The above photo is a real photo of a sampling of board and card games that were pulled out of our overflowing gaming closet. We are a board game family and we have grown quite the collection over the years, my friends.
I had made an attempt once before to refine our collection years ago. At that time, our game closet was stuffed but not yet overflowing. I asked my husband if there were any games he’d be ok with us rehoming since there were quite a few that I doubted we’d ever play again, and I was disappointed when he agreed to part with only a couple of them. He still wanted to keep many of the games we never played because he viewed it as a collection to display and not just games to play.
Not wanting to push the matter, I took the rest of the games and Tetris-ed them back into the closet so magnificently that I felt quite proud of my effort. Of course, it was impossible to maintain and the organization fell apart after a couple game nights and new came purchases.
Imagine my surprise when, towards the end of 2022, my husband initiated a game collection pair-down. He pulled all the games out of the closet and we separated them into piles of definitely keep, maybe, and don’t keep. Then, now having established a standard for keepers, we went through the maybe pile again and whittled it away until we only had a pile of games to keep and a pile of games to donate.
Now all the keepers are back in the closet and not only are they not spilling out onto the floor in front of the closet, but there’s some breathing room and space for growth!
As for the rest of the games, I think it will realistically take us at least until the end of January to establish new homes for them all. Some of the games are out of print so even though (in my humble estimate) we are unlikely to ever play them (I mean, they’ve been collecting dust on our shelves for years), the fact that we would not be able to access them again if we wanted to prevents him from truly letting them go. He’s now making an effort to see if we can give them to a friend instead of donating them to a stranger or selling them to a game store.
Again, I don’t want to push him to get rid of things he’s not comfortable with or in ways he’s not comfortable with. Would I love to pair down our game collection a bit more? Yes. Would I love to get the rest of the games out of the middle of our family room as quickly as possible? Also yes. Am I willing to cause strain and resentment in our relationship to do it? Hard no.
I’m reminding myself of my 2023 motto to “Start with me”. There are so many of my things I don’t need and can remove from our house that I don’t need to force participation from other family members in order to progress. I’m taking this as a really nice bonus.