Author Topic: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection  (Read 6821 times)

Trudie

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Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« on: January 15, 2016, 10:25:09 AM »
I'm no longer a big book or CD buyer (use the library) and am looking to pare down my collection.  I know of the various ways to sell, donate, and otherwise get rid of it so am not asking for input on that.

My questions have more to do with how mustachians have decided to keep or get rid of various aspects of their collections?  What criteria do you use?  I'm going to digitize a bunch of the music.

Do you have emotional attachments to things?  How do you break them?

SomedayStache

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2016, 10:31:18 AM »
Following because we have  5 or 6 six milk-cartons full of CDs.  They've been sitting in a close for literally years untouched.  My husband doesn't want to trash them.

stlbrah

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2016, 11:04:28 AM »
I recently got rid of all of my cds. Its not like they are ever going to be worth anything like vintage records, so no point in keeping them.

Delancy22

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2016, 11:11:35 AM »
I have spent the past 3 years going through my book collection and have gotten it from 3 and a half tall bookcases to only 2 shelves on a small bookcase, and am still in the process of reading them.

I first went through and sorted the ones that I had read and the ones that I hadn't. Of the ones that I hadn't read, I asked myself if I would ever read them. The ones I wasn't interested in were the first to go. Of the books that I had read, I asked myself if I wanted to read them again. Same thing, I gave away the ones I didn't want to reread. I'm still working on reading them all (almost done!) and then once again I decide if I want to read the book again. I only want to have books in my possession that I know I will read again and again over the years. I also have a few older books that I think are beautiful so I'm keeping them as decorative books. I think once I've done I'll have less than 20 books total. I've only bought one book since then, but it's one I have repeatedly borrowed from the library and wanted my own copy since I love it so much.

I did not have a big CD collection so I digitized them and gave them away without any thought.

I tend to get emotionally attached to things but once I realized that I couldn't remember any of the books I had given away, it got easier. Also knowing that if I did regret giving one up I could always get it from the library, but that has not happened.

hops

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2016, 11:21:20 AM »
In the course of pruning over 500 books from my personal library over a period of three years (a task completed around 2012), I found the most helpful way of putting things into perspective was to survey all the shelves and stacks and honestly answer what, if anything, each title meant to me. What might I reread if stuck at home for weeks or months due to injury, illness or natural disaster? What were the books that spoke to my heart and, in some small way, could explain to my survivors things about who I am and what was meaningful to me, if I died tomorrow?

Applying that criteria, it was easy to purge things left and right. My fiancee views material objects, especially books and CDs, differently. Even if she hasn't played an album in 15 years (and uses Spotify for 99% of her current listening), she can vividly recall all the ways its third track defined her life during the summer leading up her sophomore year of high school, and it makes objects so alive to her that it's hard to part with them. That's a trait commonly found in hoarders, as described in the book "Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things."

In fairness, she was hardly a hoarder, but after we borrowed "Stuff" from the library she gained more awareness of the fact that the true meaning she assigned to most of her possessions was all in the memories. The presence of a stack of dusty CDs or increasingly worthless DVDs added nothing to her life and only made it feel more cluttered. For her, what has been most helpful is to continually revisit things. In May she was reluctant to get rid of anything, by the fall she was willing to part with a little, and within the last week she's gotten rid of a lot; she just needs time to adjust to the thought of living without possessions she'd previously considered indispensable.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2016, 11:25:54 AM »
We routinely clear out our books -  even though we aren't big shoppers, books always seem to multiply in our house. For pleasure reading, I just determine if I really see myself rereading the book in the next 6 months, or if I have a family member who would like to borrow the book. If the answer is no, then it gets sold or donated.

Textbooks from grad school and other technical readings are harder for me to get rid of ("but what if this becomes really useful!?"). Now, 5 years after school, it is time to get rid of them. I haven't opened them once to use as a reference in the last few years. Might as well sell them if I can.

Edit: We have had good luck using sellbackyourbooks.com to get rid of textbooks fast. Sometimes they don't pay as much as you could get if you sold it via amazon or ebay, but if you want them gone asap, it's a good option.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2016, 11:51:48 AM by little_brown_dog »

lbmustache

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2016, 11:29:36 AM »
I just tossed them - maybe I gave some to the library? This was a long time ago when buying CDs was still relatively popular.

I digitized them on my old computer, but that's a huge waste of computer space, for me. I bought a newer computer and I just use Spotify now.

There's a weird attachment to music. I don't know how to explain it. Throwing CDs away was painful. So was getting rid of iTunes and relying on music I don't actually "own." Lots of stupid thoughts like, "what if Spotify ceases to exist," "how will I live without my music collection." But I didn't even use iTunes anymore, and when was the last time anyone listened to a bunch of CDs?

Mustachians clutch your pearls: a lot of newer cars do not even come with CD players anymore, it's going the way of the tape deck. :O

So yeah. I get the mental block in dumping it. But I feel much "lighter" and better for it. It's just a piece of plastic that's taking up space and energy.

I kind of did the KonMari thing but with a "fire" situation (not FI/RE). If all of your CDs got burned down in a fire: would you care? Would it be momentary panic but you'd ultimately be okay with it? I realized that if they got burned down I would have just said, "good riddance!"

I just donated bunch of books a few weeks ago. You can do the library or there are places where you can send them to troops or inmates.  I know there are a lot of books I read that I will NEVER read again. All of them went to the library. I now only buy books on my Kindle - and I bought one specifically because I ran out of space to keep books.

Next step is DVDs. I don't have too many but good lord these take up a lot of space and for no good reason.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2016, 11:32:29 AM by lbmustache »

Noodle

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2016, 12:49:34 PM »
CDs: I'm not an audiophile, so I just ripped all the CDs to my hard drive and tossed them. I have them backed up on another hard drive as well.

Books: I have a few categories of books I keep:

1. Professional books that either are not available on digital (almost everything in my field, honestly) or rely heavily on illustrations. I have one bookcase full of these books at work.
2. Books that I know I will want to read again and again. The Terry Pratchett Discworld series, a couple Connie Willis books I love, a few romances that I like to reread, etc,
3. Cookbooks--I do not like to have my iPad in the kitchen. Plus a lot of them are older and not on digital.
4. Books with sentimental value--signed copies of books by friends and colleagues, my Christening and Confirmation Bibles, etc. Maybe 1 shelf of these.

I also have a stash of books that are not available on digital cheap or free at the library in any format, that I have come across relatively inexpensively. I have a very long to-read list so when I come across low-priced items on it that I know are not at the library or low-price digital, I go ahead and pick them up. Those will get sent out to the library book sale as I finish them. I have a collection of vintage books that I enjoyed when I was younger but I have not yet resolved to let them go. They don't take up a lot of space.

DVDs: I tossed the cases and put the DVDs in a book. I have a collection of "Kids Movies I Can Stand Watching" for the nieces and nephews, (mostly Pixar and Disney) and a collection of "comfort movies" that I want to be able to watch anytime. There are probably movies in there I wouldn't watch again but I haven't seen a need to weed as I have plenty more pages in the book.

sonjak

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2016, 01:38:22 PM »
I haven't purchased an actual CD in a long time (although I usually buy one or two Christmas albums each year).  Mostly I'll buy the songs I like on Amazon or download the whole album.  I actually rarely buy music but do use the library a lot to listen to old favorites and try new ones.

I really enjoy listening to CDs in my car for shorter drives around town.  I mostly only do this when I really like the entire album.  For longer drives and road trips, I use my MP3 player and enjoy the variety of random play.

I tossed all the CD cases and keep them in a big album case so they are much more compact than they used to be.  I put my actual DVDs (minus cases) in there too so one case for all.  :)

Books?  I almost never purchase new but I do like used books and love to buy a bag or two for $5 a bag at the library's annual sale.  I only keeps ones I know I will read again.  I read a lot so my favorites I might read every year just to revisit old friends.  I use the library a lot for everything else.

FLBiker

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2016, 03:05:38 PM »
I used to have a bunch of both.  In my 20s, I moved around a lot, but I kept a library @ my parents house, and accumulated a ton of books during 5 years in Asia.  I've ditched the vast majority of my books (sold what I could, made very little, gave the rest to library).  I now have 2 or 3 shelves (on one bookcase).  And I sold almost all of my CDs (a few hundred) for $2 per via CL.  I couldn't believe it when they guy paid me for them, but this was in 2006.

In terms of what I kept, I tend to keep "reference" books (meaning books I'll refer back to).  For me, these are mostly on gardening or Buddhism.  I also have some favorite fiction that I haven't made myself part with (maybe 1 shelf) but their days might be numbered.  I just use the library for everything now.  As university faculty, it's pretty spectacular.

For CDs, the few I kept physically are band that I am friends with, or CDs that I bought post-purge at live shows.  I'd say I have less than 20, all told.

Many of my most precious "sentimental" things were lost.  I had a huge (and, stupidly, uninsured) box of D&D books and comic books that were lost in the mail.  The cash value was probably around a grand, but the sentimental value was greater.  That said, I miss them surprisingly little, which has been a helpful lesson about stuff.

MsPeacock

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2016, 03:44:40 PM »
I took all my CDs out of the cases and put them in a binder w/ plastic sleeves designed to hold the disks. Now the CDs take up very little space and I can keep them in a side table drawer.

I am working on the book issue. For much of my life I kept almost every single book I read. I've gotten rid of about 1/2 of them at this point. I bring home a empty box from work and tackle a shelf or two. The reality is that if I desperately wanted one of my books again I could easily get another copy online. I've donated the books to various charities or put them in a local "little free library."   So, realizing that I can get another copy has helped, as well as evaluating if I or anyone else is actually going to read that book again or somehow suffer from it's absence in the house (the answer is nearly 100% no to that question). I am a much more voracious reader than almost everyone I know - so the reality is also that I won't run out of books to hand to friends off my shelf if they happen to want one, etc.

http://littlefreelibrary.org/


The_path_less_taken

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2016, 09:20:29 PM »
Sorry: I'll never be a book minimalist.

I think nothing helps insulate a cold wall like a nice layer of hardcovers...Now that I'm in a small house it's a constant challenge though.

CD's...I also think some should be kept. Not that I'm stocking up for the zombie apocalypse...but a few emergency ones of tunes you can't live without. You put one in an old ghetto blaster, the horse kicks it over and it all breaks....no big deal. Meanwhile you had outdoor music while you weeded the garden.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2016, 11:24:36 PM »
I've slowly been moving towards book minimalism for several years. I've gone from 1000+ books, to about 30. I used to think I'd grieve the loss, if I were to get rid of my collection. That one day I'd reach for that one book I read that one time, and it's absence on the shelf would be unendurable. Or that parting with a book would somehow make me forget the emotions it caused.

Then I started using the library heavily, and I realized that I never struggled to return a book. I didn't feel possessive towards them, and I didn't fear I'd lose the feelings the library books evoked. They fell into a completely different categorization in my brain. It was pretty easy to extrapolate that realization to my personal collection. Now I only keep the books that truly speak to me. 

Having a Kindle also helped a lot. I do keep my electronic life somewhat tidy by delete books I didn't care for, but I don't mind keeping electronic books hanging about. They are so much easier to dust.

Of course, if the zombie nuclear winter apocalypse ever does come, my personal kamikaze run will be to the library. To rescue some books before anyone burns them for toilet paper. So all this zen-acceptance is predicated on society staying together, and the internet staying a thing. But I think that's an okay bet.

Squirrel away

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2016, 03:08:05 AM »
I have one paper book (it's a PF book and I haven't read the whole thing) and one sleep/insomnia CD left in my house.:) I just donated everything and didn't bother to sell.

My husband has all his CDs, many boxes of vinyl records and about 10 books but he still wants to keep them all. Argh.

gaja

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2016, 09:09:39 AM »
We went from several walls to a few boxes of books in the latest move. My family has a summer house, and most of the children's books and some of the classic litterature we had went there. My siblings and I use it as a family library, taking the stuff we want, and returning what we don't want anymore. All my pocket books, including the beloved Discworld series, went to the charity store. Instead, DH got me a Kindle for Christmas, and I have started refilling it with all the books I love and a lot of new ones (up to 500+ now). There are just a few books I haven't been able to get hold of in electronic format, but that is probably a just an issue of time.

My CD collection was one of a kind. Some of the music had been recorded in Greenland in the -70s and digitalized in the Faroes in the -90s. Not easy to find on Spotify, in other words. But as soon as DH had uploaded the discs to my computer, I uploaded copies to iCloud, and got rid of the physical CDs.

We don't talk about the LPs.

Conjou

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2016, 10:52:17 AM »
Music CDs were easier to get rid of for than books because the audio experience for me didn't change from CD players to iPods or whatever. I kept one cd that was my crutch in college but it will go at sometime since I don't have a player beyond my computer.

Books-- I am a professor in a place without a research quality library, so I have some books on hand for reference and easy access, but mostly I have gone to interlibrary loan, good note taking and summary prep, and easily downsized by 800 books. My fiction habit is also now 100% library based when I am home, or thrift stores or free exchange shelves at hostels and libraries when I travel. When I travel I spend a lot of time in deserts or wilderness without wifi or power so having to keep a device charged is a hassle. I don't like reading screens anyway. So paper books are still something I value but I have emotionally moved away from having to own them. When I retire I will be able to get rid of the rest of my reference books as well.

One mental adjustment that helped me was when I realized I am not able to read more than a hundred or so books a year. If I live a full life to 70 or 80, that is only a small dent in the number of books out there to read. I probably won't re-read what I have already read. If I have re-read a book, I keep it because I will probably do it again, but otherwise they go because there are more new ones to be read. Outside my office I keep a table where I put books out for students to take free, trying to encourage the habit and love of reading and it makes me feel better about not keeping the books on a shelf for myself.

Mongoose

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2016, 01:23:57 PM »
Quote from: Noodle link=topic=49494.msg939200#msg939200 date=
Books that I know I will want to read again and again. The Terry Pratchett Discworld series...

+1 I have kept this series and some Robert Parker books that DH and I reread quite often. We also have a few others. As both of my favorite authors have passed away, I can't quite imagine buying many/any books. We are down to 1 tall bookshelf for us and one for the kids (from 8 overstuffed shelves for just us). Four moves have encouraged us to constantly rethink our collections. We have kept only often reread books, reference books and a few that are non-fiction that we weren't sure about. We have a nook but don't use it a lot. Electronic books don't seem the same.

I love the idea of transferring CDs to a hard drive plus backup. We don't have many though. We do have a some VCR tapes that I would hate to lose. I think we have a vcr to DVD converter but am not sure if we could theN get them onto a hard drive. I'm not very tech savvy.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2016, 01:36:11 PM by Mongoose »

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2016, 04:34:06 PM »
We went through all our bookshelves today, as it happens.  It's 12' of wall, about 7.5' high.  We got rid of four diaper boxes of books--probably 6' worth of shelving.  The ones we got rid of fell into one or more of the following categories: A) haven't and/or won't get read, B) we have duplicates, or C) they're tattered and torn beyond repair.

samburger

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2016, 10:48:12 AM »
I first went through and sorted the ones that I had read and the ones that I hadn't. Of the ones that I hadn't read, I asked myself if I would ever read them. The ones I wasn't interested in were the first to go. Of the books that I had read, I asked myself if I wanted to read them again. Same thing, I gave away the ones I didn't want to reread.

This worked for me once I figured out why I was so attached to my books... But first I had to figure out why I was so attached to my books. That's the tough part.

Why are YOU so attached to your books and music? For me, it was mostly identity stuff. I've always identified as a big reader (I majored in literature), and a massive book collection is de rigueur for any real reader. It's a status symbol, of sorts. Once I started to look at it that way, my big book collection started to seem as ridiculous to me as a BMW.

That said, it's still taken me years to prune my collection. Doing it all at once was too painful, but it's easy to pull 50 books every few months or so. Slowly but surely the collection dwindles.

horsepoor

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2016, 11:09:02 AM »
I basically got rid of all of my non-reference books, which left me with gardening, horse-related and cookbooks.  Within those, I put them to the test of whether I actually refer to them.  Most of my cookbooks got the heave-ho because for things like a BBQ ribs recipe, I'll just go online and find one.  So I kept my books on fermenting, and canning, and then a few really inspiring cookbooks that I like to leaf through.  For novels and any other non-reference books, if I really want to re-read them (not likely), I'll just purchase the Kindle version later.

For CDs, I just threw out about 50 that I hadn't listened to in years.  I've still got two giant CD wallets full of discs because I need to cross-reference them to iTunes and rip the ones that aren't in there yet.  I do listen to CDs in my car, so I don't plan to get rid of all my CDs, but I'll probably challenge myself to get down to one CD wallet by getting rid of CDs I won't listen to in the car.  WRT new cars coming without CD players - my car is a 2012 and ought to last me at least another decade, so not going to worry about that just yet.  And my truck still has a tape deck; I only WISH it had a CD player. ;)

We won't talk about the big cabinet crammed with DH's DVDs.

tobitonic

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2016, 11:24:10 AM »
I keep music on my computer and have almost no physical CDs besides a few I burned for family road trips in the car. I get new CDs from the library.

I also use the library for books, and very, very rarely buy any besides cookbooks, which I only buy after having checked them out and used them.

freezerburn

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Re: Minimalism applied to CD and book collection
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2016, 01:02:30 PM »
...
My questions have more to do with how mustachians have decided to keep or get rid of various aspects of their collections?  What criteria do you use?  I'm going to digitize a bunch of the music.

Do you have emotional attachments to things?  How do you break them?

When I moved to a smaller house I purged a bunch of books. Criteria: I culled everything that was a reference I'd no longer need (e.g. freshman-year college textbooks) and anything that I'd be able to get from a library. I saved things that have sentimental value, things that I still refer to or want to read in the next year, and things that I like as objects (art books, etc). I got rid of about 5 boxes total. What I saved would likely fill about 8-10 boxes. I'd been much better about weeding out my CD collection over the years, so what I kept there is negligible--mostly rare stuff. I got about $70 from selling the decent editions, and donated the remainder to a thrift store.

I definitely have emotional attachments to things, for too many reasons to go into here. If I know I need to get rid of something but feel an irrational emotional tug, I'll take a photo of it before I get rid of it. This seems to help assuage that need to cling onto the thing itself--it's the object as memory document that inspires that emotion, so taking a photo works to do that for me. It's very rare that I miss something I chose to jettison.