The Record Cell may be my sanctum sacntorum, where all of my music, books, and video discs reside; along with the computer I work on, but it was never an inviting place. Our home is small, and this was the only room available for all of these things. So the room was jam-packed to the walls with stuff. All the way up to the ceiling. One could barely see the walls. There was stuff on the floor. You could barely see that. Worse still, portions of the LP racks were covered up with these boxes and piles. Rendering certain portions of the musical alphabet unreachable without moving stacks of stuff first.
It was so untenable a space, that last fall, when we took a 10 day staycation to paint the interior of our home, we declared the Record Cell room off limits and did everything else. Because the amount of things that would need to be moved would have taken up all of the time off with no time left to paint! but that has finally changed this year.
This has been a very busy summer. The long planned move to re-floor our entire home has finally happened after nearly two decades of hating on the flooring. But it’s been a lot of work. It started in earnest late last year, and was in the planning/hiring stages through spring. We would need to clear out most of our possessions to make the install as easy as possible for the crew. The notion occurred; that with the room empty, we could finally paint it [and the closets} which we had neglected last year. And when the room was empty, what better time would there be to remove the ceiling texture we also hated?
We had removed the “popcorn” ceiling texture in the bathroom years ago. It’s a big expense, but it was worth the effort to have smooth ceilings. The trillions of spiders in the woods where we live love to make webs on this surface, which then needs to be vacuumed off, leading to unplanned and imperfect removal of the crumbly texture. So trust me, it’s something you want to see go from your home. So the plan grew into: another 10 days to do the following. We would rent a storage container to put in our driveway for a month in which most of our belongings would stay while the flooring was being installed. One we filled that, The handyman crew would remove the ceiling texture and paint and plaster the ceiling. We would then prep and paint the two closets and the Record Cell room. We would re-do the shelving in the master closet. Then the flooring crew would do their work, which they estimated at four days. We would be at work again by then. As you may imagine, it was a lot of labor and expense.
Due to availability, we were not sure exactly when it would happen, but it was in late May that I started doing the necessary work to become ready for the starter’s pistol. That was when I moved all of the music/video/heat sensitive electronics to helpful neighbor’s homes. Getting the records ready and moved took two solid weekends since I needed to deep clean the plastic milk crates that held the records. I had done this once in the 18 years we’d lived there at least a decade ago. I was not bringing all of that dust into my neighbor’s homes.
The flooring was ready to happen by the week of July 5th. It was done by the 11th and since then we’ve been moving everything back into the house each weekend. I also took the time to do a radical re-think of the Record Cell. The large bookshelf was moved elsewhere, and the 800 title spin rack I had just gotten to the floor earlier this year, was deemed expendable. I made a new layout that left a maximum of floor/wall space showing. I finessed the layout from paper to reality until I felt that the proportions were good and usable. I moved in the space to “get a feel” for it and it seemed to be a huge improvement. When I looked into the room’s doorway, I did couldn’t even see the CD/LP racks from most angles! This nerve wracking space would no longer vex us.
But movement forward comes at a cost.
The Culling Is Coming
I already had at least 500 CDs [mostly singles] off rack in boxes of 25. I was now losing almost the same amount of floor racking from the two foot square spin rack going away. So it now becomes cogent to really weed and cull the music collection. According to Discogs, my collection entails about 6200 titles. But that’s only an estimate. I sit looking at Discogs [at work…cough!] and try to remember what I own, and click the title as part of my collection. To sell a title, it has to be the exact release as shown in the Discogs database. So I need to review my collection and make sure I have the right pressings noted as being in my collection. Then I can sell them.
When I sold on Discogs [2013-2018] I would list items. People could buy them from me, and I would pack and weight them; determining the exact shipping costs to whatever part of the world [usually Germany] and then charge a final cost that meant that the buyer paid as close to the exact shipping cost as possible. I did not want to make a profit on shipping, but I sure didn’t want to lose money!
But selling on Discogs has become something that is much more complex than it used to be in the last few years. The website instituted onerous mandatory shipping policies in order to make buying as seamless and happy-making as any other “one-click” web retailer. No doubt to goose an IPO or stock valuation! As a hobbyist merely thinning out my collection, it’s really challenging to take into account every possible weight/cost factor shipping to dozens of world zones. The mechanisms built into Discogs says a CD weighs this much. A record that much. But a triple gatefold 180g album is a very different weight from a cheap 70s Dynaflex LP on RCA. A CD can come in a cardboard sleeve…or a “fat boy” box. And none of the formulae take into account the weight of packaging. It takes more bulk to get something halfway around the world without damage. So I have my work cut out for me and if I want to avoid taking a bath on shipping costs [in many cases, in excess of the valuation of the disc being sold] it make me frankly break out in hives.
Even so, I definitely see the need and desirability to cull anywhere from 20-30% of my collection in order to get what I have on rack and dispense with the chaff. To that end, I’ve begin checking/correcting my Discogs database. I hope to finally have the full collection in a spreadsheet before I begin selling off so I will have records of everything. Then the sales will begin as early as Fall. Deciding what to sell will be the easier task by far! And undoubtedly, the return of the sidebar sale buttons will accompany this time. Wish me luck. The work never ceases.