Loves it so much that he tends to get a little pissy when I turn it off to cool down a bit. Sometimes, the pissy-ness leads to him jumping on my table and messing up my current stack of work. Freakin’ cats man…
So, how did I get a card room you ask? Well, a few years ago our basement was a mess. A transitional purgatory of sorts. The space became the in-between, where stuff we didn’t want to see in our main living space upstairs would go before it made its way to the garage. The next step being the final death march and the once loved items last trip to either Goodwill, the dump or some other location of no return. That all changed when our then 5 year old son needed the closet in his room for his things…so greedy!
Along with the sign off of my wife, I took over the basement. I moved in! All my cards and boxes were moved downstairs and it was great…excellent. Over the last 30+ months I’ve been fine tuning the space and have it at about 94% where I want it. I’m working on some more lighting in the space and re-allocation of storage areas.
So without further ado, here are some pics of where I write, open, sort, stack, sleeve, label and store my collection.
My Desk Area
Yeah, this is where the magic happens. Artifacts and remnants. Kinda goes against the OCD factor doesn’t it? Well, this was once a well curated shelf of memorabilia and odd ball items that I didn’t want to store away, but rather have for display. It’s gotten out of control a bit, but I’ve been working on other things and it’s ok with me. I kind of enjoy the randomness. When I did the wallet card post, I pulled them from this shelf and discovered so many things I had forgotten about…that’s kinda fun isn’t it?
So, about the desk. I picked that up at a resale furniture place we have on the central eastside called City Liquidators. I love that place so much, but not as much as I love this desk. It’s heavy as shit and really, really, really cool. Three long sliding drawings on the left side filled with penny sleeves, top loaders and mag holders. I like to have supplies ready to go and hate running out, especially when I’m in the middle of a project.
The desk also has these slide out supports for additional working space on the left and the right. I like to use the one on the right as the box holder that I’m working through. It keeps everything out of the way and tidy…clears up the main desk for working.
The side desk is also great. My wife had this in her office at one point, but decided she no longer needed it. I added the cutting mat and use this as my main sorting desk…it’s great to have all these spaces so close to each other as it reduced the getting up and moving around bit that slows down progress.
The room came with a shelf nook that I’ve taken over with Washington Redskins paraphernalia…bobble heads, signed mini helmets and some awesome art work from Gypsy Oak and personal heroes of mine – Lou Gehrig, Sammy Baugh, Muhammad Ali and Hank Aaron.
The Binder Shelves
The binder shelves were the real bonus of moving downstairs to the basement. Before I had all these cards in 600, 800 or 900 count boxes. That was a completely fine solution and I was ok with it, but the thing I love about the cards we all collect is seeing them. I’m not too fond of just owning it. I want to be able to see them. This allows for that. I’ve made these incredibly simple labels a few years ago that make me happy. All the binders (for now…1980’s-1990’s Donruss and Fleer coming soon…) are Topps and they show the year with the Topps company logo for the release, totals for the binder and a QR code that takes you to the Cardboard Collection set checklist for some additional information…I was really proud of that addition as it added a little extra. I’ve also added some “dust collection” binders on top for any update sets and other smaller sets. The bottom row houses my “ultimate Redskins collection”. That’s my biggest project.
Above the 1960 – 2005 shelves are the sealed factory sets from 1986 to present, yeah I like to buy those and keep ‘em. It all started with a Christmas gift in 1986 and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve also got three Redskins helmets of Alex Smith, Mark Rypien and Doug Williams…still looking for Joe Theismann to complete my Super Bowl winning Quarterback collection.
The next set of shelves covers 2006 – present as well as the Topps Heritage sets I’ve got. The 5000 count boxes above are all my common baseball cards organized by division and by team. Five rows works out nice until they expand…then these will need to be adjusted.
The armoir is the player PC home. This is where the Rickey Henderson and Derek Jeter cards live along with baseball and football stars. Removeable tabs to allow for adjustments…😊. I also keep my backup stash here and some other very random items that I’ve been working through over the COVID working from home era.
Below are two pull out drawers that hold the smaller player PC collection that includes; Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Bryce Harper, JT Riddle, Yankees cards, Robinson Cano, Steven Strasburg, Trea Turner along with a few other young stars from the Yankees and Nationals.
The bookshelves…another collection of mine. One that probably annoys my wife the most. I read quite a bit and really enjoy reading…just not enough to justify the amount of books I own. Have you ever seen that Twilight Zone where the guy just wants to read all day…that would be me, but also organize my cards. Unfortunately, my job gets in the way of that. This shelf also houses the tins from earlier this year…you know, prior to all this COVID insanity. Remember when these were a thing? Seems like three years ago now.
Moving down we have some flat files that houses my wifes photography (she’s professional photographer) as well as some of my other posters or large items that I have no wall display for. This is also my photographing station…the black box…along with a hat collection…jeez, I collect everything…
The Storage Room
Last stop on the insanity train…I’m realizing how nuts this is now that I’m writing about it…I hate to run out of supplies. I also have an issue with buying pairs of things. If my wife asks me to pick up a dozen eggs, she knows I’m coming home with twenty-four. No idea why I can’t control that…it just happens. Everything you see here is supplies. Supplies for shipping eBay stuff. Supplies for storing and protecting cards…just more stuff to hold all my stuff.
Since I only care about the Washington Football Team, I sell any football cards I get…this is where they live until I move them.
Here are some more back up supplies. If the box is empty, I store it upside down. If the box has foam core spacers in it, right side up. I have a system ya’ll
Lastly, some Project 2020 stuff that I’ll share once I’ve got everything in order. Some loved it, some hated it. I loved it and thought the cards were great in hand…coming soon!
So yeah, lots of stuff and lots of collecting going on here. I do have a problem, but more importantly I have a patient wife that allows me to do what I love. This keeps me sane and refreshes me when I need it most. I really hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of my space and would love to see what you all are working with. I know this has been done to no end before, but it’s always great to see how people are managing their collections and a great way to get some new ideas.
It’s 2021 and we’re still here. Alive and well. I hope this year is a wonderful year for every one of you out in the blogosphere. I missed you guys and glad to be back in the mix a bit. I have some plans for what I want to write about in ’21 and excited to share once that gets going. Thanks for reading and I’m happy that we’re all still standing…