Achievement unlocked: the first collection purge since 2012

[James Blake - The Colour in Anything]

In 2013, I was ready but reluctant to turn my music collection over to the digital services. My ripped library had been backed up to Google Play, and my waning interest in new releases meant my shelves filled slowly.

Then I got bit by the vinyl bug and doubled down on physical product.

It’s taken a few years, but I’m reminded now of a big drawback to ownership — space constraints.

In short, I’ve run out of shelf space, and I have little room to add more shelves.

So I’ve had to resort to a collection purge. The last time I did one was right before I moved to Seattle in 2012. Those posts about the ones that nearly got away? Well, I’m letting a few titles do exactly that.

Many of the purged discs are actually redundancies — old pressings of albums that have been remastered or expanded into deluxe editions.

But those thrift store bargains that led me to explore something unfamiliar? Some of them ended up as duds. And as cheaply as I acquired them, I can’t say letting them go is much sweet sorrow.

In the case of James Blake’s The Colour in Anything, which I bought when it was released, I should have stuck with my initial impression and left it on the store rack. (Metaphorically speaking — I ordered it from Amazon.)

When I made the decision to keep collecting — even when market forces would rather I rent — I told myself I’d keep the purges to a minimum. It’s hard not to second-guess myself when trying to decide how much I like an album occupying some much needed room. The ambivalent choices are the toughest.

But sometimes, spring cleaning is in order.

In trying to find some old files from college, I ran across some ancient spreadsheets which documented albums I had nearly forgotten I owned. I turned that info into a private list on Discogs.

In a fit of nostalgia, I tracked down some of those lost titles online — and reminded myself why many of them remain lost.

Titles I’ve welcomed back into my collection needed a change of context to let me know what I gave up. Other titles will never be that lucky.

All is not really lost, though. I still have more than enough room on the external hard drive for the rips of those departed albums to remain. And I still have my Google Play subscription.