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I never really learned the concept of selling.  I sold my 50's 773 and Madison cars (not because I wanted to), my 65 Mustang and my 69 Riviera.  However I still have my 33 Ford 3 window coupe I bought when I was 14 for $75 sixty four years ago.  Fortunately or unfortunately I own and live in a three story building with 7000 feet on each floor.  A tenant occupies the first floor so I live for free. Therefore I have plenty of room for my trains, my cameras and some of the other things I like and collect.  My message to my kids is that I enjoy my trains and other things.  If they don't want to deal with my stuff, just lock the door and don't worry about it.

I am pretty sure I will keep buying.  and, I have plenty of room for box storage.

"Spoiler alert" <tongue-in-cheek-funny-coming up next>

Boy Have I! It hit me last week when a box from a kind member from this group arrived on the door step like a cute stay puppy. I just thought, "Wow, that makes three Steam engines.. 2025, 675, 2025. What The Heck Am I Doing, I am out of control". But I love it,

As a kid my first job was at a gas station. I lucked out in that the owner taught me to look, listen, smell, feel, love cars. We bought and fixed and sold corvettes. I was lucky. My kids have the knack. I am still lucky. I have only sold one "Virginian Gondola" Beautiful, wrong size, and an old diesel which I want back. Overwhelmed? nah, Did I do it backwards, bought trains without a layout? nah, ya'll have shown me that if you are enjoying it... its not wrong.

And, I do love a great looking engine. Oh and Reefer. Oh and Caboose. Oh and Gondola. Oh and... <salute>

It depends on my frame of mind.  There are those days when I come to grips with the fact that I am headed down the home stretch and I realize my wife and/or children will have to "liquidate" all this stuff and I feel motivated to start thinning things out.   Then there are days I say the heck with it because I am still having fun running all these trains so I'm holding on to them until the bitter end.  I still have in my possession every single train item I have ever purchased.  I love 'em all and can't bear to part with them.  I still get a huge kick out of running a different engine and rolling stock every day.  Diversity is the spice of life.   So today the collection stays intact.  Tomorrow; well we will see.

Boy, does this topic touch a nerve!

I live in California so no basement. I have a 4x8’  layout squeezed in our extra bedroom.

I have stuff stored away from when we moved out here from Ohio eleven years ago that I have never touched since.

I have sold tons of stuff over the years - Ebay - which my wife is active on. She nags me constantly about selling my trains. She is right, of course, but still...

I have a rather complete PW collection if you count original and remakes. I’d hate to part with this childhood memory stuff. Recently, I have been on a scale rolling stock kick, so now I have a large bunch of that. Neat looking pieces!

I sell off things I just “had to have” but never used to make room for new stuff I “have to have” but probably won't use, either. I dunno. One thing I am determined to do is buy only a few roadnames from now on. Northwestern lines.

I dump rolling stock boxes for the most part nowadays but keep engine boxes. Box storage is a terrible problem. I keep all my trains in plastic tubs with content listed on paper taped to the sides which is helpful. Necessary, actually.

I share a storage locker with my son which has been a lifesaver - keep the big set boxes over there. My garage shelves are packed with boxes as well.

And as bad as it is, it used to be worse storage-wise. Now it is at least static because I have no choice. One comes in, one must go out.

At least Lionel is helping me out by making things I either can’t afford or am not interested in. I’m getting two boxcars from their newest catalog.

Now I just have to figure out two cars to sell to make room.

Cursed by an abundance of riches. Truly.

About 10 years ago my son took this photo for a school project he was doing about people immersed in their passion! He framed it and gave it to me. I’ve acquired a lot more since this and now have a hard time looking at the picture. I recently started selling a bunch of stuff to begin downsizing, but I still can’t totally stop acquiring new stuff!8B341622-F548-4E80-9372-F5808BB07FCA

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Last edited by NYC Z-MAN

Soooo, I am gifting my brother an oval and a consist for the tree. Looking for a transformer for the small set. Will this work?  O Scale Rail King MTH Z750 Transformer/controller

oh, THEN i Saw a couple of SWEEET Cattle Cars, Greeen, Nice printing, wooden, POOF, and I guess they will arrive to be an addition to my collection..Hi, My Name is MIGGY and I am having fun today. not overwhelmed today, tomorrow looking to be O.K. too

Now, where are those transformers --->>?

Last edited by Miggy

Sometimes...maybe...but less so as time goes by.

My wife is so much into this hobby now and has become so savvy in being able to properly evaluate, describe, research and be knowledgable about realistic current values and buying/selling items...locomotives, rolling stock, accessories, sundries and miscellany, etc., etc., that all is well.  And that's just WRT my own stuff.

Besides, after 22+ years of marriage, countless train shows we both have wandered, multiple York meets, a good eye for spotting deals and the honing of a great haggle, SHE's proudly acquired a fair portion of that 'collection' in the basement per her own interests, on shelves throughout the house, treasures on the layout, etc.   

So, what?.....I should worry, be remorseful, have regrets, ...even blush?????

Nahhhhhh.

All's well.  All's fun.  For both of us.

KD

To answer the original question: Oh. God. Yes. It does make me feel a bit better to see that some are worse off than I. But not much better. Problem is, I am not an impulse buyer, and if I liked it then, I still like it now. There are a few exceptions, a very few. I was selling some things at train shows (but I live in a thin market area), all at a loss. I don't care - I never bought any hobby item with resale in mind. Not a business.

I'd sell 2 or 3 (or more) substantial items, come home to put the unsold away, and I could not tell the difference. Still TMS (Too Much Stuff).

My stuff, or the amount of it, rather, makes me unhappy. And I had to pay to feel this way. Those are  profound and sad statements.

Then there is the constant maintenance, de-bugging and repair (mostly small) if you try to run much of it. Some things have sat for 20 years. More. Most are fine. Most. I have learned that TMCC is very stable.

Suggestion: buy 12 nice locos, 60 nice freight cars and two nice passenger car sets. Build a modest - not small, not big - layout that can handle half of them with no crowding and some open areas. Build a few shelves for the other half. Rotate some pieces between them with scheduled regularity. Then stop buying and enjoy your stuff. Actually attend to the layout. That doesn't help the manufacturers or the train show business much, but I wish that I had had the discipline.

Last edited by D500

Here's my situation. I do not feel overwhelmed, but before I retired I owned property with two buildings (which was sold). I would buy trains and store them in one of the buildings as well as at home. After the sale, for the first time, all my trains were put in one place. I could not believe all the stuff I had accumulated. To fit it all in, I decided to chuck all the boxes, except the locomotives and wrap the cars in paper bags in large containers. I therefore created much-needed room. I also rearranged my platform (taking out a peninsula for storage space) and created a rotation system to run all my trains on a regular basis, which I had not done and some trains sat in boxes for years, if not decades. I put new life into my trains. -Mark

Cool thread with interesting and great responses.

My short answer is "No" because I sooner or later, run everything I have.

What is not currently on the layout is on display shelves surrounding it. No trains are stored away in boxes. Enjoying and running my collection (accumulation?) keeps me from feeling overwhelmed, despite the fact that it exceeds 740 cars, engines and motor-units.

Like a few others have posted I keep an Excel inventory. This helps prevent me (sometimes) from buying duplicates. Duplicate buying usually happens when I see something that appears to be in better condition than one I already have. Unfortunately that is not always the case. These duplicates wind up in my "for sale" boxes.

I limit my collection to what I can fit on the layout or shelves. I do periodically clear out some items after looking at them and saying to myself: "Self, if I saw this on sale today would I buy it?" If the answer is "No", into the "for sale" boxes it goes. This allows for space for items I want more as my tastes change.

I LOVE this hobby!

Last edited by Lionelski

My train collection isn’t really big enough to overwhelm me, especially compared to some folks in here. I only have 12 or 15 locomotives, and enough rolling stock to keep them all busy.
However, I also collect diecast cars and toys, and that got pretty out of control. Several years ago, while staring at tubs of cars, I came up with a plan to thin them out. I started giving away new-on-the-card diecast for Halloween. I have given away somewhere between 800 and 1,000 cars, and have had a great time doing it. Should have enough left to keep me busy for years.
My son had the virus this past October, so I had to stay in as a precaution. I really missed handing out my cars.

I just want to say that I really feel for all you overwhelmed modelers. Seriously. I feel incredibly moved by your plights. So much so that i want you all to know that you can send me, free of charge, all of your cast offs, anytime. I’m here for you. All of you.  Just private message me and I will relieve you of that overwhelmed feeling, leaving you light, and ready to happily pursue the hobby again,  Relieve yourself of that overwhelmed feeling right now and send me all of your stuff.  After all, what are friends for?



sincerely, your Internet  train buddy,



Strap Hanger

Last edited by Strap Hanger

A couple of years ago, I decided to inventory all of my different collections.

They are:

  • Beatles
    • Records/CDs
    • Laserdiscs/DVDs/Blu-rays/CD-ROMs
    • Books
    • Magazines
  • Doctor Who
    • VHS videotapes/DVDs/Blu-rays
    • Magazines
    • Books
  • Comics
    • DC Comic Books
    • Non-DC Comic Books
    • Books
    • Magazines
    • Laserdiscs/DVDs/Blu-rays/CD-Roms
  • Monster stuff
    • Laserdiscs/DVDs/Blu-rays
    • Books/Magazines
  • Musical Equipment
    • Guitars
    • Keyboards
    • Amplifiers
    • Speakers
    • Microphones/Stands/Effects/Miscellaneous Electronics
    • Books/Magazines
  • Plastic Models
    • Polar Lights/Aurora/Moebius
    • Catalogs/Flyers/Posters
    • Miscellaneous
  • Games
    • Monopoly (domestic, foreign, & spin offs)
    • Chess sets (TV & Film themed)
    • Card games
    • Miscellaneous/The Game of Life/Scrabbles/Parcheesi-type off-shoots/etc.)
  • Die-Cast Vehicles
    • Hot Wheels
    • Johnny Lightning
    • Batmobiles
    • Miscellaneous TV & Film related vehicles
  • Trains
    • O gauge locomotives/rolling stock/accessories
    • HO gauge locomotives/rolling stock/accessories
    • Catalogs/Flyers/Books/Magazines
    • Miscellaneous/Pins/Patches/Club Membership Cards/Posters/Belt Buckles/VHS/CD-Rs/DVD-Rs

I hadn't really ever listed everything I collected.  I just added to my collections.  Most of the stuff went into closets and the garage.  It got to a point where I found it difficult to know for sure whether I had an item or not.  That's when and why I decided to inventory it all.  I emptied my closets and all the shelves and I put everything on one side of the garage.  I designated a specific area for each collection and I created a spreadsheet for each one.  Then I started.  I opened one box at a time, and I started sorting everthing.  Most of my bigger musical equipment was already in my "Music Room", so that was probably the easiest.  I had a lot of bookcases in various rooms that filled up quickly.  Once I had sizable piles of stuff in a room, I'd start entering information about each item in the spreadsheet.  As I filled up shelves or boxes, I listed things like: Item name/UPC/Model Number/Year/Condition/Room and/or box (Location)/etc.--- (whatever I thought was important for that item).  I made sure to give each box its own collection designation and number.  (Ex: Train-2, Die-Cast-3)  It took a long time, but I chipped away at it every day.  Sometimes I'd do one box.  Sometimes I'd do a lot of boxes.  It wasn't overwhelming.  In fact, it was kind of FUN!  I made a lot of discoveries of things I'd forgotten about or I hadn't been able to locate before.  I also found quite a few duplicate items.  It gave me a chance to sell those extra items.  Eventually, I emptied the last box.  It was exciting to finally empty it out and know I'd actually done it.

I'm not quite dead yet, so I still add stuff occasionally.  I try to keep up with my inventory spreadsheets as I buy stuff.  Most of the time I put new things together in a room as I get them.  When the pile reaches a certain size, then I enter their information into my spreadsheets and put them with whatever collection they go with.  It's a system that works for me, and now I know precisely where everything is in my collections: room/location (shelf or box number).  I was surprised to find I had a lot more room available.  I'd found many boxes that weren't filled.  There was a lot of empty space wasted.  Once everything was sorted, I made sure to fill the boxes with only like items.  This made the boxes stronger and easier to stack.

Perhaps inventorying everything you have may quell your feeling of being overwhelmed.  Once everything is noted, sorted, and put away in an organized manner, you may find you no longer feel that way!

Last edited by phrankenstign

I was overwhelmed by the number of cars and locos.  I went from Collecting (Hoarding) to Construction to more construction to Running

And the realization that there was too much to run easily or successfully. Stuff was in the way.

I got big plastic bins and culled the herd and set up an inventory with the idea to sell, here,ebay,train show. The contents are listed on spreadsheets taped to the outside.

I truly feel better because there is a plan of sorts, and access to the stuff I want to run is greatly improved.

I also realize I like to  buy  trains, so while purchasing has slowed and become more careful it’s not entirety gone.

Unlike the past I am not now overwhelmed

I think the key is setting parameters and honoring them, because a collection of anything can reach a “where did all of this come from?” state overnight.    

When I got back into it about 5 years ago I looked at the collection my dad and I had assembled, which was about 2/3 MPC and the balance Postwar and LTI.   Admitting to myself that I am a completist by nature, that I have two kids to put through college, and the nostalgic pull ‘70s and ‘80s Lionel has for me, I decided to collect only MPC going forward.   Being a finite, closed era I figured I can reach a point that I have all of it I could want at some point.  

I also set limits on where the trains can be stored in the house—one part of the basement.    Once that area is completely full, something will have go before I add something new.  It’s getting crowded so I’ve got a couple dozen LTI pieces queued up for eBay, as they no longer fit in with the rest of the collection.  

In a word, Yes!  A modest 8 x 8 layout lead to the accumulation of trains, cars, trucks, and structures for a large size layout running 3 - 4 trains at time.  However I realize I'll never have a large layout and will be lucky to run 2 trains and won't have space for 1/4 of the different scenes I wanted.  Once I re-design my plan and inventory what I will use I will definitely have to start trying to sell off lots of items.

@NYC Z-MAN posted:

About 10 years ago my son took this photo for a school project he was doing about people immersed in their passion! He framed it and gave it to me. I’ve acquired a lot more since this and now have a hard time looking at the picture. I recently started selling a bunch of stuff to begin downsizing, but I still can’t totally stop acquiring new stuff!8B341622-F548-4E80-9372-F5808BB07FCA

This looks like my train room. A bit neater!

Yes,

I have divested all non-N&W non-scale locomotives. Even the 18" MTH N&W passenger cars are gone.

Still collecting scale Polar Express, NJHR Club Cars, and Natty Boh. Other than that, it would take something really special to get me to buy. There is a train show in Midlothian in May. I'll be culling duplicate and any rolling stock that falls short of "must have".

Last edited by Gilly@N&W

To add to my own story.

Today I boxed up a number of things that I bought that completed collections and that I didn't really want. Took it all to the local train store and traded it all in for store credit and told them I am going to refocus in what I like and not to complete collections. They of course noted what I wanted to focus in on and gladly took my items.

Next weekend I will gather up more items that fill holes in collections but are not items I really want. Take those and trade those in also. I really appreciate that I have a local train shop that doesn't mind me trading in from time to time.

I've also decided on some things to sell outright because I don't really want them. They just filled holes in collections.

To sum up, it isn't that I really needed to thin my collection but I saw that I was becoming a collector without a focus. I had trains I ran once and never looked at again.

I have an ideal solution for a collector with a small space who wants to see everything.  I buy, clean, repair, restore, test and sell those train collections that appear when people are cleaning out an attic or basement.  I'll make an offer on anything mid 60's or older and usually make the buy.  In the nine years I've been doing that, I've had a chance to play with most of the cars, locomotives and accessories that Lionel made from 1945 (yes 1945, the year of the flying shoe coupler) to the mid 60's. 

I've pumped oil, launched helicopters, explored target cars firing from a missile launching car and run the Super Chief set.

I have the half basement typical of a Boston area two family house so space is limited, and the cube of what I buy can't exceed the sales.  But the lions share of the fun for me is making them work.

My personal collection is everything that I might have played with in elementary school, anything in the catalogs from 1946 to 1949.  Still missing the aluminum ore dump, correct pipes for 2411, 313 trestle and 93 water tank.

-------

I think of myself as a serial collector.

Malcolm Laughlin

What a great topic!

When I started going to York in the Fall of 2000 (yeah, it's the TCA's fault ), I bought a number of things somewhat related to my layout concept and often on impulse.  Many were historically inaccurate or just plain wrong.  As the layout (18'x x 10') progressed, it became obvious that I couldn't run anywhere near the number of items (mostly rolling stock) that I had bought.  I began getting rid of stuff.

As the layout's time-frame and location came into better focus, so did my buying habits.  I still have some stuff that needs to go and recently I have been acquiring some locomotives.  BUT they all fit in the time frame and the new layout (47' x 11' ) can accommodate them.  

Once it is finished (God willing), I will again examine the roster and decide what, if anything, should go.

And there are plans for the disposal of various parts of the collection once I have no further need for it.

Having said all that, I feel your pain.

George

@RamblerDon posted:

To add to my own story.

Today I boxed up a number of things that I bought that completed collections and that I didn't really want. Took it all to the local train store and traded it all in for store credit and told them I am going to refocus in what I like and not to complete collections. They of course noted what I wanted to focus in on and gladly took my items.

Next weekend I will gather up more items that fill holes in collections but are not items I really want. Take those and trade those in also. I really appreciate that I have a local train shop that doesn't mind me trading in from time to time.

I've also decided on some things to sell outright because I don't really want them. They just filled holes in collections.

To sum up, it isn't that I really needed to thin my collection but I saw that I was becoming a collector without a focus. I had trains I ran once and never looked at again.

Yep that's exactly right. And I have done the same. And now it's time to begin the process of undoing what I have done

Other than sentimental value, trains are not an investment.   I never had trains as a kid so I don’t own anything that I’ll keep forever.  If it doesn’t fit on my layout, I get rid of it.   If I get rid of my layout, I’ll get rid of my trains.   I truly don’t get accumulating to accumulate.   My wife has filled the house with crap we will never use but is to precious to pitch. As I look to sizing down, I just see an overwhelming amount of crap to deal with.   It’s exhausting having more than you’re using.  Every time I see threads like this I feel buyers remorse is the underlying issue.  

Other than sentimental value, trains are not an investment.   I never had trains as a kid so I don’t own anything that I’ll keep forever.  If it doesn’t fit on my layout, I get rid of it.   If I get rid of my layout, I’ll get rid of my trains.   I truly don’t get accumulating to accumulate.   My wife has filled the house with crap we will never use but is to precious to pitch. As I look to sizing down, I just see an overwhelming amount of crap to deal with.   It’s exhausting having more than you’re using.  Every time I see threads like this I feel buyers remorse is the underlying issue.  

Buyer's remorse is certainly the case for some. We all have got a little bit of it. But 99% of my collection has been getting great deals and sometimes even free. It has been a near 35-year adventure. And it has been a blast along the way. Super exciting to come across that old orange and white box at a rummage sale or wherever it may have been. My case is not buyer's remorse, I've enjoyed the acquisition end of it. I've just come to the realization that my life is not going to allow for the grandiose layout I planned. So there's no sense hanging onto things I won't need

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