I Just Culled My Gaming Collection!

I’ve been gaming for over thirty years. In that time, I’ve purchased thousands of books, magazines, games and supplements. Some are much beloved. Others less so. Some I don’t even remember buying.



Now, I’m quite lucky. We live in a decent-sized house and I’ve got space at Raging Swan’s Global HQ to have most of my gaming collection out on the shelves ready for immediate use. However, even given that there were still scores of books pushed into cupboards, drawers or even boxed up in the attic.

A few months ago, I culled my collection. I’d recently read a book on minimalism and decided to give it a whirl.

I went through my gaming collection and got rid of all the “low-hanging fruit.” In other words, I pulled out everything I was virtually certain I’d never use again. While I’ve enjoyed building up my collection, I’m not sure why I’d keep stuff I’ll never use. What’s the point? (And I can always re-purchase anything I end up needing again).

In any event, I literally filled my car with unwanted gaming products and sold them to a local collector.

It was liberating.

Selling my unwanted gaming stuff had four main advantages:

  1. I had more space. Raging Swan’s Global HQ feels larger and more spacious. Bafflingly, once I’d organised the shelves to my liking—a herculean task—they’ve stayed tidy. This makes my wife happy.
  2. I’ve reorganised my remaining collection so that I can see what I actually have and I’m now much more likely to actually find a book I need to reference.
  3. I have over £500 I didn’t have before that I could throw on the bed and roll around in. If I want, I can ever rub it all over my body in a seductive fashion.
  4. I can actually see what I have in my collection, and I even rediscovered some forgotten gems I hadn’t seen or read in ages.

Now, of course, there are some books in my collection that you won’t even pry from my cold, death hands. They are my Preciouses. (And in case you are wondering, they include my 1st Edition AD&D Player’s Handbook and my 1st Edition AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide along with practically anything with the Greyhawk logo.)

There are probably a lot of other books, however, in all likelihood I’ll never open again. For example, while I thoroughly enjoyed playing 3.5 D&D—and did so for the best part of a decade—I suspect I’ll never play it again (and even if I do, I doubt I’ll need all 50 or so supplements WoTC published as I’m currently on a bit of a core-only gaming trip).

So, I might be having another purge in the near future. And the best thing is, I’m quite looking forward to it.

What Do You Think?

Am I mad? Once you’ve acquired a gaming book do you ever let it go? Or are you a gaming minimalist? Let me know, in the comments below.


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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

24 thoughts on “I Just Culled My Gaming Collection!”

  1. Very impressive photo! I tend to keep all of my gaming purchases as well, although my collection may not be quite as large as your own. Many of these items I haven’t opened in a very long time and likely won’t ever use again, but I hold onto them nonetheless, so I can definitely relate.

    I have all of my old 1st Edition AD&D books though, along with all of my old issues of Dragon magazine (starting at #49). Then I have a bunch of older game systems or older versions: Basic D&D boxed sets, 2E, 3/3.5E, Pathfinder, GURPS, Star Frontiers, Top Secret, Boot Hill, Shadowrun, Battletech, Chill, DC Heroes, Twilight 2000, and many others. They do, however, serve as great references now and then.

    Sadly, I do have a few things that were lost during some moves many years ago. Foremost among those was my large collection of Traveller LBBs (Little Black Books), and the Azhanti High Lightning boxed set. I never did discover what happened to them.

    Other than my gaming materials and rather large library, I tend to be a minimalist myself and dislike clutter. I’d love a nice big shelving like you have thought!

  2. This is the second post I’ve seen recently about decluttering one’s gaming supplies.

    I’m going to take it as a sign to do it myself.

    For example, I really like the True20 system. I think it works well as a universal system (fantasy, sci-fi, modern, horror). But the reality is there are no groups that play it, no one can get the core rulebook if I do manage to find a group, and the system itself is not supported anymore.

    There is no reason to keep the books, so they’ll be going away soon.

      1. The shelves are called Expedit and Ikea discontinued them, which is a shame. We used as our bookshelves for years. My wife says they have a different but similar line now.

          1. Ikea replaced them with KALLAX, should be close enough. I think the major difference is the sides are slimmer, but the storage spaces are the same.

  3. I dig the shelving units, they look nice. What book inspired your culling? my own gaming collection is getting out of hand. 30 cases of books got moved this week into storage to make room for a house guest.

      1. Finally got around to ordering it. I am looking forward to reading it before I unpack my 30 or so cases of books…

  4. Yep! I agree that you should definitely sell the things that you’ll likely never use again. And your shelf is awesome and oh … I definitely love the dragons on top.

  5. Well, I just bought that huge giant Raging Swan collection in PDF. Instead of several cubic feet of dead trees, it fits neatly on a disc.

    I find it very difficult to get rid of things that are part of any sort of set or series. I don’t like gaps. (yeah, I’m the kind of person those places that send you one X cheap/free and try to get you to buy another X every month are looking for) This may explain my gaming stuff. I put a lot of it into storage before we moved — this was just supposed to be a couple of years — so now things I need are a thousand miles away from me. *sigh* Including my big heat sealer, and the roll of shrink film. I think the reason I’ve been getting increasing amounts of my gaming stuff in PDF is that it doesn’t *look* like something that needs to be completed — I don’t see volumes 1 and 3 on the shelf that obviously need to have 2 added — so it doesn’t trigger that “complete the set!” button. Plus it’s great for the cubic footage!

    So now I just need to buy a bigger hard drive….

  6. I got rid of almost all of my 3.5 stuff as I decided I’d rather go heavy into pathfinder and other non WoTC systems. Right now I’m only really interested in 3PP pathfinder, OSR and other stuff done by smaller presses. I’m feeling tempted to get the core books for 5th edition but… also really want to pick up Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG… anyway I am still more on the buying than the downsizing side but I’ve definitely traded in a lot of stuff for different stuff.

  7. You are not crazy at all.

    Congratulations, you have just learned a valuable life lesson. The simple fact is, there is a point where having too much is more a hindrance than a help. At the point you have so much you cannot properly access and use it all effectively, or hope to organize, it is too much.

    There have been more than a few times in my life when I have been forced to go minimalist, such as when I was in the army. While living on base, my personal space allotment did not allow for a lot of gaming material. A couple of rules books, a pad of graph paper and my set of dice was about all I could manage.

    Additionally, when everything has its own space, it is much easier to keep organized, and to put away, because there is a place to put it other than just pile it up on whatever open space presents itself, and that reduces clutter.

    The space looks wonderful, I wish I had another long wall to put it all in a central location, but my girl has our only long wall filled with her craft project stuff, set up in a similar arrangement. While I have the majority of my gaming stuff in, or on my desk and in three large floor-to-ceiling bookcases, in two different room (our bedroom and my study/game room), but I am fairly well organized and 90% of the time I know what is in which book case, so it works pretty well in the spaces I have.

    May you always continue to follow the alignment of Lawful in your game storage endeavors.


  8. I am fairly new to RPG’s, just a couple of years along this path. I tend to be very conservative in my purchases of hard bound books. I have tons of PDF’s to use if I want to try a system, only the ones I really care about do I buy the books. So far I have less than 10 RPG books – I started with Pathfinder and 5e. I have the core rule books and the DM guides for those and a couple of Monster Manuals. I started running Adventures in Middle Earth for my family (love that setting!) and have the Players Handbook and the Loremaster’s Guide. I got Volo’s. I’m going to play my first game of Mouse Guard tonight, bought the pdf, I really like it, will probably get the book, but I’m not sure how often I’ll play it, not so many people into it to play with. I guess I’m a minimalist! (Of course, I have notebooks and folders and tons of hard drive space dedicated to character sheets, notes for campaigns I’m in (online) and all that! lol I’m a horrible pack rat generally.

  9. I’m still waiting to get my gaming room set up which will allow me to get out my older gaming books which are currently stored in the attic. It will need a cull….The room will double up as my writing room too…..and Ikea will definitely be getting my custom….

  10. I am minimalist, in that I don’t buy what I don’t plan to immediately use. I have most of the AD&D 1E books, the core AD&D 3.5 books, and just the three D&D v5 core books to read thru (only played v5 once as a lark/try-out as an Adventurer’s League night — yes, it was fun, but not compelling enough to return for more). I bought the Castles and Crusades core books and gave them a read-thru, but then sold them on eBay. I bought the Pathfinder main book, and tried to slog through reading that, but to mere little avail, but am keeping it. I also bought Dungeon Crawl Classics main book, and only skimmed it briefly, when I thought I might play. But aside from a handful of old AD&D v1 modules I bought for nostalgia’s sake, and a few items I bought from friends, I never spent excessively on anything else other than dice (which more than makes up for spending on books and etc.) De-cluttering has always proved useful and rewarding to me, the few times I have managed to accomplish it. Good on you, sir. Thanks for the mental image of you rolling on your bed with the money, throwing in the word “seductive”. Was that banknotes or coinage?

  11. I did something similar a few years ago. Like you I refused to get rid of my 1st ed. AD&D hardbacks. The great things today is that most stuff is available in PDF which is much easier to store and archive, and if I really get back into a game I can always purchase them in physical form again.

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