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’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.
I haven’t seen these baseboards in years! While that’s by design for CD shelving, that mentality perfectly summarizes the hoarder mindset, which I aim to reduce or stop at my next residence. It’s fine to own stuff, but to completely forget what you own to the degree I have over the years implies a certain callous disrespectfulness to the stuff itself, which needs to stop. The answer is simple: slowly unpack and deeply consider ownership.
“Think of [moving] like Tetris. You’ve gotta fit everything into one space.” In many puzzle games, you get bonus points for lumping similar pieces together. That sort of design philosophy carries over into album sorting as well. How strictly do you adhere to empirical alphabetical order? Do you count articles [the/el]? Do you lump side projects by members of a band with the band’s discography? Or do you loosely lump albums by genre or …mood?
I own some CDs I haven’t heard in over 11 years. As I’m packing up everything to move, I’m not doing a decisively thorough cut of my collections. If that means moving an additional box of CDs I’ll later sell/donate, that’s fine. I’m just doing a preliminary sort at this time. But as I put away this particular box of CDs, the question came to mind: when will I next listen to all of these CDs?
Some years back, I stopped caring about precisely tracking every single album I’d ever heard, so I started tagging those albums as “close enough.” While packing up part of my CD collection to move – with less focus on alphabetical ambitions, and more focus on lumping larger discographies into boxes – I was reminded of how alphabetical accomplishments are yet another example of how pursuing perfection paralyzes progress. Is the work good enough? Is it close enough?
I spent 5 hours this morning sorting my CD collection that could have been invested in anything else, with just two small boxes to show for it! If I could estimate the time I’ve spent looking over my collection, driving to then browsing in stores for new additions, or considering what I own versus what I need to add, the time would be in the hundreds of hours. Isn’t that a waste of time and money?