Our day-to-day lives have changed drastically during the month of March 2020. COVID-19 has affected us all in ways that we have never before experienced and what we consider to be “normal life” is now on hold for the time being. Our current focus, both individually and collectively, should be on promoting health, social distancing and maintaining germ-free environments.
Still, with mandatory quarantining, most Americans are now finding themselves with more free time than they are used to having. Taking breaks from the constant media barrage is also good and helps us all to maintain a healthy sense of balance.
This is when our hobbies can play a major role in our emotional well-being. They offer the opportunity to remove ourselves from more serious issues and get temporarily lost in things we find enjoyable. The trading card world is an excellent example of something that can give us a break from daily stresses. Here are some collecting ideas to help you make the most of your free time.
The Hobby to the Rescue
PSA, along with companies across the country, are also navigating their way through this new normal, as both its California and New Jersey offices have been temporarily closed. However, as collectors, let’s turn towards our hobbies and take a break from the stress of current events. While PSA services are temporarily on hold – while the world is on hold – the hobby marches on.
Try turning to the hobby. Pull down that box of cards you’d forgotten about. Begin looking at the cards you meant to sort through months ago. Grab your prized cardboard possessions and recall exactly why you wanted them in the first place. This is the time to temporarily get lost in the hobby and take our collective minds off of the crazy state of things. Find that joy that led you to the hobby and run with it.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 20 collecting ideas to help you use the hobby as a healthy escape. Expect to see more of these articles coming up, too!
Collecting Ideas for Quarantine Times
1. Appreciate what you already own
Collecting is based on acquisition, but let’s not forget to enjoy what we already have while we are striving for more.
2. Jot down why you collect
What is it that draws you to the hobby? Try to define your interests in an effort to further strengthen them. Write down your thoughts on why you collect.
3. Set collecting goals for 1, 5 and 10 years into the future
Most of us have personal, professional and financial goals for the future. Why not extend those goals to our hobby lives as well? Set future collecting goals.
4. Design a new collection
Pick a subject about which you know little and dive deeply into research. You might even start a new collection, but you will most definitely have new knowledge
5. Start a “Pay it Forward” chain among collectors
Everyone has cards lying around that they don’t need. Consider giving them to someone who would enjoy them, with the stipulation that they pay forward your generosity.
6. Begin a “brain dump” thread to educate others
Share your knowledge on a hobby theme in which you are well versed. The hobby grows with the sharing of knowledge. Help educate others by sharing your knowledge about a particular card, set or hobby theme.
7. Come up with new hobby themes to collect
Tired of collecting the same old stuff? Take some time to look at different segments of the hobby. There are practically limitless avenues to pursue!
8. Start a card collecting club for kids
Collecting clubs don’t have to be things of the past. Consider starting one and introducing kids to the hobby.
9. Clean/organize your hobby desk/space
It’s difficult to get things done in the midst of a mess. Take time to organize your hobby space.
10. Write TTM letters
Collecting autographs through the mail (TTM) is a great way to add signatures to your collection.
11. Sort cards that have long been ignored
Everyone has that pile, box or closet of cards that has been ignored. Take the time to get organized.
12. Enjoy the Hobby Virtually
Trading happens less frequently than before, but with the internet we can easily trade with collectors around the world. There are lots of online resources, like videoconferencing apps and more, that help to further connect us.
13. Research and readdress the prospects you want to collect
Take this opportunity to dive even more deeply into the younger players and look for guys you might want to collect based on potential.
14. Build a personal trading card website
Having a digital “home base” is really beneficial for sharing your collection, posting sale/trade items and giving people a place to find you.
15. Become part of an online collecting community
Online hobby communities, like the PSA Forums, are excellent for making new friends and building your collection.
16. Plan an “end of quarantine hobby party”
You and other collectors can share collections, trade and build community. We are all going to crave interaction when the quarantine ends. How about planning a get-together with other collectors?
17. Prepare future PSA submissions
Once PSA offices resume operations, having your PSA submissions ready to ship isn’t a bad idea. You’ll be able to submit them once grading services start back up.
18. Compare your collection to thousands of others on the PSA Set Registry
19. Think of ways to support your LCS
There are several ways to help support your local card shop when times are tough.
20. Research how to store your collectibles without harming them
Outside factors like ultraviolet light can have damaging effects on collectibles. Make sure that you are not exposing your cards to harmful rays!
The Hobby Goes On
As you can see from the list above, whether you are an advanced collector or just getting your feet wet in the hobby, these collecting ideas can help you to still enjoy your collection when the world is on hold. In fact, mandated time at home might be just the thing you need to get your collection in the state that you have always envisioned.