The collector’s dilemma: When to say hell with it and just throw everything in a bin…

I geeked out this weekend.

If you remember, several months ago I bought a loose Matchbox collection from a fellow collector, and only had a chance to open one box.  I was dying to go through everything, and I finally found time this weekend.  Two large boxes and one small, all loaded with Golden Era Matchbox models.

Many I already had, many I didn’t.  Even so, it was nice to have an extra or two of some of my favorites from that era.

Actually, we should stop here for a second.  Most of you know I am a full DLM’er, especially when it comes to Matchbox.  With very rare exceptions, I open everything.  Everything.  Whether in a blister, box, or even a Toy Fair acrylic case, I open it.  The same applies to Hot Wheels, but there are a few more exceptions.  With Matchbox, it isn’t even a “keep one loose, one carded” deal.  Open all, even if I have multiples of a model.

So buying a loose collection was perfect.  No need to open anything.

Alright, back to to it.  All these models were from 2005 through 2007, which was the exact time that Matchbox jumped into a very large realism pool.  Most of the models were licensed, and even unlicensed castings were sporting realistic liveries.  Matchbox was producing an array of everyday vehicles, new and old.  It was fantastic.

So I enjoyed going through these models, until I realized I had nowhere to put them.  I have dedicated almost two of my three Carney wall displays to Matchbox, and the top shelf of my closet houses the rest of my Matchbox collection.  And I like it that way.  Things stay small, controlled, and manageable.  So what to do with all those fun models I just went through?  Some duplicates, others models that are great but not within my collecting parameters?

Put them in a bin!

No organization, no lists, no alphabetizing, just a trip to the store for this:

Yeah, I threw them in small plastic bags, and binned them, and in the process created a really fun grab bag.

I pride myself in keeping my collection under control.  I am sure you have had the same feeling before as well.  Sometimes the collection gets overwhelming, and in many ways completely unfun.  I will stop collecting when it isn’t fun, and when I am going through things and feel like I am drowning in small cars, I come really damn close to giving up the whole thing.

Just the other day, while trying to organize the closet and collection, I told a friend on the phone that there were times I hated the collection, and fantasized about throwing it all away.  Granted, I was terribly sick with the flu, and grumpy as hell, so it might have been the medicine speaking.  Even so…

So the collection must stay small.  But these models are too fun, so I have dedicated one bin.  No organization, no system, other than the fact that all the models are licensed.  Now I have a place to throw the models so I don’t have to worry about them anymore.  Plus, how many times do you jump in a bin and are surprised with what is in there?  If I keep this sealed up for a bit, I will have some nice surprises in a few months.

I like to feature models here on Lamley, but sometimes the art of collecting is addressed too.  It can turn into a fine mess if you aren’t careful.  Of course we all take a different approach to collecting, but I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t at one point or another wonder why the hell they are doing this.  It all depends on how you answer the question.

Collecting is unfortunately about accumulating, and accumulating requires space.  So the question is how much space do you want to take up?  I have a closet, wall displays, and a cart of drawers dedicated to the collection.  I also have some garage space to house the models I am getting rid of or donating to charity.  Hopefully that area stays contained as well.

So thank goodness for the bin.  My one concession of chaos.

17 Replies to “The collector’s dilemma: When to say hell with it and just throw everything in a bin…”

  1. I have two 144ct wall displays and 54 jammers filled with cars and none are duplicates. I think it starts getting bad once you get duplicates. Having a focus also helps control your collection. I know you like JDM and Matchbox, so that keeps you in check.

  2. This a good topic. Even my colection is not too big, I have limited space to display my cars. No wall mounted displays or shelves. I have room im the closet for boxes and my cars are all opened and stored in blisters, original blister or not it doesn't matter. Just plastic bubbles are enough. So I choose a few cars to display in my work area, and switch the selections every few weeks.

  3. Those boxes are on Amazon, i have ordered loads from there and most are now full, so will on the hunt for more – If you have models you dont need for your collection, rather that throw them in a big box, send them my way, they will get displayed in the plastic containers, for anyone to look at.

  4. In my opinion you shouldn't toss any of them in the garbage.Either donate them all to charity or sell some of these die cast vehicles on eBay(if you are an eBay seller or considering becoming one.)

  5. Definitely a subject on my mind as I get ready to move in with my girlfriend. She supports my hobby but I have found myself paring things down and donating to goodwill to keep things reasonable and so as not to overflow into the rest of our space.

  6. Now that I'm in a new house I have a room dedicated to the hobby. I have storage space in a closet and space in the room I'm not using. I have a problem organizing everything. I recently been photo catalogging everything and putting it up on Instagram. At some point I'd like to trade out dups get some stuff I need. I wonder all the time why am I doing it but I realized it's about cars! Ever since I can remember I had a fascination with cars. My brother would build hot rods. Neighbors on my block had nice cars and vans. The 70s were a great time for cars for sure. If anyone is interested and haven't checked me out my tag is Phillywheels on Instagram I have maybe a 1/3 of my stuff up. I have to take breaks at times because it dose get overwhelming.

  7. I have the same problem as well, though I use sandwich bags and layered the bags of vehicles inside small boxes (some of which are Hot Wheels 36 case boxes). Now I'm selling some of my collection (almost there!) and expect to move all of the cars i'm keeping in my collection to the 48 count carrying cases and to a few more totes, yet I wonder if that plan will work out for me? Oh well, that'll be later on.

    I do have some advice: take the Hard To Find and convertible castings out of the pile as A. You don't want to scratch up your HTF pieces and B. The convertible castings do not stand up to the weight very well (found that out the hard way on a couple of Johnny Lighting drop tops!)

    It's a never-ending challenge to organize your own collection when it continues to grow!

  8. John,

    I am with you. As my wife just stated over lunch, “It is out of control.” I disagreed but lost. In the past year I purchased many of the Plano cases in an attempt to DLM and consolidate. Now it is at the trying to find the time stage.

Leave a Reply