With the help of my friend and fellow Apple II user James Littlejohn, I’ve finally been going through my collection of Apple II and Macintosh gear. I knew I had a lot of stuff — too much stuff actually. It’s often been a source of friction at times with my Wife. I’ve had gear strewn all over our house from years of collecting, donations, etc. and it was high time to do something about it.

My goal is to NEATLY squeeze most of the retro-gear I want to tinker with into my basement office and use no more than 3 (maybe 4) storage racks in the garage for the spare parts I have. Oh, and still have room to work on the newer tech that keeps me employed.

Last weekend we started the initial sorting and purging. There were several times when we discovered something new I didn’t realize I had, or we found an item that I thought was lost for good. I was also able to finally get a slightly better grip on inventory. One of the best examples of how “off” I’ve been on what I thought I had in storage is Unidisk 3.5 drives. I was pretty sure I had 3 or 4 drives, but in actuality I have 13 and there might be more. Wow. They were all over the place!

James has been a big, BIG help doing a lot of the sorting, stacking and heavy lifting for me. He says he’s doing it for fun, and because he’d heard about my “legendary” collection over the years and wanted to see it for himself. In past years, I’d open the garage up to KansasFest attendees to freely pick over the extra gear and machines I had. Apparently the collection has a reputation in the Apple II community… but don’t expect roadside billboards proclaiming “Come see The Biggest Pile of Apple II Junk in the Midwest” any time soon. There are other collections bigger and more impressive than mine — Tony Diaz certainly has more interesting things (prototypes galore) and Jamie Steffens and others have tons o’ software I’d love to play with.

Purging the stuff is the hard part. Deciding on what to keep, give away and sometimes throw away takes effort, discipline and determination. I’ve been giving James the option of hauling off anything I didn’t want to keep… Well, that’s not quite right, I’d probably keep everything and be right back in the mess I’m in now. It’s more like “things I’d have kept, but realized I don’t have the room or time to deal with it anymore” type of situation. Woof! Giving the stuff away to James helps me feel better, since he won’t accept money or anything for the hard work he’s put into helping me.

I’ve dumped extra machines, premium parts, hard drives, CD-ROM drives, tape drives, Woz GS lids, misc. gear, software, manuals and much, much more that James has loaded into his 1972 Chevy bus. Yeah – he drove his bus up, and for good reason. We filled it up with stuff I didn’t want anymore. No pickup, mini-van or car would have held all the gear I gave him. I wanted to get rid of more but the bus was overflowing, and he wouldn’t load anything else on it this trip. He’s just going to have to come back for the rest.

Yah, I know I could have put some of this stuff on eBay (some of it will end up there eventually) but you know, that’s a hassle I didn’t want to deal with right now. Maybe during the next sort and purge I’ll do that. That’s THIS weekend by the way… Woof!

Updated: 10/20/08

James came up again this past weekend to help me wrap up where we left off. My home office is now cleaned out, and awaiting the new furniture I ordered. I’ll be able to move my day to day Apple II gear back in within a few weeks.

Practically every little bit of Apple II gear I own has now been “seen” by me. I now have an improved awareness of what I have (too much), and of what I need to get rid of (a lot). I gave more gear to James (we didn’t fill the bus this time), while other bits and parts are going out to Tony Diaz and other people in the community I’ve made promises to. The rest will either be posted to eBay, or saved for KansasFest attendees.