Stuff vs. Space
Growing up, the concept of space didn’t really factor into my way of living. With my parent’s house as a repository, I bought what I wanted and held onto things for way longer than I probably should have. For instance, I stored a collection of a few dozen basketball shoes in my closet, hundreds of video games in the basement, and virtually all of my school work dating back to grade 6 under my bed. You know, in case I needed to refer to my school work someday in the real world.
Today, I’m challenged with a very different dilemma. While I don’t collect sneakers or homework anymore, they’ve been replaced with a large stash of comic books, board games and Amiibo figures. The video games are still here, albeit split in half as part of the “Great Divorce” my brother and I had when I moved out. Finally, my parent’s house has been replaced with Steff and I’s small condo. The stuff I have versus the space I have are at odds with each other and something has to give.
What won’t be changing is the amount of space we have. We like our place as is. Besides, with a wedding to pay for, the home of our dreams will have to wait a bit longer.
Instead, the approach I take to stuff has changed. With my video games, I’ve traded away dozens of them over the last year or so. Part of that is to squeeze a bit of money out of games I probably won’t play, but it’s also a means of freeing up valuable shelf space. After my most recent run, I can comfortably sit 16 more games on my video game shelf. With my overall gaming spending habits on the decline for numerous reasons, that latest round of trade-ins should make my current shelf situation last for another year or two.
For comics, selling off single issues and books has become a common practice as well. Once every few months, I’ll gather up a collection of single issues or books that I don’t feel like hanging onto and sell them off at my local book store. During my first year of comic reading, this stash grew at a brisk pace. Now that I’m largely caught up with what I want to read, I’m buying way less than I did before, which should also help a bit.
The trickiest challenge has been the board games. Most of the games take up a lot of space and even the best games don’t get used that often due to us trying to cycle through them all. For the games we want to get rid of, there’s no easy way to do so. Stores don’t take board game trade-ins, and I have no interest going through the hassle of brokering trades on Board Game Geek or selling games off through the likes of eBay or Kijiji. As such, my options are slim. So far, we’ve given away a few games to friends and simply donated a few really bad ones that we suspected that no one would want.
I think the best way forward in this regard is for me to be more selective. Early on, when I was just getting my feet wet, I bought almost everything that seemed mildly interesting to me that got good reviews. Now I try to take more things into account, such as whether a game I have in our collection does a similar thing or if the people I usually play with would have interest in it. Ever since last Christmas, I’ve slowed down quite a bit on purchasing games, so that’s certainly progress.
Amiibo figures are another weird challenge. The above picture is old, as I have about 30 of them now. They’re currently displayed on the same two shelves that hold my video game consoles, with old VHS tapes used as stands. I need to find a better way to display them without taking away their accessibility. Right now, it’s really handy to just reach up from where I’m playing games to snag an Amiibo and scan it. Eventually, I’m going to have to slow down on these things, as well as come up with a better way to store them that still makes them accessible for play.
I love having things, but like everyone else, I can’t have all of the things. Of late, space and storage has become a challenge. If you only have a finite space to hold stuff, you’re going to have to make some calls on what to keep and what to let go. What’s your process for keeping your stash manageable?