On clutter and stuff

Right now, I should be going through a box of CDs. Yes, CDs. The silver, encoded music discs also known for having creative second lives as lovely shiny wind ornaments hanging in garages across the country in a vain attempt to discourage nesting swallows or other avian invaders of domestic space.

In a time before digital download but after the charm of vinyl, and possibly inspired by the frustration of tapes, there were compact discs. CDs. You purchased the whole album for one song that you really enjoyed. If you were lucky, there were another couple of songs to enjoy. Or, you discovered the artist really was a one hit wonder manufactured by slick production and unrecognised backing vocalists.

Now this dusty box is taking up space. I haven’t physically loaded a CD into a CD player in a very long time. My last couple of cars have had CD players but the most recent playlist has been dominated by Kids Best Road-trip songs and audio books of Fireman Sam.

As dusty as the CDs
The CD player has been relegated to the back veranda. The iPod gets priority of place these days.

Yet CDs, like so many collections of ‘things’ or single items, are markers of time.

The first CD I purchased. The road-trips. The nights in and nights out. The concert we went to when live music was a thing you went to. Days worked to the soundtrack of the beat of the moment. The friends of then and friends of now. The ‘I wonder whatever happened to…?’. The cringe as I rediscover something, ‘Oh, my goodness, I have that in the collection?’. The lyrics and chorus’ that come unbidden having laid dormant (and maybe rightly so) for a very, very long time. The memories tied up with the music.

The reminiscing over ‘that’ song is fun. I can timeline my growth. From listening to a genre because it was ‘expected’ to discovering other musical styles that I enjoyed. I say, enjoyed, because as with old clothes, there comes a time to grow up, grow out of and move on. I’m heading for 40 revolutions of the sun now. At 17, it was a bittersweet symphony dusted with spice or the semi-charmed life of late teenage angst that made sense. At 18 we were Tubthumping while discovering that ‘Fire, Water, Burn’ can be a complete lyric. But at 19, we were blowing up the pokies with a brick and someones tractor was sexy while someone else had barbeque sauce on their white T-shirt and we could carouse all night, write an essay that barely met assessment requirements within 24 hours and make it to work on time. By 20, I think we were looking for wide open spaces because we couldn’t fight the moonlight anymore all while lamenting not being pretty enough. But I can’t really remember. The working, all-nighters, bar nights and CD collecting is now but a distant memory.

I’m loathe to rid myself of these CDs (if only for the reminder of the reckless dollars spent) but I don’t play them. They are just here. The time required to download them all into iTunes is more patience that I have. Is it the rise of Kondo-ism or Hygge-ism seeping through the door? Hold it close, do I love it? Does it serve me? Let it go?

Yet I want to defend the box of CDs and DVDs or, photos or, digital folders which seem wasteful or, books or, glassware or, whatever we have collected in our space that is our home. There is a fashion of minimalism, of having less to be more. I’m not suggesting that a good old clean out isn’t healthy or, cleansing. Yet, I’m not sure if living in a space devoid of personality really suits either. There needs to be some personality. Something that says the space is ours.

Or is that why I love Cranky? Because we have what we need, not the extras. We don’t have the space. We ‘try on’ a form of minimalism. We have a lightness in travel. We don’t do the ‘grab a change of undies and your passport’ style of travel. DHB and I have done the minimal thing when we’ve trekked (one day we’ll go over ‘The Power of 3’). Yet, now, we travel comfortably. The necessity to carry nappies for your smallest travelling companion will do that to you.

So I’ve made a compromise with myself. I’m going through the box. I’m making one pile to go to a charity shop. If they can make a dollar or two, that’s a good place for the CDs to go. The other pile, I’ve found a friend of a friend, who does VHS to disc and also, lo and behold, CD to USB. At the end of the day, I get to keep the music playing. Digitally, not dusty.

A compromise of sorts. A scaled down collection ready for digitising.

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