Sunday, April 08, 2012

Organizing Fit: I needed a CD, one that I know I own ... I just needed to find it.

This is not the first time I've been in the situation of scrambling through my music collection, looking for a particular disc -- what's made it difficult enough to mention is my storage system.

Instead of a single location where all the discs are filed alphabetically (which is true of my vinyl, but which is not possible with the CDs, since I don't have a continuous unoccupied wall of sufficient size in my house to accommodate them all), my CDs are stored in numerous spots throughout the house -- every room has its own tower or other storage variation, and although some attempts are made at keeping things alphabetically organized within each tower, the greater principle is some sort of grouping by type of music: jazz, drum'n'bass, house, R&B/funk/soul ... it's all very idiosyncratic and totally guts any hope of efficiency in searching out a particular disc. Because, after all, what DID I think, back then, about how to categorize that album? If I don't immediately remember my mindset at the time, I have very little hope of finding the disc without searching each and every tower.

All of which is to note that, in the midst of one of these common frustrations yesterday, I emptied out one of the 300-CD towers and put everything there (EDM/triphop/ambient/downtempo, single artists and compilations) back in alpha order. And dusted: gah. Having done one of these, I expect I'll do each tower in time, because no matter which kind of idiosyncratic my system is, it has to be consistent, or I'll be truly lost the next time I need something.

The offshoot, of course, in handling all these discs covering all these decades of music, is that I'm seeing and thus being reminded of great great stuff that I haven't listened to in years and am pretty sure I haven't yet ripped to the hard drive either. I have a friend who mentioned recently that he is listening to all his albums, in strict alphabetical order, and while I'm not prepared to make exactly that same investment of time at this point, I am being reminded that there's gold in those towers, just waiting for the chance to inform or inspire the next BeatConscious show. If I had all day, every day, at my command (rather than, e.g., having to go to work five days a week) it would be years before I mined all this. It makes me giddy just to contemplate it.

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