Hold On and Let Go!

A modern day dilemma rocks our household. The stacked cardboard boxes tremble. Days from moving out, we are at odds over what to do with our respective CD collections. My husband announces he has gotten rid of everything but his “core four”: The Beatles, The Stones, Dylan and…ahem…The Waterboys. Turns out what remains amounts to sixty CDs.

“But we agreed we are going to live a stylish, uncluttered existence together,” I say. Well, actually, he said it first. I’ve been trying (ever since we first met) to meet his monastic standards. I spend the morning adding stacks of music to my iTunes library. Compact disc-less, my music collection will travel ten blocks north occupying no space in the mover’s truck and requiring no heavy lifting.

My collection of Vanity Fair magazines, now, that’s another story.

Pulp: A Different Class offers a range of alternate CD covers

Pulp: A Different Class offers a range of alternate CD covers

Bjork by Alexander McQueen

Bjork by Alexander McQueen

But I’m forced to consider the nostalgia of some of the emotional heavyweights of my collection. Pulp’s A Different Class powered the partying that occupied my gap year before I got serious (well, serious-ish) and embarked on this fashion career.

And the artwork of the CD sleeve. Alexander McQueen was art director of Bjork’s Homogenic. Isn’t that piece of history worth holding on to?

Skin from Skunk Anansie looks so 90s London on the CD cover. That reminds me: I almost used one of their songs for my graduate fashion show… chose The Velvet Underground and Nico instead–speaking of which, what about that yellow banana? Most people would consider Warhol a keeper. Or what about  The Best of Fleetwood Mac, which I discovered during my A Levels inspiring me to let off exam pressure by dancing like Stevie Nicks, a big-sleeved whirling frenzy on a small-town dance floor,

I recall the cool factor that was awarded to me when I handed over fifteen quid to HMV for that Mercury Music Prize Winner that everyone was talking about.  No one’s talking about them now. Okay, that can go.

A boxed set of Bruces: They don't make men like this anymore

A Brucie Bonus: Books of photos in the boxed set: They sure don’t make ’em like this anymore–and definitely not in New Jersey…

I agree to donate Beyond Nashville:The Twisted Heart of Country Music to charity. “That’s two down!” I announce.

I go off to find my husband, no longer by direct route but by bouncing off walls of jutting boxes like a drunk in a topiary garden. “I don’t have a core four,” I tell him. “I’m not sure what system to use for what goes and what stays.” After a couple of hours of head scratching, I decide they should all go. Relics from the past, CDs look ugly in our Apple world and no one ever dusts them.

“We won’t have that much cupboard space. There’s Spotify. We’ll back up our computers. And I should get rid of the CD player too. No stylish room nowadays has one of those perched grimly on a shelf.” Instead of a mounted moose’s head from a hunting trip, it’s like a decapitated robot’s head from another era.

“But I really like the radio on that,” he says.

“You can listen to NPR online.”

“Some things are part of your growing up, like photographs. There’s no way I can part with George Harrison’s double album All Things Must Pass.”

“See, though? Even he predicted it…all things.”

I want our apartment to look like this:338c2f5fcd832ac4123a3798400d3150

Or maybe this:40 wings  - LondonWhat do they have in common? No CDs in sight.

And remember, there are koi fish in the garden. Koi fish and CDs don’t go together. Not even CDs from The Waterboys.


My debut novel, set in the stylishly appointed salons and studios of the international fashion industry, is now available. You can buy Silk for the Feed Dogs here.


  1. Ummm- you are going to miss those CD Album covers. OK – not helping. 🙂 I took mine out of their cases and consolidated CD/paper works into a “book”, they are under the bed. XO

  2. Oh interesting idea…You’ve thrown me from my secure perch…
    You made an album out of all your albums 🙂

  3. Cds were my life for a huge chunk of time – most of them I didn’t even buy. Periodically, I take them all out of the closet where they live and I purge: what I wouldn’t listen to anymore goes first but then I get always stuck with the ones that have my name in the credits (even if I don’t really like them), and those of people I worked with and liked. Or didn’t. I put them all back in the closet and repeat the process every so often, getting rid of maybe a couple. I have let go of all the gold and platinum discs, much to my husband’s horror. They don’t look hip anymore and pushed them farther down in the trash. Hope you will post some photos of your new abode.

    • Your attachment is on a personal and professional level–even more tricky! Your perspective and Dievca’s above are making me second guess my authoritative purging.
      And I’m quite convinced I could ingeniously work some gold or platinum discs into the new decor though… they’d work great with the chaise in the lower picture… 🙂

  4. I think a move is a great way of clearing and beginning again, but there are definitely things we can regret losing, so thread cautiously.
    On a lighter note my now hubby and I were returning from Oz after living over there. We had sent back a lot of our things as we had traveled a bit before heading home. However we decided that some of our clothes would not fit in at home so agreed to leave them behind. Some items had great sentimental value to me, even though they were just items of clothing, Reluctantly I left them and headed home, only to open our cases at home to discover HE had put all his back in!

  5. I did the same thing that Dievca but, instead of a “book”, I put my Britpop CDs, and that iconic Björk’s image, without their cases, in small Jean Paul Gaultier’s cardboard boxes ! XD

  6. omg good luck. I am such a hoarder. I wouldnt know what to throw out!

  7. Oh my….I remember having a similar conversation about my books and switching to an e-reader. I do read some books on there, but I cannot part with paper!!

  8. Good luck Jackie. This is an ongoing process for us. You might enjoy a film I recently watched. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2450264/. I think some of the ideas could work for apartment living as well.

  9. Oh so it went through! Fantastic news – think how zen and happy you’ll be in your new koi fish garden! Until then, well, I’ve been through it more times I care to remember, I do understand… Fortunately, there are these nice big wallets to hold all the CDs and covers we couldn’t part with; same for DVDs… Yes, CD and DVD players are both still with us!… Just in case you change your mind… you’re not alone… 🙂

    • Yes, Lia, I think I have been conned in some sneaky way. I donated 91 CDs yesterday and came home and my husband has now convinced me we’re keeping the CD player…I’ve been had! 😀

  10. Get rid of the husband would be my solution!….can you tell I am single?! As a girl who has gone back to playing and collecting vinyl I am not able to advise but I do wish you luck in your new abode. Xx

  11. We have an attic full of CDs. It’s a bad idea, but a treasure trove!

    We went to see the Waterboys a few weeks ago, & they were fab 🙂

    • I bet they were, Speccy. I loved Whole of The Moon when I was a student, dancing on a sawdust covered dance floor. But I have never been to as many concerts, readings, events featuring Mike Scott as when I met my husband, a true devotee. Although the lesser known song “A Pagan Place” makes me ecstatic. Do you know that one? If not have a listen and a shuffle about, you’ll thank me 😀

  12. Ahem Jackie…I read that POTUS is trying to keep the US green. Consider – put a CD on an oven proof small bowl; turn oven on to 250 degrees; watch the CD as it melts down the side of the bowl; take out of oven; flip it over; put in another bowl of same size and press down to make a bowl; you can use this as a bowl to hold chips; or nuts; or just as an extra bowl. CDs also make excellent reflectors that you can use to highlight the path to the bathroom in the middle of the night (consider making a disco-ball with them for same effect). They also make great beer coasters…okay, coffee mugs at a push. If all else fails, make them into a dress (plug all holes first). You’re welcome.

    • Brilliant suggestions but here’s one you missed:
      If you can squeeze your noggin through the hole they make great futuristic neck cuffs too. Rocking one right now in the coffee shop. It also catches the crumbs from my sandwich. I’m using one of my husbands discs though. Crafty, eh..? 😉

  13. Ok so you know me—I always relish a good quote and I think this one may be worth a little savoury relishing…
    “I think it’s important for people who love music to retain physical CDs or even vinyl, because it sounds so great and so much warmer than music over the internet.”
    —Norah Jones, American singer-songwriter, musician, and actress

    • Oh Norah, sweetie, you’re going to be so disappointed in me. I done a bad thing…but it wasn’t my fault! I was coerced! I didn’t get rid of any Norah Jones CDs though…promise 🙂

  14. I did much the same as dievca. I bought one of those DJ boxes with the sleeves inside which holds about 100 CDs altogether (mine holds more like 150 – they’re crowded in there).

    The box itself is plain black and looks stylish enough (I like to imagine it gives the impression that I am just about to start mixing in my living room but in reality I fool no-one) and although it still takes up space and therefore doesn’t quite beat the completely electronic library in terms of minimalism, it’s definitely much, much more compact and less cluttered-looking than CDs in individual cases.

  15. And you’ve done a bit of traveling so you know the predicament, Miss Joy. Much as I wish I could encourage in myself a monastic and nomadic relationship to things, I am too fond of having objects scattered about me. Although in saying that I parted with 91 CDs so I’m trying!

  16. Don’t know if you have the same in the States, but we have Waynes Radios…he finds old vintage radios then upgrades them for digital life. It’s my solution for moving with the times with a foot firmly in the past..the husband’s getting one for Christmas! xxx

    • Oh that’s a lovely idea. You’re always a mine of interesting ideas, Kate. I’ll have to go a-searchin for this in NYC. Really not digging a CD player on me new shelf… 🙂

  17. Hmmm I would love to know what else you might have in mind for this because I am in the process of moving this month. I’m not sure what to do with these CDs. Purging is so hard for me :).

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