Since board games are made of cardboard and plastic, we all know it’s at least a little bit important to take care to protect those games and make them last as long as possible. The worst damage happens during play – a careless rip of a card, a piece falling off the table to get stepped on, bent, and broken, someone spilling their pop across the table soaking everything in sticky liquid. But beyond that, games tend to wear down, warp, and deteriorate over time even when left in storage.
So how do you store your games? Do you have any tips for protecting those valuable boxes and the pieces inside?
I care a lot about keeping my games viable for as long as possible, so I take care when researching new storage solutions or what have you.
When I had a smaller collection, I was able to fit all my games into a toybox. It was the best place for them at the time, but in order to fit they had to be stacked sideways. Unfortunately this tends to let pieces spill all over the place inside the box, even with decent inserts, and I’m pretty sure the sideways-storage method puts extra wear on the box. Later I was able to move the games to an armoire and stack them right side up, but of course this meant stacking up a large number of game boxes, putting a lot of weight on the lowest ones.
After painstaking searches, I finally found the perfect wooden shelves at IKEA. They’re open framed – open on the front, sides, and back, making it easier to pull games out and back in – and you could purchase any number of shelves you wanted. It was also wide enough to fit 2 standard-sized game boxes side-by-side, and deep enough to fully support the boxes as well. I got enough shelves so that at max there would be 4 games stacked up on top of each other. The shelves are actually so deep that there’s a few extra inches at the back, which is great for storing extra boxes and supplies (when I merge expansions into one box, etc.). I also got shelf liners so the boxes wouldn’t get scratched up by the wood. The only downside is that I had to stain the shelves myself, which was a hassle and I am not good at those sorts of things. But I’m definitely satisfied with the end result.
As far as individual game storage goes, I try to keep the original inserts as long as possible, as they help support the box frame from the inside. But once you load up on expansions, those sometimes have to go. I’m always on the lookout for helpful storage containers, and recently packed out Smallworld and Twilight Imperium with some extremely useful organizers from Artbin that fit perfectly in the game box and have dividers just the right size for the little bits.
Smallworld looks like a major hassle to properly store the individual pieces for. I’ve seen some great solutions on BoardGameGeek.com for that though, which is probably pretty similar to what you’ve done, Wolfie.
As for storing my games, I use a hutch that my parents gave me. It’s not super deep, but it’s wide enough for me to put games like Monopoly and other long rectangular games in. As a bonus the shelves are close enough together that I’m only stacking games 3 high max. It’s also got kind of a storage variety as the bottom two shelves have cupboard doors that close so I hide a bunch of older and less played games there. The middle two shelves are just open, and the top two shelves have a glass sliding door, so I put my cream of the crop games up there on display.