When I first started playing Magic, my husband and our friends tried to warn me: cards will be everywhere. It will never end. You cannot hope to contain the tide unless you are Really Serious.
My husband and I would sit at a restaurant or a game shop, sorting cards. But all too quickly, the organization was destroyed and new cards shoved into whatever empty shoe box was available.
But as I was trying to remember which boxes I had looked through and which I hadn’t awhile preparing my third Cube, I realized this (non-) system would not work. If I’m going to keep creating Cubes, I need to be able to find cards.
So I purchased a dozen white boxes, and started sorting.
The initial organization took a month, with an average of two hours a day. I found it kind of soothing, but I don’t mind repetitive tasks. Having to update, though, sucks — I finished organizing everything just as Shadows Over Innistrad was released. And the other day, I found yet another box of unsorted cards.
Still, if you are going to create a lot of Cubes and haven’t organized your collection, I recommend doing so. Here is the process I use:
1. Sort by color identity: WUBRG, Colorless, Multi-Color, Non-Basic Land, and then a separate category for Mythics.
2. Arrange by alphabetical order. That works best for me as a vorthos, but a different system (such as casting cost) might work for others.
3. Enter into a spreadsheet. Each color gets its own tab. I use GoogleDocs. I include the following information:
- Name of the card
- Number of copies I own
- Casting cost
- Keywords (trample, flying, etc)
- Themes — adjectives that describe the card
4. I bold legendary creatures to make it easier to find commanders, and use red font for planeswalkers.
I try not to wait too long before getting new cards organized, as the longer you wait, the more difficult it is to get it completed. For the initial sort, I can have TV, a podcast, or a movie on, but I usually need to be able to concentrate when actually entering information.