The CD Impasse

“We’re going to become minimalists,” I announce to my two teenagers when I step in the door after two days away.

“Oh no…” says the one, looking worried.

“I don’t think that will work for me,” says the other.

“Just you wait and see,” I tell them, wise old crone that I became over the weekend.

This is nothing new, really. It’s been building up over years. I just never knew what to call the feelings I had. Until this weekend. All it took was reading a collection of articles I bought on my Moonman’s Kindle for 86p.

Minimalism.

All this time, I was a closet minimalist! I never knew it! Today I am coming out of this totally overcrowded closet. As of today, I will live openly, publicly, proudly, as a minimalist. Yes, it will take time to put my philosophy into practice, and it will take time for my family to embrace its values, but I am convinced I will take this journey, one step at a time. One drawer at a time. One pile of stuff at a time. Years of accumulation and feeling overwhelmed by my own home, will gradually be replaced by feelings of freedom, space, sanity and serenity.

So, while I waited for my tea to brew, I grabbed the roll of paper towel, chucked the gaudy stand (that always falls over) on the Hospice Pile (HP), improvised a nifty holder with a piece of wire under a shelf and hooked it up. There. One less thing standing on the kitchen counter. More openness. More space. It took all of 3 minutes.

Because my tea wasn’t quite strong enough yet, I went to the CD cupboard. This area has long been a big headache for me, and I have felt trapped inside the dilemma: CD cases ALL break eventually, and CDs and their cases all become separated. This means there are CDs with no cases, and cases with no CDs and broken cases. Everything piled into a cupboard that could be better used for other things (…Or better yet, stay empty! In fact, soon I may get rid of this towering piece of furniture altogether!). This weekend I made a final decision about the CD impasse: the cases are all going to be recycled. And while I’m at it, I am donating all the CDs that I bought long ago but never really liked. That took me about 3 minutes. Without a regret in the world, I took the stack of rejects to the HP. Then, working like a busy little Chinese person in a factory, I took the CDs out of their covers and stored them in a small box. The only concession to sentimentality was keeping a cover signed by the late Johannes Kerkorrel.

How easy was that?! How little time it took! Three whole shelves reduced to one small box. The next step, which I will certainly take soon, is to rip them all onto a flash disc. OK, I’ll make two copies. The space my music takes up will be even smaller. And then the CDs will go to the HP. And if you are worried about the lyrics on the covers, that I may (or may not) one day feel like reading, don’t: EVERYTHING is available online. And if it isn’t, I’ll live with it.

Breathe in, deeply, breathe out – what a feeling of LIGHTNESS. This is not the Unbearable Lightness Of Being, but the Very Bearable Lightness of Being.

Erica Neser © 2011

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