Collecting items isn’t just a hobby, it’s also a path that leads to joy and mental well-being. For many, it’s a journey filled with nostalgia and happiness. But what happens when the collectibles start to clutter your life? Chaos can set in. Leading to stress, anxiety, and mental fatigue that will affect your overall well-being. In this blog, we unveil a transformation journey that turned chaos into a collector’s dream.
When I saw this collectibles room, I knew we had to help.
Meet our hero, Danny, a passionate collector whose obsession became too large to manage. His wife, a delightful soul, knew something needed to change. She contacted us to help turn Danny’s dream of having an organized collectibles room into reality.
The Collector’s Dilemma
During the evaluation, it became clear why they were seeking our services. Action figures were scattered throughout the room and accessories were lying around on the surfaces in and out of their boxes. To add to the chaos, the collectibles were scattered among piles of paper.
“Wow!” was my initial reaction. He had such a massive collection of action figures that he couldn’t fit them all in the room. The collection was spilling everywhere, into the hallways, the loft, the garage, and eventually, the bedroom and closet.
To better understand their vision, I walked through the space with Danny and his wife. He had conducted research and shared the furniture he was considering to create his dream customized collectibles room. However, Danny was overwhelmed by the numerous options and was still determining which furniture pieces would best maximize the space.
This is the point where many people begin to feel stuck – at the intersection of having a vision and knowing what’s needed to bring it to life. We provided Danny with our space planning services, to help Danny gain clarity. Here are the steps our team took to transform this customized collectibles room from just a dream to a dream come true!
At the beginning, there was a lot of uncertainty. Especially with everything being thrown around. I gathered more information in order to create a plan. First, I took measurements of the room and the closet (the closet was a critical component of the overall plan, which I will explain later).
Next, I took measurements of the large action figures. Due to their size, we had to find furniture that would accommodate them.
Lastly, I asked questions to determine which collectibles he wanted to keep and what he may want to part with. No matter what we’re dealing with, whether it’s collectibles, a kitchen, or a closet, the most challenging part is for our clients to come to terms with the idea that some things might have to go.
Many people do not like to hear that. But unfortunately, when there is limited space, compromises must be made.
I asked Danny the difficult question: “What percentage of your collection are you willing to part with?” Fortunately, selling was a goal, making the editing process smoother.
After collecting this data, I went to my office and began designing his space.
The pieces we chose were 3 Black Billy Bookcase with Oxberg doors, 1 single Billy bookcase with Oxberg doors, and 3 more Detolf Glass cabinets. We also designed a custom Elfa closet system for the closet and a file cabinet for his paperwork.
We scheduled 3 days to work on this project. The first day, we focused on pulling everything out, editing, and beginning to set up the structure of the room. The second day was entirely focused on the lighting and furniture completion. On the final day, the magic of our hard work came to life as we brought back all of the action figures in an organized fashion.
Unearthing the Treasures
On the day of the project, as our team walked in, Danny expressed nervousness. I was also nervous because I wanted everything to be perfect for him. One thing I’ve learned in my eight years of experience is that there is one factor I have no control over, and that is the number of items the client is willing to part with. I can easily envision the final result in my mind, but the magic happens when I am in sync with my clients. Working with a professional organizer for collectible editing is highly recommended if you struggle with editing since it’s easy to get stuck in the emotional or financial aspect of editing.
The process of pulling out involved separating action figures by type so that we could see the volume of each category. The categories were as follows:
- GI – Joes
- Star Wars
- He-Man & Shera
- Miscellaneous fantasy figurines
Next, we broke it down further to help him get a different perspective for editing what he kept. We asked:
- What was staying in boxes for him?
- What he wanted to sell.
- What he wanted to take out of boxes to enjoy on the shelves
- Are there any duplicates?
This approach helped us reduce the things that were staying and allowed us to get a clear picture of the zones within the furniture pieces that would be in the room.
From an organization standpoint to use space more efficiently, it’s best to take collectibles out of the boxes. However, taking them out of the box is one of the controversies among passionate collectors who may worry that it could diminish their resale value. I knew this was an important factor for Danny as well.
The Magic of Collaboration
Worrying or focusing on fear can be paralyzing. As an organizer, I had to meet Danny halfway and help him see a different perspective to achieve his goal.
Eventually, we came to an agreement and Danny was delighted with his choices. We bagged the items he wanted to resell and took them to the garage. Meanwhile, handyman Andrew installed the Elfa closet system just in time. We began organizing the collectibles that were to remain in boxes, inside of the closet, and displaying what we could on the shelves.
At the end of the first day, we had a clear view of what Danny had on hand and what he wanted to display. He rediscovered his love for his collection and identified preferences for specific series and collections.
Lighting up the Collection
On the second day, we focused on lighting. For this project, I enlisted the help of Joey of Starlight Solutions, the best electrician and brother in the world.
Our initial lighting plan was to use simple puck lights on the Detolfs and Billy Bookcases. However, after further research, we agreed that we needed better lighting to make the collection’s display more elegant, with the lighting pointing directly at the collectibles.
To do this, we purchased the following components.
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These are the tools Joey used:
- Milwaukee bandsaw
- Milwaukee impact drill
- Milwaukee Step bit
- Milwaukee Strippers
- Milwaukee 13-1 screw driver
- Milwaukee Headlight
- Milwaukee lineman pliers
The Process of lighting up the Collectibles
Joey measured, cut the black channels to the size of the Billy Bookcases, drilled holes onto the channels, and then sanded the back so they would be flush to the cabinets. Inside each channel, he attached the lighting strips and added a clip connector to each end connecting it via the 2 conductor black wire. He then drilled a hole in the back using the step bit where the black wire was fed into. We plugged the black wire into the transformer and an Alexa Plug for automatic voice commands.
Here’s a visual plan of how we connected the lights on the Billy Bookcases:
On the Detolfs, we used these lights. Which were more straightforward to install using zip-ties.
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Once the lighting was complete, Andrew installed the doors and secured the cabinets to the wall. Saying it was glorious would be an understatement. Joey played a crucial role in bringing this vision to life.
The Grand Unveiling
The grand unveiling day arrived! To celebrate, we invited Danny to come and play with his collection and organize his desired collections on the shelves – It was a special time.
To keep the collectibles standing & organized we used these items:
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Our first task was to group the collections by series. We began with the largest category, which was Danny’s biggest obsession, Star Wars. (His Star Wars collection took up an entire wall)
We moved on to his second favorite and largest collection…G.I. Joe’s. We grouped them into heroes and villains and created different scenes.
Next, we identified the remaining series and focused on grouping them by volume. To make things easy, Danny had the option to change his mind if the shelves were getting full. At one point, he discovered he had more space for Star Wars, so he took more of them out of boxes and was happy with displaying them.
The collectibles room came together beautifully, Danny’s dream came true and his wife was overjoyed that the room had finally become functional for them.
Photos by OksanArt photography
He found joy and pride in his obsession. The ambiance in the room affirmed that our time on earth is limited, and we should focus on enjoying our collections today, instead of waiting for “one day”.
Special thanks to the entire Sensational Organizing team, our partner handyman Andrew, and Joey for their unwavering dedication to this project. This accomplishment would not have been possible without their passion and love for this mission.