As you donate clothing and clean your closet, empty your junk drawers, and maybe even sell your furniture in a quest for more space, do you ever wonder where to draw the line? Is there something in your home or your life that you will never get rid of? (not talking about pets and children here…please don’t get crazy!)
One of the things that I don’t want less of, is music. Music has always been a part of my life. I have been alive long enough to collect albums, cassette tapes, compact discs and all the things that play them. I remember a few 8-tracks kicking around when I was growing up, but never owned any of my own. Music inspires us to be creative, make change and take action. Music tells great stories that we incorporate into our lives. It makes us remember certain things. Have you ever heard a song that brought you back to a high school dance? A great road trip? Your wedding?
As evidence that I have been leaning towards a minimalist lifestyle for longer than I thought, about 7 years ago, I took all of my CDs out of their jewel cases and put the CDs together in leather cases. I couldn’t stand the clutter. Sure, I missed the artwork and the lyrics, but not the mess. And really, how many times did I get out the lyrics to sing along?
Now, like most of you, I am an iTunes girl, but even there, things get complicated. With digital media, you can have every song you ever thought about, and you rarely simplify or pare down your music. Like everything else, if you have too much, you miss the good stuff.
10 Ways to Simplify Your Music
- Albums – If you still have albums, you haven’t fully embraced the be more with less concept, but don’t worry, this is a work in progress! These albums may have sentimental attachment, so use this mini-mission to hold on to the memories.
- Cassette Tapes – There are companies that offer to transfer your cassette tapes to digital media but let’s face it, the quality of the cassette tape was never very good to begin with. Toss them!
- CDs – Transfer your CDs to iTunes, but only the CDs that you actually listen to. You do not listen to or like all of your music. Why save the stuff you don’t like? Donate the CDs you don’t like to someone that might.
- Jewel Cases – There is no reason to hold onto jewel cases, album artwork or promotional material that comes with your CDs.
- Boom Boxes – Even the name “Boom Boxes” is outdated, so unless you still take yours camping or to the beach, please, get rid of it.
- CD Players – Your CDs are now all on your iPod so why do you need a CD player in your house? Don’t get me started on cassette or 8-track players!
- Playlists – If you put all of your music into iTunes, the only way you will get to hear your favorite tunes is by creating playlists. Your playlists can be situational (dinner music, running music), seasonal, or organized by time (high school favs).
- Don’t save music on your desktop – Use external hard drives to store your iTunes Music and remember to back up your playlists and library. If you have to switch computers or reinstall iTunes you will lose your playlists!
- Shuffle – For a day or a few hours, hit the “Shuffle” feature on your iPod or iPhone and see what you’ve been holding on to. You may be pleasantly surprised or really offended. Take the next step and put the music that surprised you into a playlist and junk the other stuff.
- Permanently delete – Go through your iTunes library and permanently delete the media that you don’t use. I suggest going through your music alphabetically, an hour at a time. Don’t just remove from your library, but from your backup as well. How many CDs do you own that you only bought because you liked 1 or 2 songs? Dump the other 10 songs or don’t even transfer them. Gone are the days where you have to save everything. Make room for the good stuff!
If your CDs are on iTunes and backed up to an external hard drive, do you need to save them?
What is your favorite “get things done” song?
What song takes you back to a favorite memory?
After going through this process, you might find that you don’t want more music, but you want time to enjoy music more. Simplifying your media will help you reach that goal.