The author's newly purged record collection

The author’s newly purged record collection

I’m surprised I’m writing this piece in the comfort of my own home. I just spent the last week and half moving out of my apartment in Nuuanu to new digs in Makiki, so the last thing I’d expect after packing up everything then unpacking it all again is to feel comfortable amidst the chaos that occurs during a big move.

I found myself boxing up a lot of records during this time. If you caught me during the week and asked me how the move was going, I would have asked you, “Why did I ever start collecting vinyl?” because it’s so back-breaking to move. Better to have your music collection on a couple of lightweight 2 TB hard drives than a few thousand discs of plastic.

But now that I’m finally settled (90 percent, at least!), I’ve decided to purge what I don’t need or listen to in order to slim down the collection. There were a lot of rock records in poor condition that I had been holding onto for who knows how long. I donated those to Salvation Army today. There was a handful of breakbeat records I never used; I got rid of those. Some boxes of 45s I don’t need — those are waiting to go out the door.

The beauty of purging part of my collection is being able to free up space in my home, but also in my mind. If there’s something I never listened to, well, now it’s gone and I won’t have to think about it again.

Over time, too, this process will refine a collection into only the essentials: music I feel deeply connected to and truly enjoy listening to. That’s the kind of collection I want.

Moving isn’t easy, whether from apartment to apartment or philosophically, as was the case of a friend of mine recently. I found out that rather suddenly, he chose to give away his entire record collection. He decided that the direction his life was taking didn’t have room for collecting records anymore. It wasn’t easy to make this decision, I’m sure, but in life, the path ahead only has so much room for the things we desire and the things we need. So he did what he needed to do.

For me, records keep me grounded when life makes its big changes. Moving to a new neighborhood, saying goodbye to roommates, re-purposing my budget to fit my current situation — not exactly easy things to do. But once I’d gotten my turntables set up and most of my collection organized (first by genre, then alphabetically), I found myself reaching for albums that I appreciate the most. These are the records I know I’ll return to again and again, music I find solace in when it’s been a long day, music that brings me back to where I need to be.

No matter where our lives take us, the path ahead will be much easier if we can take a moment to appreciate what keeps us grounded through it all.

Roger recently turned his blog into a record label: