In the book “The Life – Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” author Marie Kondo describes the Zen-like approach of of cleaning your house, organizing, and getting rid of stuff that ‘does not have any meaning to you’ at this point in your life. Kondo has become an icon to many, to the point of her last name used to convey the meaning of throwing away, yet purposefully deciding what items need to move on from your household, office, and garage. In viewing a recent “CBS Sunday Morning” feature on Kondo, some of her fans have gone so far as to get rid of boyfriends, and move on from jobs, based on Kondo’s advice. I’ve read through the book, found it enjoyable, liked the angle and attitude. I didn’t take it to heart until recently that I thought I needed to start downsizing, much with the purpose as Kondo states in her book. My wife has been thinking along the same lines – at this time in our lives, we really don’t need all the stuff we have, and at some point, like others, be forced to make decisions on moving to a smaller place. It’s all good, because it’s just part of life, and if you make it to that point, even better for you. I agree with Kondo – what are you emotionally attached to for possessions, and why? Really, does it matter any more, as if it ever did? Family heirlooms, sure, I get it - they are passed down as part of our heritage. But really, when is it time to move on from stuff?
I thought the first thing to tackle would be my recorded music collection. Yeah, I’m pretty attached to some, no, A LOT of my cd’s, tapes, and records. I really don’t have a lot of records left because I sold the ol’ turntable years ago, and the records we do have now seem more of courtesy to our past, so there are just basically hanging out on a shelf downstairs in the basement. Most cassettes I have are of past recording studio projects, live concerts with students past, and containers of musical ideas that I’ve since moved on from, so I need to see what matters for our son, and hopefully his kids, to listen to in the future. Boy, Grandpa Mick sure had a lot of weirdo music ideas, didn’t he, kids? Hey, if it got to that point in whatever legacy I have, I’m a happy camper. So, I’m wrestling with what matters there, and have come to some concrete decisions – I’m getting rid of the majority of my ‘boomer rock’ CD collection. What the... hey, no way, bro! Truth is, if I had kept everything, I would have needed on-going warehouse space in Des Moines, from whence all this started, to house everything. I didn’t look at it as a waste, just a need at the time to de-clutter, because I moved around quite a bit as a young man. But like books, recorded music is so personal, and being one who looks at things with an artsy viewpoint, I guess, I like tactile stuff, especially recorded music – you can hold it in your hand, read the liner notes, and dig in. I’ve downloaded, and even put my own compositions as files on-line, but it’s that other thing to experience with the product. Yeah, a brother from another era, I guess.
So, the boomer rock is going on its way. I figured I’ve either experienced it enough through playing the songs in bands, or currently with my duo with my wife, solo arrangements on guitar that I make up, or I’ve just plain heard them enough times that it’s okay, I’m fine, let’s move on. Besides, there’s You Tube, if you really need the fix, right? And I would rather not waste the file space with WAV files. It’s just time to let go. So goodbye doo wop, the Turtles, Seals and Croft, the Doobie Brothers, Nazareth, and Foghat. So long to certain recordings from my metal/hard rock years, and it’s time to pair down to the ‘greatest hits’ collections for other bands from my teen aged angst past (Fleetwood Mac, sorry fellow boomers). Syonara to one-hit, two-hit wonders as well (yeah, now I question that night, two beers in, where ordering that Spin Doctors CD seemed like a great idea at the time). You know, there’s only so much time, space, and grey matter available to devote to listening and collecting.
Other recordings are harder, much more so. My Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Grant Green collections from the jazz section is going to take some time, and serious thought. If, and when, I get rid of any of those recordings, they will be going to a good family in an appreciative home. Silly it seems, but I would hate to see either “Kind Of Blue”, or “A Love Supreme” end up as someone’s drink coaster on the their patio table. Joni Mitchell, Lucinda Williams, Emmy Lou Harris, wow, tough choices as well. Jimi Hendrix? Sweet pigs in space, no way at this point, Speaking of flying pigs, all my Pink Floyd CD’s aren’t headed out the door at this point as well. Look, this isn’t as critical as a ‘do not resuscitate’ order, but, er, you get the picture. Box sets are another hard sell because it’s like coffee table books that you really like – there is so much good trabajo there, lavishly packaged in a loving, considerate manner that it’s a shame to get rid of good art. I actually spent good money on a vinyl, four CD with booklet box of Peter Gabriel’s “So” album from the 1980’s because, one, I really enjoy that album, and two, I thought it was a career-defining work. You put priorities whenever you put them, I suppose. And so it goes – some recordings will be an easy toss, while more completist works are going to take some time. So, as I go on my purge journey, I encourage you all to do the same. It’s liberating, and cleansing, in a way. Wait a minute... you mentioned “Hall And Oates Greatest Hits”? Yeah, I know – it’s always fun to crank up and dance to “Maneater”, so still a keeper, for now. Hey, good luck on your de-clutter path. Please let me know if you need support group help, in any fashion.