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burning CDs to iTunes

Minimalism Project Update – Cleaning Out my CDs

When I started systematically cleaning out my life last year, I got rid of a lot of the obvious clutter in my life. Now I’m going back through my possessions and asking myself what truly adds value to my current life. In the last few weeks, I cleaned out my CDs.

My CD Binder

My CD Binder

Like a lot of people, I saved space in college by getting a CD binder and throwing out most of my jewel cases. I had a big binder – 26 pages, 8 CD slots per page – that was mostly filled with CDs I’ve acquired since high school. When I de-cluttered the house last year, I moved that binder from the top of the dresser into a drawer.  I also had two smaller CD cases that I used when I traveled.

I suspect I haven’t purchased more than 10 CDs in the last 10 years. I certainly haven’t opened that binder since it went into a drawer over a year ago. I probably could have simply taken that binder and moved it to the pile of stuff to be donated to charity. But there was a voice in my head that was afraid that I might regret doing that and that there might be a song that hadn’t burned that I’d want to listen to later. (Because buying it on iTunes would be so expensive.) So I spent my downtime for the better part of a week going through my CD binder and burning CDs.

Some of the CDs I used to Own

Some of the CDs I used to Own

When I first got iTunes, I went through my CDs and burned the songs I loved and enjoyed off each album. Unfortunately, when I put the CD into my computer last week, it didn’t tell me which songs had been previously burned, so I had to re-burn everything if I didn’t want to check what songs I downloaded previously. I probably wasted a lot of time burning songs I’ll never listen to, but by the end of the process, all the albums I wanted were burned into my computer and I had no trepidation giving the originals away.

Burning a binder full of CDs takes a long time. I played a lot of solitaire during this process.

My Current CD Collection Fits in Here

My Current CD Collection Fits in Here

My CD binder and two travel cases have been reduced to one travel case that holds up to 48 CDs – and it’s not even full. I have a CD player in my car and there are handful of albums I rotate through it. I also kept a couple of podcasts that I’ve burned to CDs that aren’t available iTunes anymore and the backing tracks that came with sheet music books. Everything I’ve kept are albums I regularly listen to and expect to continue to listen to in the future.

Cleaning out my CDs allowed me to reclaim about half of a drawer. It doesn’t seem like much but every little bit of de-cluttering makes me feel that much more at peace.

And since I know someone’s going to ask, here are my thoughts about the legalities of burning CDs and getting rid of the originals. A lot of minimalists suggest doing this.