Spring Cleaning — Board Game Style!

The air in our homes is stale, the windows are caked in sludge and the broom has been out-of-commission long enough to attend night school and earn its GED: The time for spring cleaning has arrived. Our games collections have been gathering dust over the winter and may be missing countless pieces (why would we even check if we don’t have any game nights coming up?), so they remain prime targets for a deep clean and reorganization. But, never fear, the process of sprucing up your games collection is less daunting than it may seem. Here are our tips:

The Bucket o’ Goodness

It’s a tale as old as time: Board gamers such as us find colorful pegs in our vacuum bags and paper game pieces crumpled up behind the radiator. These are all the telltale signs of a board game geek so singularly focused on the game that they overlook a missing piece every so often—until so many get lost that the board game barely functions. Salvage your sanity and kickstart the cleaning process by grabbing a “Bucket o’ Goodness,” aka a plastic fish bowl or mason jar, where you can toss any stray pieces you find, no matter which game they originated from. Not only does it serve as a nice conversation piece, it allows you to effectively gauge how much cleaning muscle you’re going to have to put behind this endeavor. When it comes time to put them away, dump everything onto the kitchen table and dig through the buried treasure.

Abandon Perfection

At the same time, it might be impossible to guarantee every missing piece finds its way back home, or that the Bucket o’ Goodness process will always be followed. So don’t act so surprised when meeples disappear, Catan tiles evaporate and Monopoly pieces are (probably) eaten by the cat. This provides an opportunity to mix-and-match from multiple games—or enlist other small objects around the house, like paper clips or a handful of frozen peas, as stand-ins. Your copy is now one-of-a-kind and worthy of a proper dusting.

Tag ’em and Bag ’em

Now’s the time to take precautionary measures for next spring: Buy a package of plastic sandwich bags and use each to store a single player’s pieces and cards. Not only does this simplify set-up but it ensures that unused pieces, such as from an expansion, aren’t used improperly or find their way outside the box. It also makes it easier to determine which pieces are actually missing and, perhaps, if the board game should take one less person next time you play.

Organize Alphabetically

Resist the temptation to re-sort your board games library by type, date purchased, mood, number of players, length of play, length of players or anything other than alphabetically—the system Dewey Decimal wished he’d used. Because let’s be honest: implementing a custom sorting system is ultimately a means of procrastination. In fact, why aren’t you done yet? Spring cleaning is overwhelming and achieving the status of “done” should be your only objective. So remember your ABCs and continue hacking at your to-do list until you’ve reached the magical moment of spring cleaning when you can forget about it for a year!

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