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.
First, know everything you own. Second, keep good offline backups.
Both of these steps will ensure that, between your memory and your augmented memory, you’ll know with almost-absolute certainty whether you own something or not. Although written with applicable to CDs, this can apply to anything with some collectible ubiquity.
How does one know everything one owns?
This may seem like a tedious process, and most certainly it can be, however, I think it’s a necessary step that I certainly have neglected over the years. The times I’ve been worst at this have been the times where I’ve been too busy to properly maintain my catalogs.
Building and maintaining collection lists take time.
But this practice can really help us hone in on how much of a degree we want to collect in general. Over the years, I’ve almost mindlessly bought new CDs as they’ve been available in discount racks, concert merchandise tables, or as innocent grocery tagalongs.
Cataloging collections can also help us audit our ownership of other property.
At my worst, I had no real end-cap for collecting. I would indulge endlessly in whatever struck my fancy. I am more responsible now. If I’m going to a show and a band I like has a new CD, I’ll buy it, but that won’t be without at least some prior research.
Do I like the rest of their discography? Could I get this CD elsewhere?
It’s not so much that I would promote piracy, but if the band has the album on their Bandcamp page, and I might only listen to it once or twice, I could still buy it to get it signed, or, I could buy some of their other merchandise I might use more often.
So this first part about property ownership concludes with responsibility.
When we buy something, part of our responsibility toward that object is its upkeep, and if it collects dust, becomes damaged, or otherwise irrelevant because we purchased it irresponsibly, then is that a failure of ourselves or our cataloging systems?
It’s not really a failure, but it’s certainly not something to be proud over.
Let’s say that now we’ve listed out all of the items in our collections, be it CDs or videogames: make a copy of that list and have it on your smartphone, or printed out, with a timestamp, so that way when you go out collecting, you’ll be [mostly] up-to-date.
This will also help reduce physical and mental clutter.
If this is too much responsibility, reduce the mess, and sell off extraneous collections.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I took these photos some days prior to writing this essay. I’ve since cataloged and boxed up some more CDs. The once-glorious, yet painfully disorganized, CD rack is approaching its deconstruction. – Also, I forgot to add: for every album in my collection, going forward, I’ll thoroughly listen to the band/musician’s entire discography. If I don’t love everything, I’m keeping only the absolute essentials and selling/donating the rest. No need to hold onto excess I might listen to once every ten years.|
|Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.
— CD essays:
01. Albums: Move, Sell?
02. Luxury of Ownership
03. “Close Enough” Lumpings
04. Last Heard: Pre-Cataloging
05. Album Sorting Algorithms
06. Slow to Unearth
07. Declutter Then Alphabetize
08. Your Music Donations
09. Space Between Cataloging
10. Meticulously Studying Ownership
|Photos: Before/after, mainly focusing on the clutter that once held years of clutter.|
|Written On: December 25th [30 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft.|