Friday, October 15, 2021

Hobby - Fighting the "Pile of Shame"

 A well-understood concept in the hobby is "Pile of Shame". 

That is the accumulation of unstarted/unfinished projects and the associated product.

Not my "PoS", but probably representative of most of our accumulations

My Pile of Shame causes me all sorts of anxiety. I have a negative physical reaction whenever I look at it as I contemplate the sheer amount of work and effort that I would have to invest to complete it to a standard that I would be happy with.

Scaringly, the pile now goes back over two decades to models and kits I purchased and have never painted or built. The adjunct to this pile is its sister pile "Stuff I've Built, Painted and Will Never Use Again".

Earlier this year, I decided that I was going to do stuff with both these piles. In the first instance, it was a case of actively not buying something that I wasn't going to immediately paint. This has seen me buy only a single 40k model in 2021 (Hello Mr. Sslyth) and actually cancel an order I had put in to buy a 28mm DBMM Ottoman Turk army.

There were one or two lapses....I bought "Cursed City" - the standalone Warhammer Quest game and also the Warcry Starter Box but after a 4.30am "Come to Jesus" moment both those are now on the way out the door. I conceded to myself that even if I did build and paint them, I was unlikely to actually play them in anything like the amount of time that the prep work justified. And the thought of painting them hung over me as they peeked out from under my painting desk.

To help me rationalise this pile of shame I had an enormous clean up mid-year and sorted things into different buckets. I sorted out bits/models by armies and put them in their own bins. From there I had a hard conversation with myself as to their future. This has seen some stuff exit the house and others kept for reappraisal. As a result of this things like my 40k Tau army was sold including all the partly built unpainted extras I had accumulated. 

It also let me determine what material was excess to requirements. If I was scaling back my running of events, did I need 25 neoprene mats? The answer is a resounding "No" and so 15 of those have been sold, hopefully for use in the community. These types of decisions have freed up space but I'm now disciplined enough not to replace with new stuff.

However, the biggest advance has been with unbuilt and unpainted stuff. Sometimes you just need to realise that project is not going to get done - and hanging over you it is not going to help your mental health. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by unstarted and unfinished projects and it is enormously cathartic to have that hard conversation with yourself.

There are still some hard decisions to make - in reality that Iron Warriors army with all its Legion upgrades and Iron Hands bionics will probably never see the light of day. However there is an increase chance that with a large part of the mountain gone, I might get to finish my Juan Diaz Daemonettes and the Sea Peoples for my 15mm DBMM Egyptians!


  1. Good to see you getting your hobby Mojo back Pete.

  2. Its a constant struggle, glad to hear you are making some progress