Living Lighter: Paring Down the Media Collection

Living Lighter: Paring Down the Media Collection

If you followed the 20/20 Home Cure then you probably attempted to declutter your books and media and even go on a media fast. This can be a particularly tough and personal challenge for a lot of people. But the battle to live with less can be won!

For most of my life I was an avid music collector — I love music, having the actual disc in hand and reading through the liner notes was soo exciting. And when the digital age of music started emerging I definitely resisted — the music experience was not at all the same. Once my fiance moved in together we somehow managed to collect a large number of movies, though typically they were only watched once. While having our home burgalarized and our stuff stolen (a number of times) was the primary agent in changing our media habits, our way of dealing with our media collection could be applied to most peoples lives.

Minimize the Collection
A few years ago we got an Apple TV, which changed pretty much everything about the way we buy and store media. It was actually a very easy and swift change, and gave use the opportunity to live with less. We ripped all of our music and movies onto a hard drive, which is connected to our computer and the Apple TV. Even though aquiring the Apple TV cost a decent amount of money, it quickly paid for itself because we stopped buying movies and TV shows altogether. With the device we could rent instead of buy, and we've embraced the space saving nature of digital media. Gone are the days of numerous pieces of equipment for entertainment and storage for CD and DVD collections. While I wouldn't always recommend buying something to get rid of stuff, in this case I definitely reccomend this device or something similar.

With regards to books, we haven't yet latched on to the e-reader concept, but I'm sure we will eventually. Most of what we keep are school and textbooks; my fiance is continuing his education and his books are obviously essential to his current needs. In general both he and I will continue to reference books related to our professional fields for the rest of our lives. For all other reads, we primarily rely on swapping with other people or we use the library, as these are books we typically don't need after reading, though there are certainly a few keepers!

How to Get Rid of The Collection
If you can't get rid of all the media in one big chunk, try for Maxwell's tip for starting with 25-percent of your collection. Or you could always try the method of putting it away for a few months — if you miss it or need it after that period of time, it should stay, if you don't then it should go. After we ripped our music and movies we gave everything to my mother who was thrilled to have movies that were new to her. Once she's done, she can pass them on to someone else, or donate them. Getting rid of your media collection doesn't need to be thought of as a loss, and can instead be an opportunity to share your taste and what you love with other people. Besides giving your media a new life, it can also be an opportunity to make some cash if you're able to sell part of your collection.

Moving Forward
As I've grown up I've realized I'm not one for keeping things just because. If I love it, and it has lasting meaning, then it stays — if it doesn't then it goes without a second thought. Books and movies are especially one-use items — these things that are just sitting in your house, taking up space and not being used, are not contributing to your home life in a positive way. When it comes to books, music and movies, I'm a firm believer that if you feel strongly enough about keeping it in your home, then you must find a way to put it on display. If you can't figure out a way to make your collection part of your home, then it has got to go. Let it go.

If you need to get ride of more than just media, check out this guide: How To Pare Down Your Stuff

(Image: Tech Tour: Jonnie's Junk Chic)

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