What’s my perfect collection look like? Diversity, uniqueness, and quality would make me feel the proudest about owning such a materialistically ephemeral collection. Those three factors must, then, guide my future collecting intentions because I know I’ll get more CDs. Is it merely enough to say that I want to focus on quality over quantity?
Compared to when I initially kicked it into high gear, I haven’t been packing as much these past few days. The analysis fatigue of processing so much data might be exhausting me. I’ve been looking at this same half-full box for weeks. Though I’m toward the end of listening to most everything in my collection, and there are some good choices, still it feels like the bottom of the barrel. I shouldn’t slow down now.
The day I wrote this essay saw a historic event for Seattle, Washington with the closure of one of its major traffic routes. Did I go? No. I spent the better part of the day shuffling my antiquated media husks. I alphabetized DVDs, prepping them to pack while listening to CDs, and decided what to keep and what to donate/sell. It was even a nice day out! Would I trade all these for digital equivalents?
“This CD smells like cleaner…” If it plays all the way through without skipping, does it matter if the packaging isn’t in great condition? I own too many “fragile” CDs that might have a scuff or two of either my own doing or someone else’s. How do we balance a CD’s inherent fragility with wanting to play them? What if we’re still attached to the idea of listening to an album outside of digital means?
I awake daily, almost violently, with racing thoughts of every remaining task. My mind will calm down as I capture these errant thoughts in my task lists over morning coffee because this forces me to remember how much work I’ve done in just about 6 whirlwind weeks. This photo summarizes that point: while it’s a seemingly chaotic mess, this is it for my CDs left to move. I’ll impulsively clutter the empty shelves, but increasingly less.
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve pondered over whether or not I own some CD, but I know the last time. I found a cheap CD in a big box store, and after some frustrating minutes, attempting to check my catalog through a spotty wireless signal, I left, empty-handed. I will never let my collections or my life get as disorganized as this and I have two tools that will guarantee that.
I can’t count how many hours I’ve spent doing data management… of albums I’ve heard. It started off innocently enough: what were all the 20 or 50 albums I’ve heard? Oh, let’s go check out some CDs at the library. At some point between then and now, this cataloging debauchery has surpassed 6,742 entries, and I also somewhere along the way learned not to focus all my efforts on filling out album spreadsheets. It’s as easy as… distraction…?
Let’s say you donate three books to your local thrift store: a book that is waterlogged, a book that is overly common, and a book that is innocently quite valuable. What happens to these three little books? The waterlogged book will most likely in the trash compactor or recycling bin. The valuable book will end up in the store. But how about that 10th copy of a book the thrift store has that hasn’t sold?
Let’s say you’re in the process of curating your collections of music, movies, or whatnots. Passing your collecting nadirs, perhaps you’ve become disillusioned with turning a profit on any of your excesses? Maybe you’ve earnestly tried selling decent stuff at fair prices, only to have to deal with timesinks: lowballer, no-shows, or arguments with buyers at stores or through private sales? What if your local thrift store is similarly disillusioned with all these old media?
After doing large swaths of work, our natural inclination is to take it easy. That’s fine if it’s just some casual work, but if it’s a large project like moving and learning decluttering simultaneously, there’s always more to do. The trick is pacing yourself physically and mentally so you can accomplish more each day, so rather than completely slow down, it’s good to idly distract ourselves. For my wildly disorganized collection, that means ballpark alphabetizing.