I wrote a couple of days ago about my Funko Pops collection and mentioned that I’d explain why I was thinking about it in another post. Well here you go. I’ve struggled over the years, trying to have a good way of knowing what I have in my collection when I go to conventions or stores. I’ve gone through a number of iterations of want lists and all of them have failed to one degree or another. So here’s my history, what’s worked and what hasn’t, and why I’m relatively positive about the newest version.
Once any collection gets to a reasonable size, it becomes virtually impossible to keep everything that you have and everything that you want straight in your head. I guess that depends on how well your memory works, but there is going to come a point were you just can’t remember it all and therefore, you need to have some kind of list available that will keep you from buying something you already have over again and keep you from missing something that you’d like to add to the collection.
I have tried everything over the years. I’ve done paper lists, kept in little notebooks, where you cross off things as you buy them and add new interests to the bottom. Of course, these are never in order and you spend a lot of time hunting through an ever-increasing list, hoping you can find what you’re looking for. It’s a low-tech approach, but it works.
Then came the era of the PDA, where I could replicate those paper lists and actually have check boxes when I got something. It was convenient, but you still had to type things into the system with a stylus, plus back in the day, there were no color pictures that you could attach. So again, it worked, but left something to be desired in the implementation.
Once smart phones and tablets came along, along with the ubiquitous availability of wifi and data, I again moved my collections, this time online, where I figured I would have access to it all the time. Put it on a webpage, add all the pictures you want and you can see it no matter where you are. In theory, at least, but in reality, it doesn’t really work out that well. Unless you are paying for a lot of data, you’re out of luck. You can only get to it where free wifi is available. And unfortunately, for stores like Target, which I swear is running cell phone blockers, you simply can’t look at your want list while perusing their shelves. The second you pass the front doors, your data stops working. Plus, you probably can’t make changes to your list on the fly without getting into the code. There’s also a significant amount of effort to get it formatted the way that you want it, plus the expense of running the servers to make it available. So that quickly went the way of the dodo.
So I started looking at local options. I had a grocery store list program that, at least for a couple of years, became my de facto collection want list. It was closer to the old PDA days though, and because it wasn’t intended for this purpose, it was more of a kludge than anything else. Still, I had the information at the ready without having to rely on data, but if I wanted it on multiple devices, I not only had to build it on each one separately, but I had to update them separately as well. It wasn’t a good system.
Which is why I was happy when my wife found a nice database program that worked on all of my devices, which did keep the information backed up in the cloud, but also kept it locally so that I didn’t have to worry about where I was when I wanted access. And when I change something on one device, it automatically changes it on all devices. Plus, it has a desktop version so I can easily create these databases without having to thumb-type, then I can upload it to the cloud and distribute it to all of the devices I use. It’s on my cell phone, it’s on my tablet and on my laptop. And since all of the distribution is done through Google Drive, it’s everywhere I need to be.
Now I don’t work for these people, but so far, at least, it’s everything I’ve needed it to be, although Wondercon will be the first time I’ve used it in the field so we’ll see how that goes. I just wanted to give them a shout out to Memento, which works for Windows and Android. It’s free for the basic version, or $14.99 for the “pro” version, which I think is definitely worth it. They also provide tons of templates for whatever you collect
If you’ve been having a problem getting a useful want list for your collectables, give it a shot. It isn’t perfect, but nothing is. I’m continuing to tweak the system as I go and so far, I’m satisfied with it. Of course, as I said, that might change once I take it out into the field, but my preliminary reaction is very positive. You could certainly do worse. I know I have.