Tag: keeping organized

Keeping organized: the convention-goers edition

With Gen Con less than a week away, it’s the perfect time to think about how to keep organized when going to a convention. There’s always so much going on at conventions, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with everything. Hopefully these tips will help keep all you convention-goers organized at your next convention!

There are two big areas of organization when it comes to con-going: packing before the con and finding what you want when you get there. This post focuses on how I manage to keep myself organized when going to a convention, especially a big one like Gen Con.

Keeping organized when it comes to packing

First things first: a packing list is essential to making sure you’ve got everything you need for a convention. I actually started my Gen Con packing list last week, even though the convention’s next week. Starting that packing list early gives you the chance to add things to it as you think of them. Believe me, there’ll be lots on that list. I also make sub-lists for each cosplay I’m doing, to help make sure I don’t forget any costume pieces.

Keeping organized, the convention-goers edition: Notebook open to a packing list for Gen Con,.
Can’t forget the important stuff: dice, stickers, and business cards. Well, and everything else on the list.

Bringing a backpack along is a good idea, although make sure it’s not so large that you knock people out with it. Your most important or frequently needed items will likely end up in your backpack. Some suggestions of what to pack in your backpack include:

  • A water bottle, as it’ll cheaper to refill instead of buying drinks from food vendors
  • Snacks, to help keep you going between meals
  • Painkillers of some sort, like Tylenol or Advil (which will help with any headaches or sore muscles from walking so much)
  • Backup battery for your cellphone, or a spare charger
  • Money, kept in a safe place
  • Hand sanitizer, to help keep con crud at bay

Keeping track of events and vendors

Figuring out where I need to be and what vendors I want to check out is also important. Using a calendaring app, like Google Calendar, keeps me organized on the event side of things. As I register for events, I put them in my schedule, and then I can schedule meetups with friends around my registered events.

Keeping organized, the convention-goers edition: Screenshot of my Google Calendar for Gen Con 2019 - there's only four events in it.
My schedule this year is a bit calmer than last year’s – I’m only helping run one LARP this year!

It’s also handy to plan out what vendors you really want to visit ahead of time, so you can check them out first in the dealer’s hall. If there’s a map of the dealer’s hall on the con’s website, that’s even better! Print it out and mark it up with where you want to go ahead of time, so you’re not lost in the sea of people trying to buy things. For example, I already know I want to hunt down Dryad Tea (for their limited edition Gen Con tea!), Jeph Jacques’ booth (I love his webcomic, Questionable Content), and the Green Ronin booth (there are Blue Rose books I need to buy!). I’ll be hunting them down on the dealer’s hall map tonight and marking them out so I can find my way to them quickly.

And that’s how I keep organized at conventions: keep track of everything in my calendar, write up a packing list well in advance, and make note of what vendors I want to check out! Hopefully this helps other convention-goers keep organized as you prep for conventions, whether it’s Gen Con or something else! Speaking of Gen Con: stay tuned for plenty of Gen Con coverage over the next week and a half!

Keeping organized – the Magic: The Gathering edition

Welcome to another post in the Keeping Organized series – this post focuses on how I keep my Magic: The Gathering stuff organized. If you’re not all that familiar with Magic, you might think “come on, how much organizing does a deck of cards need?” Surprisingly, there’s a lot of other pieces that go into playing a game of Magic. When I started playing, I had no idea how much stuff went along with whatever deck I’m playing with. So, here’s how I keep organized when I’m playing Magic: The Gathering!

The bag

Image of a cream colored bag with the text 'Some days feel like Helvetica' on the front.
It’s not exactly a Magic-themed bag, but my inner typography nerd loves it – and it fits all my M:tG stuff perfectly.

First off, I have a bag to hold everything in. It keeps all my Magic stuff together so it’s not all over my house, and also makes it easy to grab and go when I want to play. While there are plenty of bags out there that are made specifically for holding Magic gear, I just use a simple tote bag. (I have no shortage of them, since I tend to collect them for project bags.)

If you’re looking for a Magic-specific bag, here are a couple that I’ve had my eye on:

USA Gear Deck Storage Bag on Amazon

Ultra Pro Gaming Case on Amazon

The deck box

A green, heavy-duty Magic deck box. It holds two decks of cards and also has a tray to hold extra accessories.
I love this deck box – it’s way better than the cardboard box my Saheeli deck originally came in.

This one’s kind of obvious. My deck box holds whatever deck I’m playing with, and it also holds tokens and counters that might be needed. The box I’m using now is a fancy one that holds two decks! (Eventually I’ll get a second deck.)

There are many different types of deck boxes out there, to fit any budget and any level of collecting. From simple cardboard boxes to heavy-duty storage, you’ll have no problem finding a deck box that suits you.  Here are a couple to get you started:

Ultra Pro Set of 5 Deck Boxes on Amazon

Ultimate Guard 200 Card Twin Flip N Tray Xenoskin Deck Case

Caseling Hard Case Bag for Card Games

A label maker

The same deck box shown earlier, this time focusing on the label on the front which says 'Thopterpocalypse - Izzet Artifacts Matter'.
Okay, so Saheeli doesn’t directly make thopters, but a bunch of other cards in my deck do – and it’s fun raining thopter doom on people.

While this probably isn’t necessary for those of us just starting out in the hobby, people with huge collections might benefit from a label maker. As you can see in the image above, it can be really helpful if you have a lot of pre-built decks and need to know what’s in each deck box. (Plus, it’s fun coming up with silly deck names, haha.) There are lots of options for label makers out there, and here’s a link to the one my friend J has:

Brother P-touch Label Maker on Amazon

A container for extra accessories

A tupperware container holding some small dice, a Magic: The Gathering health counter, and a dinosaur token counter.
Sometimes, simpler is better – and this is about as simple as it gets for keeping M:tG accessories together.

While my deck box does hold a fair amount of stuff, it doesn’t hold everything I need to play Magic – and that’s where my little tupperware container comes on. It currently holds health counters, dice, and regular counters, and I could easily stash extra tokens in there too. Depending on how many extra accessories you have, you might need a little more than just a tupperware container, though. My friend J, for example, has a large organizer that holds lots of counters, health counters, and other things that might come in handy when playing.

Large plastic container with the Magic: The Gathering logo on the front, holding lots of dice, health counters, and glass pebbles that are used as counters.
And sometimes, you need something bigger to keep all the bits and pieces you need organized.

You can probably find an empty container laying around at your house to use, if you need one for your extra Magic pieces.

A card holder

Wooden card holder, holding up seven Magic cards.
Best $10 I’ve ever spent.

This is quite possibly my favorite piece of Magic gear. It’s pretty simple: just a piece of wood with slits cut into it to hold up my cards while I play. This simple little piece of wood helps me see all my cards at a glance, and I can use it to keep them organized while I play. It also makes it so I can crochet or knit while I’m playing, which is an extra bonus.

Hardwood Card Holder on Amazon

Websites to keep track of my cards

I’m currently using two sites to keep track of my cards: MTGGoldfish and TCGplayer. MTG Goldfish will be more useful to me in the future, when I have more than one Commander deck.  TCG Player is definitely more helpful for me now, as it helps me keep track of all the cards I have. I figure keeping track of everything now, when I’m just starting out, will be way easier than trying to catalog everything later if I end up with a large collection of cards.

MTGGoldfish

TCGplayer

Keeping organized: the role-playing game edition

It’s no secret to you readers – I enjoy a good role-playing game, whether it’s tabletop or live action. It’s also no secret that I’m not exactly the most organized person at times – I try really hard, though. If I’m not careful, I lose track of my game stuff easily – just ask me how many character sheets I made for my Blue Rose character before I finally figured out an organizational system. (Pretty sure there’s four of them floating out there, including two versions of the digital character sheet I keep as a backup.) I can also get distracted pretty easily during games, and if I’m not careful, I’ll miss something important. After years of gaming, I’ve figured out a few ways to help keep myself organized when it comes to the various role-playing games I’m in.

Interested in learning about them? Read on!

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