There’s never enough space

In the last few years I’ve really pared down the collection of model train stuff to “important” and “special” models. Most of it is stored in four or five big storage tubs but a few models venture onto shelves like this one above my workbench. I find that stuff creates a kind of noise that’s distracting so in my life I try to limit this to help me focus on what’s important. I suppose I could just keep the stuff in storage but what’s the point really? To be honest, even in those storage tubs I can still hear these things whisper their distraction.

I feel like it’s time to get rid of all of it.

I’m no less interested in model railways or having a hobby but these models are not necessarily an investment in the future like money saved in a retirement fund. Some represent things that are harder to buy these days and I’d rather a modeller who can use them had it than me hoarding it for someday.

Dear eBay…

Current musical playlist

There’s never enough Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Curtis Harding’s Face Your Fears is the best new album I’ve heard this year, and there’s always Philip Glass and Lenny Kravitz nearby.

9 thoughts on “There’s never enough space

  1. Moving on things is a part of the hobby too! It frees space in our homes, offers opportunities to others, and funds the projects we are now into. The several flea market sales I did in the past few years to move on most of the things I’d bought that didn’t fit with my interests or under construction layout, or which were leftovers from past layouts was very freeing once I got over the hurdle of knowing some things I’d get fair value for, some things I wouldn’t, but knowing that every cent I made has helped get me to have a near operational layout made it easier. I also am very much on board with things should be in the hands of people who will appreciate them and use them. Whenever I do clear outs the first thing I do is assess if someone I know would appreciate something before it gets sold or donated away.

    Good luck with your sales!


    1. Certainly, I completely agree with that sentiment. It’s easy to hold onto these things for long and they become fixtures. Sometimes too I’m considering a layout project but get discouraged because it doesn’t fit the existing collection and that feels like a kind of backward prioritization of things – in analysis we’d consider the software or hardware after the requirements were documented so they didn’t bias the decision so this exercise is equal parts hobby-Chris and professional-Chris style thinking.

      Wonderful to hear from you!

  2. I’m feeling the same way, Chris. I “deleted” most of my layout already. It’s time for a renewal.

    My rolling stock fleet is getting nervous, as I have been eyeing it and thinking about shrinking it by at least 25%.

    Stuff has momentum. Dead weight drags you down.

    1. And it’s so easy to lose sight of the simple fact that we can buy just about any if these things a second time if we really did make a mistake in purging them too quickly.

      In the kitchen or on my desk at work I maintain that you cannot expect good work from a cluttered workspace.

      Plus, my passionate belief that everything benefits from more white space to frame the work. A quantity you can never have enough of.

      Finally, I can’t discount the effect this has on my anxiety. Even this size collection feels overwhelming. It makes my thinking less clear and more burdened.

      Instead of considering it as less my semantic argument is that this will actually create more. Less confusion and more quality. Maybe that’s similar in your exercise? The layout and the collection being refined as your experience matures?

      1. I abhor having anything on my work desk. I do everything with my computer so there’s little reason for anything else to be on my desk. Mind you, the desk doesn’t have a lot of open space in front of the computer, but I like to keep that clear.

        My train work bench, on the other hand, is jam packed with stuff. No wonder I never do anything there! As part of this “rebuild” I want to build a better work area.

        I hear you about the anxiety. I am at the stage where I have so much stuff in my train room that I barely know where to start to clean things up. I have a surplus pile of stuff that I have started to sell / give away and that’s a start. Sometime soon I will have to make some hard decisions about whether I really need to keep kit X or not. Your comment about buying something a second time really rings true.

        I agree that my layout and collection is becoming more refined. My standards for locomotives and rail cars are definitely going up. I’m not at the “Rapido everything” level, and I don’t think my pocketbook will ever stand for that, but I won’t settle for $5 train cars or barely running locomotives any more.

      2. I remember hearing, years ago now, a friend was remarking about boxes unpacked after a move, years after. I’m certain their comment was common but was basically: if you haven’t unpacked it you probably don’t need it. I’ve always had (most of) that opinion on the train stuff but this exercise pushes harder at the theory.

        I liked your comment “no wonder I never do anything there” maybe because it also speaks to me anxiety. I’d just see it, get overwhelmed at where to start, and go back to wine and books instead – mind you, that’s not a bad plan either!

        My desk at work? Same as you. Everything I do is on the computer but I still think faster on paper so I keep a notepad nearby for quick notes, things I need to remember, and occasional track plans.

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