Is your pipe collection getting out of hand? Does your collection have a focus? For that matter do any of your collections have a theme? Honestly, do you even consider an item’s location within your collection when deciding whether to buy the item or not? If not, it is time for some consideration.

I collect pipes, watches, pens, and guitars. Ok, and for those that know me well, I did at one time collect ex-wives, but we’re not going to get into that topic!

Over the past number of months and years I have been downsizing my lifestyle. Less is a good thing, right? From wardrobe through just stuff I have acquired over many years. When you begin this journey, you realize that you have spent a boat load of money foolishly.

I’m not going to try and assess all my foolish purchases, but focus on pipes, as far as a collection. Maybe going through this will save you from just adding for the sake of adding rather than putting something significant in your rack that you will never want to get rid of.

The first step is to look deeply at your collection and figure out if indeed there is some rhyme, reason, or association with the group of pieces. Similar shapes, brands, finishes etc. Are there specific ones that you reach for more than others? If so, why? Shape comfort? Weight? Smoking quality? Stem material? What is it about these pipes that always draw you to select them over the others?

You may find some specifics with these, or you won’t. If you do not, then maybe this article isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you do, this might be worth continuing and giving further thought to.

Each of us will find different methods and reasons for lessening a collection. I will only offer mine.

I laid out all the pipes in my collection and created three separate groups. Group one are only pipes that were gifts or carry sentimental value. Group two are those pipes that I reach for more than others and those that smoke extremely well. Group three are those that I rarely ever reach for and have just never performed the way I’d hoped for.

Now that I have my three groups, I pulled each pipe from group three that had those attributes that meant something to me. Either the brand, shape, stem material, weight or whatever almost put them in the other two groups.

I then re looked at group two and returned to group three the pipes that did not fit my needs. How I figured out my needs over my wants will be found below as you continue to read, if you’ve reached this point.

Everything left in group three are pipes that require new homes. This may be a bit traumatic to deal with. For me a large decision needed to be made, since I was collecting two specific shapes of pipes.

How I decided which shape of the two was going to be the focus was done without a single sentimental thought. I only looked at the two shapes from their practical use as it fit into my needs. These factors were ease of travel, weight, chamber size, and how easily they were to deal with when driving. Your factors may be vastly different and should be thought out carefully.

Ease of travel related to how easily I was able to pack enough pipes to be away for a week. Why a week? With two or three bowls per day, seven pipes would allow me enough time between each pipe for them to rest, even if the trip was for a month or many months.

Weight and size became even more factors when thinking about the above. Learning to pack less is a challenge. Fitting seven large pipes into a carry on suitcase is not easy. Safely packing pipes with thin shanks can lead to disaster.

Chamber size was a little more difficult to figure out. It came down to how much time do I think I will be able to dedicate to a smoking session. The less time you think you may have the smaller the chamber.

Since I smoke when I drive, I also took into consideration how easily I was able to fill a bowl while driving. When trying to light a pipe, while driving, was the top of the bowl in my line of sight or below? It is much easier to light a straight pipe, when driving, as opposed to a half bent or full bent pipe. Do I need to take my eyes off the traffic in front of me when smoking my pipe? If I do, best select a different shaped pipe.

With all these considerations contemplated I was able to determine which pipes from my collection would be staying and which would be leaving. I am now also able to view a great number of pipes and eliminate the majority since they do not fit my needs. Oh yes, I see lots of pipes I’d love to have, but then in a year or more I’d be going through this process all over again.

We can all make excuses for why we need another pipe. I’ve been doing that for the better part of fifty years. If you focus that direction on true needs, not wants, you may find greater satisfaction with your collection. The end game is not quantity.