Is there any hobby that fits better with building a perfect sports man cave than collecting baseball cards and sports memorabilia (affiliate link)?
After all, we spend our spare time obssessing over little rectangles of cardboard that showcase our on-field heroes in their element, and we often augment our collections with various posters, gloves, balls, pennants, stadium seats, and whatever other memorabilia we can pull together.
We don’t put in all this work and invest all this emotional energy to just shove our baubles into a drawer or closet or (gasp!) safe deposit box.
If you’ve been in this game for any length of time, then you’ve surely carved out some space on a bookshelf or wall for some of your favorite cards and collectibles. But wouldn’t it be cool to be able to dedicate a whole room — or nook, at least — to your collection?
That’s where building a sports man cave comes into play.
Because a man cave isn’t just a place to display cards and posters and jerseys, eating up valuable space — done up right, a man cave serves a functional purpose or three while also giving you a place to revel in the glory of your collection.
Here are the steps you can take to make your sports man cave as inviting (and useful, if that’s your bag) as possible. And remember that “man cave” is a sort of blanket term that applies to any personalized retreat — these ideas can just as easily help you craft your she shed, kid kavern, dog den, hamster hovel, or whatever other type of santuary fits your situation.
(Note: This post may contain affiliate links to listings from Amazon, Fanatics.com, and/or SportsMemorabilia.com. If you follow one of those links and buy something on those sites, we may receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.)
State Your Purpose
As mentioned above, one of the charms of building a man cave is that it can serve double-duty: a hyper-personalized, total-immersion sports and memorabilia experience … and …
… your office.
… the family theater.
… a spare bedroom.
… a future nursery (in which case you’d have to find a new man cave, naturally).
… a home library.
… the garage.
The list goes on and on, but an essential part of getting a sports man cave off the ground is establishing a clear functional purpose right off the bat. If you don’t get agreement on this from your family — they’re people you live with and will share (or not share) that man cave with you, after all — it’ll be tough to build it out the way you want and with the fervor it deserves.
And remember, one perfectly viable option is that your sports man cave will serve as … a man cave, and nothing more.
It’s a rare occasion that you can dedicate a full room or even a corner to abject man caveness, but celebrate the moment if it comes to pass.
Find Your Space
Now that you have a pretty good idea of how the family and friends will use your sports man cave, get specific about where you’ll build it out.
Do you get a corner of the shared home office?
Half the basement?
A full spare bedroom?
The eaves of the attic?
Wherever you land, get detailed about the specifics of the space.
Measure from side to side (both ways!) and from top to bottom. Note any pecuilarities like slanted ceilings, outcropped walls, closets, chimneys, and the like.
Take note of the location of windows, doors, and outlets.
Also, make sure you understand any environmental challenges in the space … is it drafty? Super cold in the winter? Overly hot in the summer? Is it climate-controlled to any extent? Do the floors get wet (usually applies to basement settings)?
Armed with that knowledge and your available budget (see below), you can decide what sorts of items you can bring into your sports man cave, or what sorts of work you might need to do beforehand in order to make it more suitable for the items you want to include.
Set Your Budget
Now that you know what space you’ll be working with and what sort of opportunities and challenges that space presents, you need to decide how much money — if any — you’re going to spend.
Do you have to make repairs before you can “move in”?
Are there must-have items you don’t already own that you’ll have to purchase to make your sports man cave complete?
What other changes or additions do you need to account for?
And, most importantly, how much money can you afford to dedicate to your project? Establishing a range is best, so that you adjust your must-haves and “really wants” according to your developing priorities (see below) and any course changes you run into along the way.
As with picking a purpose and choosing a space for your sports man cave, setting a budget is best carried out when everyone in the house (especially the adults) agrees on the numbers.
Set Your Priorities
You’ve got your space, you’ve agreed on how it will be used, and you know how much you can spend.
Now it’s time to really plan out your sports man cave.
Most of us fans and collectors have competing priorities and favorites when it comes to our sporting interests and collectibles.
Maybe you’re a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan who also loves Peyton Manning, for instance.
And, likely, you have plenty of sports cards and memorabilia showcasing all of those on-field loves of yours.
So, how do you go about mingling your Ryne Sandberg rookie cards and Dallas Cowboys posters with your Manning autographed football and your tabletop model of Fenway Park? Do they all belong in the same space, mingling there in the confines of your sports man cave?
Or do you pick a direction and build from there?
Maybe your man cave becomes a mini, room-sized Fenway.
Or maybe Ryno’s cards take a wall, and you build a baseball man cave from there.
The choice is up to you, but it’s a good idea to have at least a loose roadmap of where you want to go before you start on your journey to the man cave of your dreams. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an unthemed hodgepodge … maybe you could call it the Card Show Motif!
(See the bottom of this post for inspiration in the form of some great sports man caves that other collectors and fans have put together.)
Build Your Space
You’ve done all the leg work.
You have your space.
You have your functional mission.
You know your budget.
You’ve picked a direction.
Now all you have to do is the actual work of building out your sports man cave to your heart’s desire. Time to dig in, pull out the treasures from your collection that need some long-neglected exposure, and put together your masteripiece.
And, if you get stuck or just want a little sports man cave eye candy, maybe you should set aside a bit of time to …
Find Some Inspiration
In this fast-paced age of instant visual gratification, there is no lack of inspiration for whatever endeavor you’re undertaking.
Building out a cherry sports man cave is no exception!
So, sit back and drink in some great man cave examples from the halls of Pinterest, and you can even click any of the image to pop over to the original pin. Beware, though, because, once there, you’ll be inundated with other tasty eye morsels that might suck you in for a few hours.
It’s an inspirational rabbit hole!