I’m running out of shelf space for new figures, which necessitates some fundamental changes to my collection strategy. Read on if you’re interested.
I started actively budgeting my figure collecting back in 2009, around the point when I noticed that spending had ramped up significantly compared to those first few years where I was dipping my toe into the hobby. Figures take up a good bit of space in any significant volume and I could foresee a situation where I would end up with more figures than I realistically had space to put them. The budget was a device to slow the rate of collecting and keep that reality at bay. Since that time, I’ve added capacity by moving from an apartment to a house and adding eight more shelving units, but I’ve also added about a hundred figures to my collection.
As it stands, my current storage is more or less at capacity and I don’t see myself adding more in the near future. Given that reality, it no longer makes sense to keep adding new figures as I have been in the past. As such, the traditional budget is out. I will no longer employ a rolling or lump sum budget going forward. The new plan is to set a cap on the size of the collection and work on keeping it at that level. With my open preorders, I’m currently hanging around 125 figures total. My goal for 2016 is to actually reduce that down to 115 and stay there. That doesn’t mean I intend to stop collecting. What it does mean is that if I want to bring in a new figure, I’ll need to get rid of one of my existing figures. I expect that this will have a natural slowing effect in terms of new figures as I’ll need to feel like a potential purchase is an upgrade over something I already have.
The space-saving efforts aren’t limited to my figures, either. I’m similarly space-strapped with my anime and manga collections, which effectively compete for capacity with my figures. I still watch nearly all my anime on domestic retail Blu-ray and DVD. I’ve dabbled with both Netflix and Crunchyroll here and there, but I’ve never truly switched to streaming in any significant capacity. It’s not that the streaming experience is bad, but I’m not fond of paying for content without gaining some semblance of ownership in return. Digital downloads are sort of there, but all the storefronts are DRM-encumbered and you give up features we’ve come to expect in the DVD era like dual audio and extras. So, that brings us back to retail DVD/BD. I intend to give up my limited/special/collector’s edition habit and go for the more space-efficient regular editions going forward. I’m also looking at replacing some of my older DVD box sets from the singles era when it was common for a complete series to take up 5-8 keep cases worth of space for a two cour series. Finally, I found that I can adjust my shelf spacing slightly to better optimize for the height of DVD/BD cases and get an additional shelf in the same amount of space.
Manga is perhaps the least space-efficient of all. I have far fewer completed manga series than anime, yet my manga collection is not all that much smaller, by volume, than my anime collection. Here, I’m increasingly looking at digital. The technology is there. I find reading manga on a tablet to be a pretty good experience. But, like anime, the current digital manga market is less than ideal. Selection is limited compared to paperback and, again, all the storefronts of any note are DRM walled gardens. Fortunately, DRM removal tools exist for certain eBook formats if you’re willing to get your hands dirty.
So that’s the plan for the moment. The 115 number is a rough estimate of where I need to be and subject to refinement down the road. I expect that getting there will be easier said than done, as I’ve never been particularly good at letting go of my collectables, but necessity may help expedite the process in this case. I intend to snap a few photos of outgoing figures and accompany those with short write-ups, which will show up here. Hopefully…
(Credits: header image source)