Over the past year, I’ve slowly gone through the vast amount of junk and other possessions of mine that have for the better part of a decade sat idle in our basement storage area. This weekend, I finally got around to my collection of music (CDs), video games (Nintendo and Super Nintendo cartridges), and movies (VHS and DVD) – much of which goes back to my childhood.
With today’s world of streaming digital, it should come as no surprise that such a collection of old media could seemingly go an entire decade unused. After spreading everything across the basement floor, I immediately became overwhelmed with the sheer amount of stuff to go through. Not only that, but the thought of giving away such a large collection brought on a variety of mixed emotions. Thankfully, the more rational line of my brain kicked in. Even if I were to continue holding onto these items, I knew fair well that they would go another 10 years and beyond without use while also taking up space. Keeping them no longer seemed practical.
I sorted through everything and made two piles – one large pile to donate and a much smaller pile of sentimental items to keep. While preparing these piles, I was wondering how technology might continue to change over the next 10 or 30 years and how we will consume our media by then. I also wondered if the day will come where I regret not having kept more of my collection. While record players have made somewhat of a come back amongst a niche group of music lovers, I can’t imagine the same happening with CD players and old stereos.
I thought attempting to sell off anything I could so that I’d at least make a little something. I also thought about possibly transferring my CD and DVD content onto an external hard drive before donating, so at the very least, I could still maintain digital possessions of such media. But I also figured I would probably never care to spend the amount of time completing such efforts. At this point, I just wanted to be done with it.
Of what I did decide to keep included a handful of old movies that had sentimental value to me, such as ones that I remembering being my first movies while others were ones that I had repeatedly enjoyed watching with my parents. There was no way I was parting with either of favorite albums from my high school senior year, 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” and Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint2.” Albums that were sentimental to both my wife and I from when we first began dating were keepers, in addition to the two original Nintendo controllers that date back to when I was about five or six, of which had been used and held by my late grandmother, who passed away when I was nine.
Of the large group of things that I did chose to part with, one reoccurring thought supporting my decision was the sheer number of CDs that were simply one or two-hit wonders. No matter how many times as a teen I replayed “Act Like You Know Me” from the Three 6 Mafia album “When the Smoke Clears,” there was not a second song on that CD that I ever listened to. If the day comes in 30 or 40 years where I really want to re-listen to that lone song, I’m willing to bet that I won’t have much difficulty in being able to do so, irregardless of how media and technology may have changed by then.
After finalizing my donation pile, I recognized that I was still feeling overwhelmed. I took a break and came back later in the evening with a fresh set of eyes and mindset. After sleeping on it further and giving everything a third look over the next day, I was confident with my decision and took the pile of stuff to the nearby Goodwill store. I felt a sense of relief while driving away knowing it was done with.
That was until I began thinking about the many boxes of books and basketball cards being the next things I ought to go through.