The Evolution of a Toy Room – Part Two

It seems like a long time since I wrote part one, and that’s probably because it has been.  Lots has happened since then, in both my personal life and my G.I. Joe life.  Our current house is pretty much out of our possession with my garage totally cleared out of any review equipment, and nearly every single G.I. Joe toy I own locked up firmly in storage.

This has led to an interesting dichotomy in my life as I try to continue G.I. Joe related motivations while juggling work, finishing my bachelor’s degree, and deal with living with my in-laws for the next six weeks.  Hit the jump to see how I’m trying to keep myself sane.

As I write this, the family and I are currently between homes.  Our trusty hold one-floor ranch has been sold and we’ve made a commitment to the new house, which currently continues construction, on track for completion at the same exact time that I happen to be in New Orleans at JoeCon 2012.  I really need to work on my timing.

The work on the new home continues full steam ahead, with the majority of external construction complete, and work being done on the inside.  Most of the sheet rocking is up, and as the walls are completed inside, it quickly becomes evident to me that a lot of my “sky is the limit” hopes and dreams aren’t quite as realistic as they appeared when the walls were opened and the final room dimensions weren’t so clearly defined.

Not that this is a bad thing.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I’ve quickly found that the more strict the dimensions of what I can do, the more realistic my expectations become and the firmer my plans start to form mentally.  When my toys were stashed in my garage, the mentality was all about “storage”.  I need enough room in my garage to “store” my stuff, and that took prescedence in a big way.  I have…well… a lot of stuff.  Way too much stuff.  Bordering on a hoarders situation kind of stuff, and when it was in the garage “out of sight, out of mind” it was a matter of digging away enough space in the garage to stack things from floor-to-ceiling in order to properly stash my worldly possessions.  Check out images of my storage unit below.

Now, as I rethink my priorities and start to consider an “inside” situation with a home office and a desire to showcase my collection rather than just store it, I find my mentality changing drastically.  Collecting, for a long time, has been a total “gotta catch ’em all” mindset, where the main goal was simply accumulation.  Gather as much as humanly possible to maintain my mythical “collection”.  But I have started asking myself some questions…what is the value of a “collection” if it really is just that?  A “Collection”?  Does merely collecting stuff really bring some sort of satisfaction, or is what you do with that stuff much more important?  Personally, I find my attitude shifting.  Don’t get me wrong, I have an immense amount of respect for those folks who can do both…who can collect a massive amount of stuff and do some cool stuff with it (see Kevin Watts), but I’m not in a situation where I can do that.  So now, as I design this room in my head, some hard decisions are starting to form over what I really need.  I have mentally converted already from “storage” to “display” and I’m already considering the best possible way to display my collection in a way that makes it fun and interesting, not just a ridiculous stack of tubs from floor to ceiling.  After all, this room is going to be an office inside my home, and not just a dank garage that nobody ever goes into.  That changes the characteristics of what a toy room should be drastically, in my opinion.

First and foremost, we have the room, almost completely sheet rocked.  You’ll have to excuse the pictures, there is no electricity directly to the home yet, so the pictures were taken in low light with my cell phone camera, but hopefully you can get the idea.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is quite a bit of room in here.  It’s a 13′ by 14′ space with a ton of wall area.  I will want an office desk in here for my computer, and I need a review station, but besides that, this is all open floor and wall space available for toy display.  But when you’re talking to someone who has a 10′ by 10′ storage area filled top to bottom with tubs of crap, suddenly this room doesn’t seem like sufficient space, which is where the hard decisions will have to come in.

My first series of decisions revolves around my shelf choices.  I’m strongly considering using rails and shelves on the walls in order to best optimize my space, but I would love input from anyone else who uses these methods.  The idea right now, is possibly putting a table with the USS Flagg in the center of the room, as that should leave enough room on each side to walk around, with my action figure cabinets on one wall, and display shelves on the other.  That leaves the far wall for the office desk/review station and the near wall for some other potential space.  But again, my architecture skills aren’t the best, and until I get stuff in the room, I’m betting my internal measurements will be way off.  But you know, part of me doesn’t care if they are.  I am fully resigned to the fact that whatever happens, this room is going to look good, and the focus is going to be on display, not on storage, so no matter what happens from here, things will be sold, and my whole “gotta have them all” mentality is going to be seriously questioned.

For the shelves themselves, I’m taking some inspiration from Destro at who recently posted images of his collection, including the shelving he’s using, and that matches pretty well with what I’ve got in my own head.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see myself parting with a lot of my figures.  After all, I’ve got a pretty good system for storage and display for those.  But do I really need half a dozen three foot long vehicles from the late 80’s in my collection?  And as pained as it makes me, do I really need a 7′ Aircraft Carrier that will just sit in the middle of the floor and take up valuable walking or display space for hundreds of other items?

I don’t know if I’m ready to answer that question yet, but the fact that it’s being asked is an eye opening, somewhat life-changing experience for me.  It may be the best thing about this new house purchase.

Stay tuned.

14 thoughts on “The Evolution of a Toy Room – Part Two

  1. Haha! I fully intend on having some space for Action Force once the room is done. I just need a supplier…

  2. Consider putting your Flagg up High… I see a lot of collectors who put the flagg on the floor, or a low table, but I think the best use of space is putting the flagg at chest or eye level.

    If you built a small “island” out of Ikea Detlof display cases (8 or so) I think the Flagg would sit on them quite nicely.

  3. That’s a really good idea. Aren’t those Detolf cases like 5′ high, though? I know you said putting it at chest or eye level works, but isn’t the draw of the FLAGG the deck itself? Have you seen any images online of folks who display it like this? It’s certainly an interesting idea, and would definitely save some space and be a creative way to show case more items.

  4. In my mythical toy room, I’ll have approximately waist-level cabinets on one to two of the walls, with tops that are deep enough to accommodate playsets. The cabinets themselves would become storage for pieces I’m not displaying or spare parts and stuff that don’t fit into a display (the extra tracks that come with OMega Supreme come to mind). Stuff like that that I need readily available but not cluttering up the display.

    Anyway … have you considered something like that? Be a great way to have a Flagg displayed. And I really think you do need the Flagg there if you can do it. It’s such a beautiful piece.

  5. I got rid of all of my vehicles a few months for the sole reason that I really didn’t have the space and didn’t want to just store them in a box somewhere. That being said, I believe I would make some space for the Flagg. Possibly even build a “coffee table” type thing with glass (or plexi-glass) panels that the Flagg would fit into. Here’s a link to what I did with my figures

    Hopefully I’ll have these hanging on the wall later this year.

  6. Let go of the vehicles that don’t really matter to you personally. There are some that fill a role nicely if you incorporate them into action figure display, but remember that once it is gone, it is either retired out of your needs wheel, or you will simply end up hunting down a replacement some day. What can you live with and without? Once you have worked out which group to separate them into, haul them to a meeting with a few of your friends who you know would love to liberate them from your evil grasp.

  7. I’ve seen it it my friend’s basement…I’m working on putting it in my basement as well… Yes the Draw of the Flagg is the Deck…but I don’t get down on my knees and play much any more… and I find I like the “Figure’s eye perspective” much more than looking down on the top of the Flagg.

  8. I would suggest taking some measurements of the furniture you want to put in the room. Then go there with a tape measure and a roll of masking tape and lay it out on the floor. That will give you an idea of how things will look as far as floor space. I did something similar when we moved apartments last year only using boxes instead of tape. It helped us decide what furniture layout worked best and helped us decide what shelves and displays went where.

  9. I was going to suggest the same thing. Gene Simmons of KISS has something like that in his home office, it’s made of glass or plexiglass and has a whole bunch of magazines in it. You could do something where the Flagg is in the middle with the Terror Drome on one side and something else on the other.

  10. I’m currently working on a storage/display/play table solution for my sons in our play room. I’m planning on using five 2×3 ClosetMaid cubes (three sandwiched together and one on each end) with a 3’x6′ board (haven’t settled on type yet) across the top as the play table. You could use the 3×3 cubes and have plenty of display and storage space while having your Flagg at a reasonable height.

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