Yesterday, I dropped off one large box of miscellaneous stuff. Today, I closed the books on another large box. Over the years, I accumulated a collection of over 400 music cassette tapes. Now, I’m going through each tape to catalog whether I’m keeping it or donating it. Even after reaching the apex of my collecting habits and the nadir of my long-term goals, I’d like to send them all off the same way they came in.
I recently emptied two shelf sections; unlike months or years ago, where I’d compulsively need to fill that space with something, now I don’t have that same compulsion; it’s wonderful. The space shown below is already claimed by these boxes containing my CD collection when I can retrieve them, but I have no plans for the other space. No future tenants scheduled to move in. I’m now starting to value the freedom of empty space.
I donated around 100 records some months ago. I don’t remember how many, just their overall mass. I kept my then-favorites, most of which I’ll sell off after I sell the records in this bag. I thought of bringing this to-sell bag along to my first Record Store Day, but they were too busy selling. It was fun walking through some music shops searching for my CD essentials – Nirvana and GUITAR WOLF – and walking away empty-handed.
When I started the move-out process, I owned 171 CDs that I’d never heard before; today, 59. That 171 didn’t include 30+ I hadn’t cataloged, so let’s just say over 200. That’s obviously wasteful. I’d say I’m not passionate about listening to more than half of those 59 CDs. That said, I’m keeping them because will still listen to them all for two reasons: ownership obligation and training myself to stop buying things without using them. In other words: materialistic discipline.
“I want to support [Cradle of Filth] somehow, but I just don’t buy CDs.”
“I own over 1,000 CDs and after about the 8th CD you find a duplicate of you start to just feel bad.”
Are CDs more antiquated than cassettes now? At least with a cassette tape or record, they are glorified through high-end sound systems that encourage total focus. With CDs, if you just listen to them in the car, why not digital?
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.