There is a hierarchy to the cards in my collection and the best of the best cards in my collection are stored in binders.
I haven't counted the number of binders I own lately. A quick run-through in my brain says somewhere between 70 and 80. Almost all of those binders are double-bagged (two cards per pocket) so that tells you how many cards I think are special.
The majority of the cards in my binders (with the exception of the Dodgers collection) are part of completed sets or sets I intend to complete. If the card isn't part of a set I want to complete or a Dodger, there's a good chance it's going in a box.
When I add cards to a binder that is not yet completed, I will usually organize the set by team. My completed sets are organized by card number. Putting an incomplete set together by team is just an easier way to store them when a set is not finished.
When I start to get really serious about trying to complete a set, I'll put what I have of it in order by card number and leave blank spots for the cards I don't have. I did that recently for the 1981 Fleer set.
You can see the evidence of double-bagging with the card backs showing for some of the pockets.
I don't even have a 1981 Fleer want list up yet, but storing the cards in the binder this way tells me (and you) that a want list is coming. I am definitely planning to complete the set if I'm organizing the cards like this.
That's basically all there is to my binder rules:
If the cards are in a binder, I have completed or intend to complete the set.
If the cards are in a binder, they are Dodgers.
But recently I violated that rule with a set that I never intend to complete.
Tell me if you've ever done this:
The cards that belong to sets I don't plan to complete are stored in boxes. I put them in order by brand (Topps, Donruss, Fleer, Score, Upper Deck, etc.) and then in order by team and then in order alphabetically by player.
That works quite well. Even though they're not as protected as if they're in pages and even though I go through them a lot, I don't mind if they get nicked up a little. They're not my most favorite cards. It doesn't matter.
Except if it's 1990 Score. Nicking up those cards drives me crazy.
Out of all the non-black bordered sets, dings and nicks show up on 1990 Score more glaringly than possibly any other set. I don't look at the 1990 Score cards I own much because, really, who cares. But whenever I happen to come across them, I am always noticing dings on the corners or paper loss on the edges. The bright-colored borders really show them off.
Finally, I had had enough.
I put my 1990 Score cards in a binder.
To part of my brain, this is beyond stupid. I don't care about this set, I have no intention to complete it. Green-and-yellow together makes me irritable and scrunchy.
But not nearly as irritable and scrunchy as seeing nicked up cards sitting in a box.
Because I don't have any attachment to this set, I didn't want to spend much for a binder. I just went to the dollar store and grabbed the flimsiest, most appropriate thing I could find.
Danger, 1990 Score inside.
I probably should have done this for 1991 Score instead. I like that set more, have more of the cards from it, and the cards from that set tend to get nicked, too.
But I don't intend to complete that set either. So one thing at a time here when I'm breaking my binder rules.