Our Piles Of Potential – Is It Time To Cull The Collection?

November 11, 2023 by brennon

Supported by (Turn Off)

Recently over on the forums, community member @pagan8th put forth an interesting topic on "Culling The Pile" and working through your collection to see what might be better off finding a new home. It's a tough one, especially since so many of us are collectors as much as we are hobbyists, painters and wargamers.

cull collection updated cover

With that in mind, have you had moments recently where you've been looking at your pile of potential and thought that it's time to shift stuff? How did you deal with it (if at all!) and what steps can you take to help avoid the pile of potential becoming that ominous pile of shame?

Why It's Hard To Cull The Pile

I recently moved from a flat to a larger house and during that process, it dawned on me just how much "stuff" I seem to have collected over the twenty-five years or so that I have been enjoying the tabletop hobby. Much like pagan8th in the forums, it dawned on me that I would have to find a space for all of it and despite having a dedicated room for hobby now in my new place, it doesn't seem to have stopped it from overflowing!

cull board game collection art

Rather than being stuffed into an old fireplace, my collection of board games, miniatures and roleplaying books are now sitting in a massive kallax (blessed be the Lord Ikea) but even then I still have four boxes in the shed and draws packed with paints, old sprues, tools and the other bits and pieces that I found myself collecting. With a heavy heart, especially recently, I've started to consider that maybe it's time to shift some of this stuff.

Much like pagan8th, the first part was getting started and to some degree, getting over the lingering guilt that I must have spent hundreds if not near a couple of thousands of pounds on some of the things in my collection. My Star Wars: Destiny collection lies dormant and gathering dust, mounds of dice and cards that saw play over two years but now sit forgotten. The same goes for my A Game Of Thrones cards, split over multiple folders and a possibly unfortunate amount of plastic boxes of sprues for games like Frostgrave and Oathmark that were the sparks of some project or other that never really lit up.

Part of me thinks that all of these bits and pieces will end up being useful one day. One day I'll teach someone how to play Destiny or I'll start that Elf army for Oathmark. I know none of those things are true. The same goes almost double for the board games I have on my shelf. I used to play routinely every Monday but now I'm lucky if a board game sees the light of day once a month. Some of those games have also been sat untouched for five or six years but I still keep a hold of them!

I think as well as a sense of guilt over the potentially "wasted" money, there's also the fact that some of these items have a nostalgic quality to them. Will I ever play Merchants & Marauders ever again? Probably not. Do I want to sell it? "But, but...what about those awesome five nights about ten years ago when we played loads of games in a row and told some epic stories?" I guess that's a no.

I think that's why it's so hard for a lot of us to actually work up the courage to start Marie Kondo'ing our way through our collections to find out what's worth getting rid of.

Starting The Process

I went to a wargaming sale recently where people were getting rid of large portions of their collection and that has started to light a little bit of a fire under me to start doing something about it and getting over those hurdles we've talked about. It's not going to be a process that takes a week. It might take months or years, but there are some steps that I think I'm going to take towards culling the pile and maybe these could be helpful to those like pagan8th and others in my position.

  • Be Honest About Your Hobby Choices - As mentioned above, my hobby focus has changed. I'm not longer doing a lot of board gaming so I should start looking at what I've got on my shelves and what could easily be sold off to make space for projects that I am interested in. Being honest about what you actually like can be a big part of kickstarting the process
  • You Don't Need To Sell - Whilst it would be good to get some money for the stuff in your collection, consider giving stuff away. I've done this with practically two Warhammer 40,000 armies over the last couple of years. Two friends wanted to start Orks and T'au so I literally just gave them a big box of stuff. I was never going to use it but they've got great joy out of the stuff they now own.
  • If You Do Sell, Make It Easy On Yourself - eBay can be a great way to sell stuff but it can also be a mega hassle. Unless you're living in the middle of nowhere, I'd really suggest the likes of Facebook Marketplace. You can post anything and you'd be surprised how quickly people will snap stuff up. I've got rid of two big board game Kickstarters through it! I'd also massively recommend selling via Board Game Geek as well, especially for some more bespoke stuff as there are plenty of collectors who pour through that to find bargains.
  • Cull With Friends! - It might be worth getting a couple of the members of your group of friends over to help you out. They might help put some elements of your hobby into perspective and keep you from getting rid of things from your collection too hastily. Maybe it'll even get you rethinking what you're going to be focusing on over the next little while!
  • Don't Be Hasty - Despite those initial thoughts on beginning the cull, don't feel like you have to rush. Take everything into account and remember, this is your collection. You collected it all for a reason. Yeah, there might be something equivalent to my Star Wars: Destiny collection in your pile but you can always come up with other ways to deal with the pile.

Even if you don't end up getting rid of a bunch of stuff, maybe consider the way that you store your pile. Sorting out cupboards and drawers or those lovely kallax can be a massive help. Additionally, if you've got the space, remember that you can just tape up cardboard boxes of stuff and leave them in the shed or the garage. Even if you don't come back to them, someone else might. I know that moving and making sure I had proper storage was a big help and whilst the pile still needs culling, I've found a good way to make things feel managed if nothing else!

I guess my parting words are that everyone goes through this with their collection so you're very much not alone fellow tabletop gamer. Maybe consider diving into the forum topic with pagan8th HERE and share your thoughts. Do you think we all need to get ready for a cull of our collection?

What do you think?

"...as well as a sense of guilt over the potentially "wasted" money, there's also the fact that some of these items have a nostalgic quality to them"

Supported by (Turn Off)

Supported by (Turn Off)

"...it's so hard for a lot of us to actually work up the courage to start Marie Kondo'ing our way through our collections"

Supported by (Turn Off)

Related Categories

Related Content Types

Related Content Formats