First of all, if you THINK you are going to have a large collection, I strongly recommend you start to categorise and carefully tag your figures early on. Because trying to sort out a collection, even of two hundred or so, is slow, painful process.
A collector may think they will remember what all the figures are, but when it comes down to trying to determine the specific names between similar figures, One may find that their memory is strongly lacking - Also, and I know that none of us want to think like this, but what if something unfortunate happens? What about the collection? Would your family have any idea of what figure has which accessories or instructions? My spouse would have no idea who is what or if they have weapons and instructions. So this system can aid in getting things together.
The simplest way to organise your collection is to make a spread sheet. For this I used Open Office.
I broke the sheet down into sections to cover: Year, Series, Information, who made it, release exclusivity. It also has pIaces where I can make a notation if it has had photos taken and if those photos have been published on the website. Also where on the website it can be found. Also if it has instructions or parts to go along with it. Once done an individual code is made and that is given to each figure, its parts and instructions.
The number is received when it entered the collection – or when it was added to the spreadsheet. The last number in the list is highlighted in a different colour so it stands out.
It's marked this way to represent its a G1 figure, from the year 1984 and its the first one in the list. The first four will be the same on many figures, the last one will be individual.
I have attempted to create series codes base on generally accepted terms or series title. Generation One is not what the series is called, but what we call it to indicate its the original. I use G1 to refer to the general style/colours of a figure. However this does not apply to a G1 Coloured movie figure, it is designated under the movie series it was sold under. Body type applies.
The code is written onto a jewellers tag and sticky labels. The jewellers tag is gently attached to the figure somewhere looped over a wing, around the neck, and tucked away; and the sticky label is placed on the plastic page cover in the binder or the plastic bag for the weapons. The plastic sheets organise and protect the instructions.
The photos on the website, starscream.ca, also have been given the code. The codes in the site may have some variation with a letter following – as I may have more than one photo of a figure.
The spread sheet will also have a notation under category with some letter such as G1, NT, V - to indicate which page its found on in the website - should I break any of these pages up it will read G1-1 or G1-2. It sounds complicated, however the spreadsheet has a legend with the catagory letters and what they mean.
Instructions can be stored a few ways, filing cabinet, in a plastic box, or a binder. I have chosen a binder.
There are several two inch binders that I have the instructions separated into. I use plastic page protectors to help protect them, and any other literature that came with the figure, such as comics and occasionally the artwork from bubble packages or the card.
I use a bit of scotch tape to close the end to keep the instructions from sliding out and it is on the plastic sleeves that I add the sticker that has the code. The binders are divided into sections such as Masterpiece, Classics (C.H.U.G) Knockoffs, Busts and statues - you get the idea.
These binders keep the instructions, flat, safe and easy to locate. They are kept with the collection on one of the cornering shelves.
Organisation of the parts is currently in the works. I want to mark both the binders with the instructions and the bins so they are linked. i.e. binder #1' parts can be found in bin #1 and this notation will be marked in the spread sheet as well. This should make it easier match who with what later down the line. All parts and accessories that are not displayed with the figure are placed inside zip lock bags, labeled and put away.
This is only a suggestion on how to organise the collection, it may even be useful on the off chance it needs to be insured. I would suggest to sit down and obtain the overall cost of the collection, if you are not afraid of learning the truth about how much you spent. I am afraid.
Sometime in the near future, I want to create a database, with the information in my spreadsheet expanded to include pictures, costs, and other bits of useful information.