Friday, June 9, 2017

Uniformity, Uniformity, Uniformity, Uni...

When I got back in card collecting with vigor earlier this year, I decided to make set-building a priority and vowed not to fall back into the bad habits that had hampered previous attempts to do so. Part of this was to make sure I kept things neat and orderly. I am a very... let's say "particular"... person by nature. I'm not a neat freak by any means, but I definitely have an "a place for everything and everything in its place" kinda thing that I feel compelled to abide by. For example, the first thing I do when I sit down at a restaurant is to rearrange everything on the table - salt and pepper, sugar tray, etc - into an order that I find unobtrusive and calming. Yeah, and I never even realized I was doing this until someone pointed it out to me. I have a feeling that a lot of collectors, card and otherwise, have some mild form of OCD. The fact that I spent several hours last week reordering the cards in my all-time Brewers binders (now arranged by year the player debuted with the Brewers and within each year by the total number of games in which they appeared as a Brewer!) and the fact that it BOTHERED me when they only arranged by year and had no ordering system within each year rings pretty clearly as an at least mildly-obsessive behavior. But I doubt anyone in the collecting community would think twice about doing something that. After all, if they aren't in a specific order for a specific reason, why not just keep them loose in a trash bag?

Which brings me ... maybe? ... to my point of this post. To keep myself motivated in set-building, I need to make the process orderly. I want to keep my sets bindered in 9-pocket pages. Pages are a big expense, but I've found that you can routinely find cheap (and almost new) binders at Goodwill. In previous attempts at set-building, I had no system to displaying the binders themselves. But I think I've solved this...

BEHOLD! My organization is organized! White 2.5 inch binders (the '75 binder might be 3) with the clear plastic coating that allows for the display of a sample card from the enclosed set! Having four binders done up like this have given me a weird sense of pride. I just stare at it sometimes as I walk past and imagine how cool it's gonna look when I add a fifth and a sixth and even more. I've purposely kept the end cards a pretty random assortment. For the '10 and '14 sets, they were the only extra cards I could find, so I didn't have much of a choice. For '74 and '75, I just grabbed a couple of cards with cool pictures. I'll keep this standard up for the rest, I think. Maybe the end cards will give me fodder for some future post. But for now, I'm just happy to be able to walk past my binders without feeling that twinge I get when I first sit down at a restaurant.

How do you label your binders? What kind of organizational obsessions do you have? And - OH MY GOD - What am I going to do about the update binders that are too skinny for an end card????? (sits in corner of room, rocking with legs pulled to chest)


  1. You should consider laying those binders on their sides for fear that the sheets inside will sag and cause the cards to curl.

    I'm that OCD.

    I label my binders with either the names of the player(s) in the binder or by manufacturer and years. Within each binder, I have a small slip of paper in each pocket to show what cards I don't have or the card itself if I have it. That way, I keep the cards for each set in numerical order....

  2. Hmmm ... looking for binders at Goodwill. That's a good idea. I may have to do that. As far as labeling goes, I'm beginning the process of reorganizing my cards (again) so the system I have now won't be valid much longer.

    1. They're almost always like new. .99-1.99 compared to $6 plus new.

  3. Scroll down about halfway thru this post and you'll see my vintage set binders. I have more particular rules for the labeling than the storage of the cards inside.

  4. Goodwill has contributed many a binder to my collection. Sorting and organizing my nine-pocket pages remains one of the most consistent thrills in the hobby for me. I could never just throw my cards into boxes, because what fun is that?

    Also, for some of my smaller binders, I use cards from the tiny Micro sets Topps and Donruss released in the early '90s. Not the most attractive cards, but they do the job.