Can you remember the first coin that sparked your interest in coin collecting? Mine was a 1957d wheat cent coupled with a gift of a Whitman folder. Over time of course, collections grow and shrink at the same time. For most of us, our collection is never finished. It is always changing.
Unless you are a serious investor or collector, there are no hard and fast rules for coin collecting. Some enjoy being amateurs and allowing the 'hobby' to be a source of personal fulfillment. Of course we scamper about gathering as much information as possible which adds fuel to the excitement.
Maintaining an inventory of ones' collection is a matter of discipline. The benefit to the collector, is an excellent method of organizing a collection while presenting an overall view. Compare this to a evaluating a physical display of coin stacks, rolls, tubes, albums and boxes.
The actual inventory tracking method can be as simple as pen and paper or a personal computer. Your choice is up to you and beyond the scope of this article.
My collection is organized by no one set of criteria. Uncirculated coins are separated from circulated coins, as are proofs from commemoratives. Some are organized by type (ie Lincoln cents, Jefferson nickels). And of course any special sets or projects that are in the process of being assembled are maintained separately.
Anyone starting a collection will incur this obvious question of 'what am I collecting' very early on. In time one will realize that there are too many coins out there to collect. And restricting one's collection is, well, too much to ask.
My collection covers a wide spectrum of coin types, dates and grades. Certainly never boring and far from being completed (never did understand that term). About a year ago, I discovered a simple die-crack on a circulated cent.
And so began a new collection of countless minor error coins fattening up their own 2×2 pages in an album.