I have a very big trade binder.
Before now, I've always organized my binder by splitting cards up by format and color, then putting them in alphabetical order. It meant everything always had its own place and I could always find whatever I was looking for, but the major drawback was that every time I picked up new cards, I'd often have to shift dozens of other cards to make room for the additions. Even if I deliberately left empty spaces to allow for new cards, they'd soon fill up.
So I want to find a new system. I need to be able to keep track of what I have and find things, and I want other people to be able to find things, but I also want to minimize the drudgework of shifting cards around as much as possible. When I pick up new cards, I should be able to add them to my binder with a minimum of moving other things around.
What organizational system would you suggest to accomplish this? I have some ideas, but if someone else has a better system I'd love to hear about it.
The most logical way I can think of to organize a binder is to do it by Set, Color, Type, CMC, Alphabetical (in that order of importance). I use Gatherer to see what cards go in-between the cards I have, and leave spaces accordingly, this way you don't have to worry about shifting cards over to make room since you have the spaces where necesary.
I recommend disorganization. Organization is for storage and retrieval. I expect the contents of a trade binder to fluctuate.
Alphabetical is kind of over the top for me. If you put them by color and CMC, they should be classified enough. I mean when I'm searching for a lightning bolt, I know it's a 1 CMC card.
If your binder is big enough, you can also just do this
Page 1 : Red 1 CMC
Page 2 : Red 2 CMC
Page 3 : Red 3 CMC
Page 4 : Red 4 CMC
Page 5 : Red 5 CMC
Page 6 : Red +6 CMC
and once one of your page is filled you just add a new page to have
Page 1 : Red 1 CMC
Page 2 : Red 2 CMC
Page 3 : Red 2 CMC (extra new page with only 1 card on it)
Page 4 : Red 3 CMC
Page 5 : Red 4 CMC
Page 6 : Red 5 CMC
Page 7 : Red +6 CMC
It keeps things simple and you dont have to move any card ever again. Dont do the mistake of doing the next example because you'll end up doing a lot of shifting, buying an extra 30 pages is well worth the time you'd waste shifting anything.
Page 1 : Red 1-2 CMC
Page 2 : Red 3-4 CMC
Page 3 : Red 5+ CMC
To be honest, when I'm looking at a trade binder, I usually know what I want or know what part of my deck are more shaky. I know that my red/white deck is missing a creature with 2 CMC, if they are placed by color and alphabetical order, I'll have to look at ALL the red cards anyway. If they are placed by color, cmc and alphabetically, it will not help me anymore than if they were just placed color and CMC, the extra work of alphabetical order is not worth it imo.
If you want to go further with my first example, you can separate the creatures from the other spells.
Page 1 : Red 1 CMC creature
Page 2 : Red 1 CMC sorcery/instant/enchantement/aura/other
Page 3 : Red 2 CMC creature
Page 4 : Red 2 CMC sorcery/instant/enchantement/aura/other like the odd artifact that can only be red : shrine of burning rage
Edit there's even colored separators that can be bought in stores like Staples, I've found, black, white. green and blue separators, didnt find red, so I've just put red at the top of my binder
I've never really understood sorting by CMC; I've never once looked through my cards for ones with a specific mana cost, and CMC is one of the aspects of a card I'm least likely to remember offhand.
This is why the world is such a wonderful place, I remember the CMC of most of my cards first and foremost along with what they do, then I remember the picture and then I remember the name (if at all). I'm pretty sure I could tell you exactly what card does what with what CMC in all my decks and I'm sure I'd have a hard time naming half of them.
Keep a library-style record ordered the way you used to order cards in your binder, but with each record containing a numbered reference to a specific slot in your binder. The downside being that you have to number all the slots. I admit this is a largely ridiculous idea, but hey.
It's a trade binder. List it by value. Expensive cards in front, trade fodder in back.
By color and card types. Leave some pages after each section so it'll be alright.
For me, colour then set (starting with the old stuff, with the new at the back... makes all the Standard kiddies stare at all your old expensive stuff first).
I 'anti-sort' my trade folder.
My folder holds 9 cards a page (3x3), and I make sure that cards of the same colour aren't next to each other either horizontally or vertically, diagonal is ok.
So if a Sphinx of Uthuun is in the center of a page then there can't be another Blue card above, below or either side of it. The exeption is more than 1 of a card, if I have 2 of the Sphinxs', they can go next to each other horizontally.
I think it looks really colourful and because cards of different value are scatter throughout my folder I think it's pretty interesting to look at.
My friend has a good system. He has three binders that are split up into Legacy, Standard, and misc.
Standard is organized by whole sheets being in the same color, even if you find the color again later in the binder. It's easy to just stop at a page if you know you're looking for a certain card.
Legacy is just cards tossed in, but duplicates are side-by-side.
Misc binder is set up similar to the Standard.
Keep in mind, they are all tradestuff binders.
My trade binder is just sorted by color. I change the cards too often to use any other system. A less appealing but better system might be to do as others have said and sort it by value. Of course I would put the ebst stuff in the back to force people to look through the whole binder .
go with a rolodex. Sure, magic cards are slightly bigger than business cards but the function would be the same. They even made portable ones way back in the analog days.
I'm pretty retentive about this, I'd consider buying a second binder and splitting based on color or format (Standard vs Eternal, or Modern vs Legacy ) or something like chase uncommons and rares vs. awesome stuff (but not chase)
As long as you disregard women, acquire chase rares, it doesn't matter how you organize.
Interesting to read other peoples thoughts.
I've always used Set > Collectors number.
Usually with a page or pages to each colour to reduce the amount of card moving an with the newest cards at the back.
I try to keep a Standard folder running and then an Older stuff folder.
Foils are kept separately.
I used to have a problem with OCD, but I sorted it out...
...it's now CDO
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