Right now, my biggest (literally) problem is the comic book collection. It's not that I've ever really thought of myself as a "collector" -- for instance, I buy relatively few back issues. I just buy stuff when it comes out, and then hold onto it in case I want to reread it sometime. In the small scale, that's pretty minor. But when you read as many comics as I do, for thirty years (my first comics were the Flash and Legion of Super-Heroes, back in 1977), they tend to pile up. I counted it the other day: I have 97 longboxes of comics -- and that's not counting the full-size magazines and graphic novels. Even by my standards, that's rather nuts.
So a major project over the next two years (about which I will be talking occasionally) is Dealing With The Comics Problem. I'm not willing to just dump all of them: there really are *some* books that I am fairly likely to re-read at some point. But the majority of the collection really isn't such high priority. I'm formally trying to get rid of 75% of the comics on this pass, which should get things back to a manageable state. In the long run, the intent is to do additional passes every few years, to keep trimming things back to only the books I most care about.
That said, it's not easy to get rid of this stuff. As with the videotapes, much though I might repeat The New Official Waks Family Mantra ("I'm Not Their Archivist"), getting rid of Information is difficult. So having a little methadone for that info-addiction is sometimes useful. Which is where the new DVDs come in.
Marvel is, gradually, releasing a lot of their major titles on DVD. The Hulk isn't actually the first, and I intend to track the others down -- they came and went before it occurred to me how useful they were. Specifically, they provide a mental crutch to make it easier to dump most of the physical comics.
They're by no means perfect. In most cases, they're medium-resolution photographs of the actual comics, done into PDF: good enough to read on a screen, but I suspect you wouldn't want to print them. They're amusingly complete (ads for Sea Monkeys and all), but the sensation isn't the same as reading paper, and I suspect that, realistically, I won't do extensive reading in them. And of course, electronic formats are always subject to bit rot, so I'm under no illusion that this is a perfect solution, so I'll probably hold onto the issues that I *really* care about (mostly the best bits of the Peter David run).
But it's a useful crutch. It helps me convince myself that I really can get rid of nearly all of those issues, without regret, and that's a lot of volume saved: probably a couple hundred issues, replaced with a slim disc. Another dozen of those, for other major books, and that alone makes a good start on the reduction project. It's only a beginning (while Marvel and DC might conceivably do this for all of their really major books, that's still probably only a quarter of the total collection), but every little bit helps...