March 26th, 2005

red panda eating bamboo

Nostalgia & the Rewards of Decluttering

A while back I began digitizing old cassette tapes. Among them are five favorites tapes I recorded in the early 80s when I was working at my college's radio station (WESU 88.1 FM in Middletown, CT). I recorded one tape each semester I worked there. My radio show included a fair amount of alternative music from independent record companies so there was a lot of obscure stuff on the tapes.

I kept all my notes about my work at the radio station, including lists of what was on the tapes, in a spiral-bound notebook. So when I began digitizing these tapes, I went looking for the notebook. A couple of years earlier, I had looked through and reorganized all my old papers. I thought the notebook was with everything else.

It wasn't. I tore through all my papers several times and didn't find it.

So my iTunes playlists of these cassette tapes are woefully inadequate - in a number of cases neither I nor Google could figure out the name of the song and/or artist.

Tonight I was in the living room acting as a cat pillow and looking at the bookshelves, pondering whether any decluttering could be done. Decluttering is strangely difficult for me. I don't actually feel a lot of attachment to possessions, as in, I usually don't feel terribly upset if I lose or accidentally destroy something. But when I look at a specific item wondering whether I should get rid of it or not, I often come up with a lot of excuses why I should keep it. I guess I kind of feel sorry for it. (This doesn't extend to old pizza boxes and so forth, fortunately.)

But in my mode of contemplation I felt freed of some of that, and I decided that I might start decluttering my outmoded collection of psychology books on the second-to-top shelf. When the cat decided to hang out elsewhere, I went over there and picked out about five books to get rid of. There were several other books I figured I wasn't too likely to consult again, but some of them were Yale Press books, and I tend to save all my Yale Press books because I used to work there. And the rest were Martin Seligman books, and since I have something of a collection of his stuff, I didn't want to get rid of any of those either. Then next to the psychology was the Eastern philosophy and Buddhism, but even though I thought I was unlikely to consult many of them again, I knew I had enjoyed reading them and wanted to keep all of them.

So much for that shelf. I moved up to the next shelf, which began with music. I was tempted to skip over all the music books on principle, but I went ahead and started looking through them.

And I found my WESU folder!

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