Boxes or Binders: The Great Debate

An empty mailbox welcomed me home for the third straight day. With some incoming trades and one purchase in transit, the end of the week should be some healthy mail days.

So without any new cards to show off, I’ll build off my blog from yesterday I ventured to the local card shop to buy some monster boxes on Sunday, and this trip gave me some ideas on the direction of the One Million Cubs Project in terms of organization.

My collection is unorganized. No…that’s not a fair word to use. My collection is an unorganized disaster.

Unfortunately, my Cubs collection is also an unorganized disaster minus some of my favorite cards that are displayed on shelves or those 20-card frames that can be purchased at Michael’s.

As I was scoping out the supplies section at my local card shop, another customer walked in and grabbed some binders. He grabbed about a half dozen of the baseball card albums.

These are really nice albums, and I’ve never really zeroed in collecting anything specific to see the need to buy any of these. I just like cards, and I like to hoard them. Now, I feel that in my attempt to accumulate one million Cubs cards, there should be some sort of organization for this timely project.

How boring are plain white 5,000-count monster boxes. Sure, they are cheap, and can be dressed up by slapping an old Fleer Cubs logo sticker on the exterior. But that’s not cool. Two hundred white boxes. That’s no way to store an awesome Cubs baseball card collection. I want to see the cards. I want to flip through them and pick out favorites on each 9-card page. When I was a kid I would throw my cards randomly in binders. Then in my “announcer voice,” I would pick the first, second, and third place cards on each page. True geek here.

As I stood watching this other customer fill his arms with these albums, I couldn’t help but notice a piece of paper near the supply section. It was a tip sheet. Almost a “Baseball Card Supplies for Dummies” sheet. The tip was that binders are good for your better cards and cards you want to look at, while boxes are good to store your duplicates. That’s it!

And the price tag for these baseball card albums is only $5.95. This is a bit more than a generic black or white 3-ring binder from Staples, but less than the $10-12 I thought they sold for.

For a while I hoarded baseball cards AND 3-ring binders. In 2015 I began breaking several different products and purchasing large lots of recently released products to build sets. The plan was to resell sets, until I quickly discovered sets don’t sell. I have several binders filled with partial and complete sets from recent years.

Goodwill earned a lot of my money for about a year as I grabbed all the 3-ring binders I could find. And I found a lot of them. One of the area Goodwill stores would sell great condition 3-ring binders for $0.49 and often would tape together five or six of them for $1.49. Now I have about 100 binders and they have sat on this shelf since.

As the One Million Cubs Project enters month four I finally have a sense of direction for the organization of the cards. Here is the plan:

1) Team sorting – Trying to get ahead of my team sorting. There are several teams that I haven’t traded off many cards so I have a nice supply (Dodgers, Nationals, Indians) while some teams I have less of after multiple trades (Yankees, Tigers, Twins, White Sox).

2) Organizing Cubs in Monster Boxes – Once I have a comfortable amount of teams sorted, I’ll finish putting Cubs in 5,000 count monster boxes.

3) Cataloging the Cubs – This is a tedious process. Currently I have around 11,000 cards cataloged. They are in a spreadsheet with each monster box numbered (example: A1, A2, etc.) that contains the cards. This could get tricky once I move cards into binders.

4) Binders – Initially, I’ll begin with player binders such as Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, Ernie Banks, etc. Then I will probably go into team sets.

The organization process will take some time, most notably due to the time spent cataloging the collection in a spreadsheet. The best thing about this is there’s no timeline, and it’s a hobby. I’d like to reach one million Cubs cards in five years, though there’s no rush. It’s a lot of fun!

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