Decluttering: The Hard Stuff – CDs

If you haven’t been following along, I’m in the middle of a decluttering project.

This week I tackled my CD collection.


I’ve had to overcome a few mental barriers in defeating this foe.

First: my car stereo was built before iPhones were common. It has a CD changer and tape deck.

I used the 6 hats method to figure out what to do. TL;DR: when trying to think through a problem, imagine wearing 6 hats which encourage you to explore the facts, your emotions, creative solutions, best case scenarios, doubts, and meta thoughts about the decision.

I’ve been struggling with this issue for a while, because the only solution I could think of was to either keep my CDs (which are taking over my house) or switch my radio (I can’t stand the after-market options).

Wearing the green hat, I realized I already had a new tape deck convertor (which I had dismissed as too distorted), and decided to give it another try. Good news: the sound is perfect – I can’t even tell it’s not a CD.

The second barrier to getting rid of my CDs was my mental model of the cost of my collection. Of the 650 CDs I have, roughly 350 are music CDs I purchased. At $12 a CD, this is about $4,200 I’ve spent on my collection! How can I justify getting rid of such a huge investment?

$4200 seems like a big number – but think of it this way: over 19 years I’ve been buying CDs, that’s about $220 per year, or $18.50 per month.

How much is Spotify? $10 per month.

But what if I missed ripping a CD? Big deal – I can buy another for $10. What if there’s something in there I’ll really miss? Again – I can buy it again for $10! What if my tape deck in my car breaks? I can always replace my stereo for $100.

I thought briefly about keeping just my favorites – gather 10% of my CDs, and keep them for the car. Then I realized there is literally no reason to keep them! If my tape player is good enough for all of my other music, why wouldn’t it be good enough for my favorites?

There’s no reason to keep any of my CDs.

I suppose there’s an argument for higher quality music (like a FLAC conversion), but I can’t hear the difference.

So I started to categorize my CDs for Ebay, removing any that are burned copies.

One thing you learn when you’re decluttering is how little your previous efforts can mean in the long term. I remember spending so much time pulling CD books out of the jacket and putting them into my CD case; now, it doesn’t matter at all. Any of these I find are going straight into the garbage.

Listing them on eBay caused me a lot of anxiety. Here are the listings (they’ll be active for another 5-6 days):

Jazz CDs
Christian CDs
Indie Rock/Alternative CDs
Rock/Metal/Grunge CDs

But that’s done! I should have plenty of time to get rid of these (if they don’t sell on eBay, I’ll take them down to Goodwill) before my October 11th deadline!

Remaining things to deal with on my bookshelf: knick-knacks, musical instrument tablature/song notation, and special items (boxed sets, etc). Onward!


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