To Every Thing There Is a Season

I have a friend who has an amazing album collection. He collected and curated through the 70's, 80's and 90's. He's slowed down in the digital age; though he'll argue vociferously for the superior quality of vinyl over digital recording, the ease of the download has caught up with him.

This collection has started to cause him pain. It takes up a lot of space, he's constantly trying to keep his tiny children from trashing the records, and his long-suffering wife is beginning to eye those shelves with a proprietary gleam in her eye. 

Collections are tricky things. They generally represent time, place, and passion, and invoke a deep sense of nostalgia. Some collections lose their luster over the years, and are easily discarded. (I'm thinking  about my childhood rock collection.) Others are intrinsically tied to a particular phase of your life. For my friend, the very idea of getting rid of his albums feels like a negation of his younger self. Tossing his collection to make room for wedding pictures and Disney videos? His 20-year-old self likely mocked adults who "sell out" that way. So what to do?

Heck, if they really bring him joy, he could start playing them again! Maybe the whole family will come to love this collection as well, and it will take pride of place as a part of their family culture. Upon reflection, he might find that although he loves them, there aren't that many albums that he still wants to listen to. In that case, maybe he could decide to keep the 25 records that really feel like talismans of his youth. Hang them on the wall where he can see them regularly; bask in those memories.

We throw out lots of excuses for holding on to things that don't serve us. Dig a little deeper; if the value of an object is truly what's keeping you from discarding it, sell it and be done. But the real reason may be that your things may have become stand-ins for your experiences and an earlier iteration of yourself.  Even items tied up with positive emotions can weigh you down. Stuff that is buried in closets and basements does not bring joy, so why bother to keep it at all? Bring those things into the light, love them, appreciate them, then let (many of) them go. You'll create more space for new experiences and other loves.