Through a series of previously mentioned unfortunate events with a very favourable outcome (known collectively as “moving”) I have ended up in a splendid new home, with much, much more room. This means adding at least one more full-size shelf to the display. This also meant boxing everyone up snug and secure for the trip. After battling to get the internet set up correctly in my new home, everything is — finally — back on track. I was ready to simply dive back into the boxes like a small child on Christmas morning (if that small child had personally selected each item under the tree) to set up my display again as well. That’s when I was stopped by something my wife had previously said.
Now, to say that my wife is an avid reader would be like saying Grimlock is an avid fan of war. Much like the Dinobot commander’s astonishing appetite for Decepticons; she consumes books at an insatiable, remarkable, almost inhumanly effective pace.
Unlike being a Transformers fan, it would be literally (literarily? ha!) impossible for a person with a book collection but without unlimited space to be a completionist. So how does she keep it from getting overwhelmingly unwieldy?
“I like to think that I curate my collection.”
This was the thing that she said that stopped me from simply throwing my display back up. She does curate her collection. She chooses what books are purchased and make it into the collection or what is read on the Kindle — and joins the digital collection — versus what is borrowed and read or picked up for cheap and then passed along once read. She chooses releases for the cover art, she even has her acceptable “repaints”; such as multiple editions with different covers and bindings of her favourite books.
I too like to think that I curate my collection. It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Everyone that collects something does that… right?
The more I thought about it, the more I considered the fact that there are quite a few people out there that buy anything and everything, their only qualification being that it reads TRANSFORMERS® on the packaging. I’m not judging, to each his own, but I don’t know how someone like that has any idea what is in his or her collection at all.
Warning! Warning! Incoming horrible realization.
Despite being very, very particular in my selection of every piece in my collection, I am at a loss for a detailed list. Even when I know for certain that I own a particular Transformer, unless it is on display, it usually takes an inordinate amount of digging to locate it. Heck, this is something that has even hampered my ability to write posts on this very blog over the last almost-two-years. Long story short (too late!); that brings me to step one: count the bins.
Step two: make labels for numbering each bin.
Step three: number the bins. Step four: fire up Excel and make a spreadsheet.
Step five: go through each bin individually cataloguing. My columns of choice are:
Name Alt – If the toy has a different name that is not normally what I associate it with. Example: Alternators Meister.
Name – The name I normally associate with the toy. Example: Alternators Jazz (This helps me get around that pesky trademark issue, i.e. with a quick sort by name, all the Jazz toys are together.)
Partner(s)/Unit(s) – I don’t count Duros, the Headmaster Hardhead’s head, as a separate toy, but I wanted him listed. Especially in cases where I have one and not the other (how else do I account for Flattop’s Carrier unit when I don’t actually own Flattop?)
Series – The actual section of the actual continuity the toy belongs, i.e. Air Attack Optimus Primal is a Beast Machines continuity toy.
Release – The actual series the toy came out in, i.e. Air Attack Optimus Primal was released in the Robots in Disguise toyline.
Box – Which bin the toy is in.
Display – Asterisk for toys that are currently on display.
Notes – Mostly just lists of missing pieces or damage, i.e. “Optimus Prime – Machine Wars – Trailer flood damaged : ( ” (Yes, the frowny face is actually in my notes.)
KO? – This denotes a knock-off piece. If the opportunity comes to replace a knock-off I am currently using as a placeholder, this column is the one that’ll keep me honest.
At the end of three bins, the list was up to 188, an even 200 with partners. There are 24 bins total. Needless to say, I will be doing this for a couple more weeks. With the amount of tagging I will have done, starting next Wednesday I should be in a good place to get back on the two regular toy posts a week schedule. At the least, this Friday, we’ll see someone, though I’m not sure who just yet.
In the meantime, I am — surprising even to myself — having an absolute blast doing this cataloguing.