Dealing with your collection footprint

I have a friend who has a toy room (hi Marc!). He tells me his collection will never get bigger than his toy room, and will sell old items to make room for new. It’s a sound strategy and one I’ve decided to adopt for my own collecting. If it doesn’t fit in my home library it’s out the door.

Home Office Library 3

Last year I talked about my home library; here’s a photo to give you an idea of what I’m discussing here. I have four bookshelves total: two Ikea 5×5 Expedit, one 2×2 Expedit and one Billy. The 5×5 Expedits are deep so I’m using both sides. This gives me 129 feet of shelving total, which sounds like a whole lot.

When we moved into this house last year and I put together my home library there were empty shelves and it seemed like enough space for years to come. It’s a little over one year and last week I had seven stacks of books on the floor between the shelves and a gigantic pile of oversized hardcovers blocking another shelf. This couldn’t go on.

First thing was to see determine what’s meant to be in this space and what could be moved. I decided this was going to be mostly a comic library, hardcover and softcover collected editions and graphic novels, since we had bookshelves in the family room for my wife’s books and for the children. Yes, we’re a family of tree killing book lovers.

My day job is in I.T. so I have a lot of spare equipment: boxes of cables, drives, monitors, keyboards et al filling the closet in the room. All that was hauled out to the garage where I mercilessly purged 75% of my computing storage; pretty sure those four Courier modems weren’t going to be used anytime soon.

Next target was the books. I switched to a Kindle for text reading last year and during the move donated all my paperbacks. It’s been a year and I haven’t looked at the one shelf of hardcover fiction so that was boxed up and donated. I love the Kindle and don’t see myself switching back anytime soon.

There was a sad looking shelf in the closet that was a potential home for all the oversized hardcovers: Artist’s Editions, LOAC Champagne editions, Sunday Press books, and anything else giant and heavy. I reinforced the shelf with two long brackets on the top side so they could also act as dividers. Everything fit there nicely. On the floor of the closet are my boxes of portfolios, but that’s a job for another day.

With the space freed by donating the hardcover books (it’s hard to talk about comic books and books, since they’re both fiction and hardcover in my case, so for traditional books I’m just calling them that) I reorganized and got everything off the floor. Now there is a significant amount of space on the shelves and I’m good for years to come, right?

I made the easy choices this time around, but when these shelves fill I’m going to be in a tough spot. How do you determine what comics should go and what should stay? They say we’re in a golden age of reprints and there’s so many new releases I rarely have time to go back and give things a second go.

Most likely I’ll start with the softcovers and only keep those I would read again; that should be the criteria for anything I add to a shelf but once you’ve spent the money and you have that collector mentality it’s hard. At that point I’ll try selling them to my local comic shop at 25% of cover as credit for their used section. Could also check with my local library and see if they accept donations; their graphic novel section is pretty slim, but I live in a small community. Maybe get a table at a smaller comic show and have all books on the table for $5.

Scott VanderPloeg
Scott VanderPloeg

Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at AE Index and eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans.

Articles: 1231


  1. Because I paid good money for it! It’s that collector mentality I’ve been trying to shake. What do you do with the toys you buy other than add them to a shelf? I’m having the same trouble with my comic statues.

  2. I REALLY like how you have your setup. Just with how nice the shelves look and how you are able to showcase your statues on top. Consider this setup idea stolen.

    As for being able to sell off parts of the collection, I don’t think I can ever bring myself to do it just because the time and effort I took to find those books and the money I spent

  3. Pretty cool collection, Scott. Luckily I can fit everything I have under the bed in the spare bedroom…7 long boxes now – and counting. I’m with you on the books; if I don’t want to read it again, it’s gone (unless it’s worth more than about $50.)

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