Advisor: What should I do with my high school CD collection?

92984658_08eff01e09_m.jpgMy parents are moving out of the home I grew up in next month, which means I have to go through all my stuff and get rid of most of it. I'm donating my old clothes and manga and stashing away photo albums in a storage box, but my biggest dilemma is this: what should I do with my high school CD collection?

It's not even like I have that much left — just a boxful that survived room changes through college and beyond. But as I scanned the song lists from Bon Jovi's Cross Road, The Notorious BIG's Ready to Die, and Paula Abdul's Spellbound, I started to feel overwhelmed. What was I going to do with all this music that I don't really listen to anymore but I still hold dear somewhere in my heart? I don't even have a CD player anymore, except for the one in my car.

Here's what I ended up doing: I sat down on my floor and dedicated a good hour to looking through the entire collection and mentally bookmarking the songs that I would maybe listen to again. (Queen Latifah before she went CoverGirl? Maybe just a song or two... or not. The Cranberries? No thanks. Arrested Development? Definitely.) Turns out there weren't that many. Then, I inserted each CD into my MacBook and ripped those songs on iTunes.

I could not, in good conscience, throw away the original self-titled Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey or Janet (I must have had those from way before high school), or chuck the cover art for Bad even though there was no CD in its case, so I kept those. I also kept a few cassette tapes to play on the vintage tape player-radio thingy I picked up in my friend's garage. Everything else went in the trash.

I'd love to hear what everyone else is doing. If you've faced a similar dilemma as me and found a good way to solve it, please leave a comment!

Image via Corazon Girl's Flickr

Advisor is a column about how to juggle technology, relationships, and common sense. Got a story to tell? Email me at lisa [at] boingboing [dot] net.


  1. I concluded that it would be safer for me to rip my entire collection of old CDs than it would be to snoop through song-by-song. With a couple PCs, it wasn’t much work to set-up a protocol on a weekend to pop into the room, swap CDs, and go about my chores etc. I then sold the CDs I didn’t really care for and boxed the rest for cold storage.

  2. into the trash? what a waste. Do you throw away old books too? Cause of course just cause you’re done with them means no one else will want to read them. Jeez.

    1. @lakelady Shame is a powerful motivator. It takes a lot to even donate old CDs to charity lest someone know some of the crap you used to be willing to pay for. For every prideful Pixies CD you have some horrible dreck you’d rather not be associated with.

      1. What an unbelievable comment.

        Oh, the shame that I’d feel if some stranger might look through these CDs and see I used to be a loser! Really? Do adults really think that way? First of all, I’ve never been embarrassed by any of the music purchases I’ve ever made, nor have I ever cared whether someone judged me by what I listened to.

        The bottom line is, if you’re buying music just for status rights, you’re not a music fan, you’re a social pariah. Good luck unloading that Lady Gaga CD in 5 years.

        Like others, I chuck my hat into the ring. Have a contest and give the winner your CD collection. I’d gladly take it off your hands.

  3. don’t toss it!!!..think about every 1950’s Boomer who lost their comic book or bubble gum card collection!!!

  4. Take ’em to your nearest Amoeba Music or a close facsimile and sell ’em. They’ll buy every one of your cd’s, even if they don’t give you much. You’ll have enough for a couple of new albums on iTunes or whatever.

  5. I went through my entire CD collection (probably two or three thousand discs) a few years back and, after removing all the discs and all front and rear cover art, I trashed all of the jewel cases. It was a literal mountain of plastic. I was then able to fit all of those discs and paper inserts into a very small, compact number of CD file boxes. I ripped most of it to MP3, and those discs I didn’t feel like ripping at the time are still around in case I ever want to do so. You never know when you might get a hankering to hear some piece of high school embarassment.

    I kept intact any really commemorative things, like box sets, cool cardboard covers, etc.

    We won’t get into the environmental impact of all that plastic…

    You should do the same. It works well.

    1. You could also get one or more of those CD albums and put everything in there. That’s what I did with the master CDs I made from my vinyl LP collection. Hell will freeze over before I surrender my media – for one thing, it’s proof that I bought it and am legally entitled to have every single one of the nearly 4,000 MP3s on my computer. It might all go into a box in the attic, but it’s still mine.

      And endymion is right – digital storage is so incredibly cheap, there is no reason why you shouldn’t rip everything. The fact that a single USB drive smaller than a stick of gum can hold every LP, 45, cassette, 8 track (yeah, I’m that old), and CD you own for about a penny (or less) a song, is something that was until very recently a figment of the most optimistic science fiction writer’s imagination. The 21st century can be a wonderful time to be alive.

    2. My collection isn’t nearly as extensive but I did the same to reduce space. I collapsed four moving boxes of CDs into four CD albums that would all stack into a 40cm cube. I’ve already ripped the lot of them. The problem I have with getting rid of my media is they constitute proof I’ve purchased the music. I’d hate to lose my mp3 collection for lack of proof that I actually own the tunes.

      Now storage and getting clean MP3s from vinyl… there’s a discussion I’d like to have! I probably have 300 LPs in various states of used that I’d love to have clean copies to play on the go.

  6. I’d rip everything. Disk space is cheap. Then, for backup, I’d remove all the CD’s from their jewel cases and store them in CD spindles. (The things that blank CD’s come in.) Throw away the empty jewel cases. You’ll reduce the physical size of your collection by a factor of, literally, 20x – 30x.

    You can also embark on an existential musical journey to discover why you’re spending time listening to music you won’t care for a decade later. :)

  7. I don’t have many disks, but the disks that I did have were in a binder along with a bunch of burnt disks. I kept a few of my disks and put them in memorabilia box that I have a bunch of other highschool stuff in, the big binder itself with the other cds/burnt disks went into the garbage.

  8. I was just typing the same thing re: Libraries when my fingers burped the keyboard and wiped out what I’d written. Hate when that happens.

  9. I turned a stack of CDs into a rear-view mirror for my cubie, so people can’t sneak up on my while I’m surfing BoingBoing instead of working.

  10. Put the box of CDs in the trunk of your car, and forget about them for a few years. Problem solved, LOL.

  11. You’re bound to feel regrets over this move in the future, but that’s not the point. The point is that you’ve made the decision you wanted to make now, at this point in your life.
    Whatever need to delve into your own history should arise, it will have been digitized in some form or another, so it’ll always be available to you through some way.

    Which, when you look at it, is a luxury our forfathers couldn’t afford. Decluttering in those days was pretty much an act of murdering your past.

  12. If you feel that the waiting is worth the cash, you could try to tell them off on ebay; or you could donate them to a library.

  13. Hard Drive Storage is cheap. There was a time when I thought I would never want to hear that CD again. I sold those back to the music store. Now, 19 years later I want to hear Pearl Jam-ten and I find myself buying it again (yes it has been 19 years).

    My advice is to Rip everything, all of it, you can put the tracks you like into a playlist.

    Elevatedprimate has a good idea about ditching the jewel cases, so they take up less space.

    One day I plan to cover a whole wall with “T” tracks so that all the CD’s front covers are used to “wall-paper” the wall. 500 Cds will completely cover a 8ft x 10ft wall. Those front covers, the music you listen to, it is a timeline of your life.

  14. I don’t think I’ve ever thrown away a playable CD. If it was something I didn’t want, I’d at least try to sell it to Wuxtry (a local music shop). If they didn’t want my old stuff, I’d offer it to Jason at the pawn shop next door. If he didn’t want it, I’d try to donate it to the library or Goodwill or something like that. It’s such a waste to just throw away perfectly good media. Somebody out there would want it.

  15. I put my (about 250) cds in a folder and gave the cases away for free to someone on Gumtree – no waste

  16. hope to rip all of my CD’s before my move (may) and then sell the origials to the used record store in town. i figure i’ll make enough (hopefully more) to cover the 1 gig HD i just got from (85 bucks!)

  17. I sold a stack of my old CD’s for $100 to a used record shop. I couldn’t believe the guy gave me that much. I think you just threw money away.

  18. Might have been good to find out if there is a fundraiser in your area that can resell things. Our symphony orchestra has a big book and music sale. They sell all kinds of CDs. Last year the sale raised over $100,000.00 to support the ongoing operation of the symphony. I’m sure that there are at least some charity thrift shops that would have been glad to have them.

    I volunteer at the symphony sale: most of the old vinyl/cassette tapes/CDs are bought by people who have regretted doing exactly what you just did. ;}

  19. What a waste to throw them in a landfill if they were perfectly usable. They might not have been OK to sell (stores will often only buy back pristine copies) but you could have at least donated them: library, local college, salvation army, anywhere!

  20. Donate. You get a tax write off, Salvation Army gets something to sell and someone discovers early Biggie cheaply. I need to do something similar. I have a wall of vinyl and CDs that I literally haven’t walked up to in a year or more.

  21. I’m in the process of ripping all my CD’s to my computer, as was mentioned, HDD space is cheap so I bought a couple to make storage/backups of my music. Not sure what I’m gonna do w/the CD’s as I’m a bit old & haven’t yet figger’d this whole digital music reproduction thing out. Like now I got the music on my computer, how to get it to my trucks, my shop, wherever. Well, one thing at a time.
    This brings to mind the time about 20 years ago that I went through my albums & culled all the good singles, bootlegs, colored vinyl & what have you. I offered it to a friend who had a band & was in A&R & he refused it but the guy next to him jumped on it. 5-6 boxes of vinyl. What I was left with, about a box full, I brought to The Princeton Record Exchange about 5 years later & got $16.58 for the cream of my collection. I then, at that moment, officially started the process of feeling old. I had original singles from The Sex Pistols in there, all sorts of stuff, near worthless.

  22. Duplicate reaction to those above, “THREW AWAY”?! How wasteful!

    If you took the time to donate your other stuff you could have also donated the CDs and contributed faaar less plastic into a landfill.

  23. You should rip them and either take them to your local Rasputin/Streetlight records OR donate them to your favourite library.

  24. I have a collection of about four shelf-feet of vinyl LPs (33 rpm) from the 1960’s and a little later. This was a formative period in my life – high school, college, and early family. No way could I part with them. Playing one is a hyperspace trip to another place and time, to fond memories I’m not about discard to save a few cubic-feet.

    I started digitizing them but it’s a lot of work. Maybe someday I’ll finish.

    Then there is many more shelf-feet of vinyl I picked up at a garage sale. No personal attachment here but there is lots of good music. Someday that will have to go. Maybe the vinyl comeback will be firmly established by then and it will have some value.


  25. I have yet to enact this with my CDs, though I’ve done it with some old PC games I don’t want to let go, but removing all the paper portions from jewel cases and slipping them into one of those megabinders for cds works awesomely like other posters have said. Rip each CD in a bitrate/format you’re satisfied with as you go.

    Or just make some tough decisions and honestly ask yourself ‘do i see myself listening to this in the next month or so?’, if no then sell or trade it.

  26. I ripped all my old CDs to a lossless format (Apple Lossless), stored these files as a back-up in case I want higher quality later on, then rerip them as more managable files (AAC, but MP3 is fine too), and load them in to iTunes. If it’s music I’ve totally grown out of I feel free to forget about it without consequence. If I’m ever ever feeling nostalgic I can just type a couple of keystrokes in and listen to my old music.

    The jewel cases I all threw out, though I am thinking I need a nice jewel case stand for some new CDs I was gifted that are really nice. I need some way of saving the inserts. The CDs themselves I keep on a spindle in my closet. Donation is also a good option though. Your local library would be more than happy to take your old CDs off of your hands, and then others could enjoy them.

  27. After I made MP3 of them, I dropped them all off in a library return box.
    I also do this with old books I don’t want.
    Put a little tape on the case to hold the disc in place.

  28. ditto on the suggestions to rip-em and ditch the plastic cases. i’m right on the verge of doing that to my own collection (about 700 CDs). it’s just a matter of finding the energy to go through them all to find the ones i haven’t already ripped.

  29. I know they take up space and depending on your display habits can look messy but just like when I was a kid and saw the shelves of my brother’s vinyl and then as a teenager collecting my own (which sadly didn’t get realized or rescued from the garage sale my mother organized when my parents were selling the house) seeing a display of someone’s music tells you more about a person than you’d think. You bought them because you wanted them for whatever reason at the time and there is nothing like browsing someone’s collection. Don’t make the mistake that you might not ever want to be “Rollin’ With Kid n’ Play”, or saying “Hello” like Lionel Richie.

  30. I ripped every single track (took over a week of round the clock ripping), packed them up and stuck them in a friends basement. I always meant to get around to selling them, but I’m glad I didn’t, because what seemed like a decent sample rate six or seven years ago(128) doesn’t seem all that hot by todays standards. I’m currently working up the courage to re-rip them all as FLAC on a 1TB drive. Even the stupid CD’s I hate. You never know when you might want to hear them again, or inflict them on someone else.

  31. Throwing away the CD’s was a wasteful move, but I understand being in a rush to get rid of things – at least partially so you don’t reconsider and end up keeping it. It’s just that there’s usually at least a thrift store nearby that will gladly take it and resell it. You get a tax receipt, they get to help fund their charity.

    I’d second (or third?) the “rip everything” mentality. Using FLAC or other loss less compression, it wouldn’t take more than a dozen gigs or so, and that’s not much in today’s world. Then donate or sell the discs. Keep in mind that you technically have no license for the music any more, having gotten rid of the media. But that’s between you and your conscience.

    I’ve still got all my CD’s. I have a few hundred, they all fit on one shelf unit so it’s not too bad. This really got me thinking about getting rid of them, though. I haven’t used them in years except to rip to the computer. Anybody have suggestions on a good program to quickly rip multiple discs? Something that supports FLAC or other loss less compression?

  32. When I went through this process a couple of years ago, I would evaluate each disk in the following way (CDs and DVDs):

    1)If it was worth more than a few dollars used on Amazon, I would sell it as a third-party seller. Most sold this way went very quickly. The whole process is very easy.

    2)If it’s worth less than a couple of dollars, I took it to the library. Technically you could make a tax deduction, but it probably isn’t worth the trouble.

    I figured that if I really wanted a disc back in the future (which I knew I wouldn’t), I could just use the money I made from selling it to buy it back. Since it would likely be even cheaper in the future, the difference between what I sold it for and bought it for would be insignificant. If I donated it to the library, I could always check it back out or buy it again since it was so cheap in the first place. Either way, I was basically trading my items for cash, and I could always use the cash to re-buy any of the few CDs I may change my mind about. It is now 2 years later, and I haven’t regretted selling or donating any of them.

  33. donate them to local independent/college radio station. Good for a tax deduction and good for the station.

  34. I’m in the process of doing the same thing.

    I’m ripping everything, and then taking them to the music shop (which happens to be Cheap Thrills [love Wuxtry, BTW Pinehead]).

    Why? I love going to the music store. I spend hours in the bins, looking for interesting stuff.

    Digital is awesome, but there will always be a place in my heart for a great record store (best ever? has to be Twist And Shout in Denver).

  35. I have a similar problem, namely stacks of CDs that I no longer listen to, that serve merely to take up space in my home.

    Though I did rip my entire collection to MP3 nearly ten years ago (and then re-rip once it became clear that 128kbps was insufficient), I still hang on to the CDs… the OP states that, after ripping, the original discs were thrown away, and several commenters have noted that this seems like a huge waste. And this is precisely why I still have my CDs. Despite the fact that one *should* be able to rip a disc and sell or give away the original media, the RIAA would surely insist that you can only listen to a digital copy as long as you retain ownership of the original.

    I fear that we are approaching a world where one has to be able to prove ownership of digital media in order to legally possess it. Until it’s clear that I can’t be fined for having MP3s that I cannot prove that I purchased or that I created from media that I purchased and still own, I’m honestly afraid to part with my CDs.

  36. Support the economy and throw em in the trash/recycling.
    To really rid yourself of old junk like that you sometimes need to take drastic measures.

  37. The hardest part of parting with music is the realization that something that once meant a great deal to you no longer has that same value. Too High to Die is still a stupendous album and here’s a perfectly good copy of it but do I NEED it any more? That one, yeah, but Huevos? For a lot of us parting with music and books forces an abrupt acknowledgment of the gradual shift in taste that’s always happening.

  38. how is this at all a dilemma. burn em all to your computer then throw em in a box not to be seen again for another 20 years. or yknow, give em away to somebody like other commenters suggested

  39. Rip everything, back it up. Then give the cd’s to other people for them to enjoy. maybe they rip it and pass it on.

  40. Oh, and since we’re shouting out to record stores, Flat, Black and Circular in East Lansing.

  41. Keep ’em! :) I’m a CD lover…Artwork, tactile reminder of the past, liner notes. And then what didymos #32 mentions, that is the ownership of the electronic data.

  42. +1 on rip ’em and sell ’em.

    Although technically that’s illegal, you know. If you sell the CD you’re supposed to delete the fair-use copies you made. (snort) Yeah, everyone does that. ;)

  43. Everyone is right about the cheap storage. The story I hear from customers is “man, I can’t believe I bought these CDs, but now they easily playist-able its nice to have everything in one spot.

    If nothing else create a genre (or even a folder or library) called “Old School”. You’ll love it in 5-15 yrs.

    I load music collections for people, radio stations, and media companies professionally (believe it or not – Moondog Digital).

  44. Eight years ago, after realizing that I rarely listened to my CD player, and looking for something to do during the week after my mother passed away (instead of sleeping, weeping or eating), I began ripping ALL of my CD collection, good, bad or indifferent. During that process I realized I wanted to keep my discs, but I didn’t have the room to store them. Taking dozens of discs out of their “jewel” boxes and stacking them up next to my computer, I was struck by the fact that while a pile of 20 CDs in their plastic cases took up nearly 2 linear feet, the same pile naked was a mere 3 inches high. I thought about getting some type of binder system to store the CDs with the liner notes – but for the interim, I dug out a box of el cheapo disc sleeves from either CrampUSA or Microcenter – they were no good for data CDs because they were just a bit too big, so the discs kept falling out. But, when I stuffed the case art and liner notes into one side and the CD into the other, they worked perfectly, and became my permanent (and very inexpensive storage solution).

    Over the next few months, as I ripped all of my CDs I took apart each jewel case and kept the inserts. All told, 400+ CDs in their cases, which originally took up 100 linear feet of storage space was reduced to 4.5 linear feet – and kept stored in a decorative leather trunk under my desk.

    I didn’t toss the jewel cases – some were given to my local library and the rest went to a Mr. Cheapo used music store (remember those?).

    Someone once asked me if I don’t listen to the actual discs, what’s the point in keeping them. I think there is a legal issue at work – I don’t think I have the right to keep ripped digital copies of music I no longer own. Also, since I originally ripped them as MP3s – I eventually re-ripped the entire collection as Apple Lossless.

  45. +1 to pruning things you really do not expect to ever use again and have no emotional attachment to.

    -10 to trashing them. Lots of places you could donate, lots of places you could sell, or you could do what a neighbor of mind did and just put out a box labeled “please take”. (Or put them on freecycle, which is the electronic equivalent.)

  46. “Have we all gone OCD from IP.”

    Yeah, you know me.

    (Seriously, RIP and share/donate. And congrats on your newfound pirate status.)

  47. Well, I was never a flavor-of-the-month fad-chasing teeny-bopper, so any CD I own I do so because I like the music, not because it was kewli0 or popular that week. So, I am slowly ripping every CD I own to my mp3 player. And if I could rip my considerably older cassette collection as easily as those, I would.

  48. I have five very large boxes full of my CD collection, numbering around 500 albums, which began in middle school and lasted through a year or two after college. They have sat in boxes since I moved into my current apartment, which was 1.5 years ago. I don’t have the heart to sell them, and yet I have not listened to a single one of them in all that time. I suppose it’ll just have to be a large, heavy bit of memorabilia of the past. Until I get tired of moving it.

    I do, however, have a large and growing collection of vinyl – which I listened to on an (almost) daily basis. Oh, how the worm has turned.

  49. Lisa, Lisa Lisa! Bon Jovi? Mariah Carey?

    I know we all make mistakes when we’re young but why would you want to keep that stuff. The only quality CD was the very one you decided to ditch – The Cranberries!

    Seriously though, donate after ripping. BUT backup! Hard-drive meltdowns do happen! I know, believe me!

  50. I have around 2000 cds. I want to rip them all, but I want to rip them to FLAC, and to 192kbps MP3,for use on mp3 players. Is there an easy way to rip to both formats (preferably putting each format for each album in a separate folder)?

    Also, elevatedprimate (08:13 on Mon, Jan. 4), what kind of filing boxes did you use? Where did you get them? Do they have plastic sleeves? Thanks!

    1. I ditched my jewel cases, bought a bunch of generic CD-sleeves (art goes in one pocket, cd in the other) and got a couple of Kassett boxes from IKEA. My 1500+ CD’s dont take up much space anymore. I’m still digitizing, but once that’s done, the boxes will likely go in the attic or basement.

      As a result of this process, I’ve begun to hate digipaks.

    2. #42: I actually wrote a linux-based CD ripper called Asunder (although someone else now maintains it), and it lets you rip and convert to multiple formats at one time. I still use it to rip FLAC and OGG at the same time. It can put the different formats in different folders, and create a separate playlist for each format. It saves me tons of time. I hope it helps!


  51. Here’s what I’d have done (And probably will do with the metric shit-ton of cds I rescued from the dumpter the other day): Ripping party!

    Get all your friends together and have them hook up their computers to your network and add some network-attached storage device. (Ideally a real NAS, but some USB HD attached to the router probably works too.)

    Then, you all go through CDs, listening to the various CDs, ripping the ones that sound interesting and put the rest aside. Put the ripped music on the NAS so that everybody has access to it and can take the interesting stuff some other person has ripped. While doing so, have fun, talk about good and bad music and, if that’s your thing, drink something together.

    One you’re through, take the CDs and donate them, either at a library, goodwill or similar organisation. (I have a Cost-Nothing-Shop right around the corner, which is probably where the CDs will end up at.)

    This way, you’ll have a fun evening with friends, a hard drive full of cool music and the satisfaction of having done some small good, too.

  52. Several commenters suggest ripping the tunes then selling or giving away the discs. What I find interesting is that no one mentions that this would be illegal. Without getting into the whole music piracy / record label ripoff discussion, it’s plain and simple under current laws that even though you may have purchased the disc originally, once you sell or give it to someone else, you no longer own the music. Keeping a copy for yourself would be piracy. If you want to support the artists who created the music, keep the discs and tell your friends to buy their own copy.

  53. Oh, one important point: Copyright. If there’s one song you’re keeping, you SHOULD NOT give away the album you ripped it from. Effectively that leaves you with a pirated copy, since “fair use” follows the purchased copy.

    So either trash those tracks or keep the disks.

    Assuming you care about this. Personally, I do consider it an issue of ethics and would not let copy and original become separated, not least because I don’t want to become part of the statistics that are used to justify DRM.

  54. i had to do this one semester in college – couldn’t store it all.

    i ended up doing this:
    – put all the cds in a pile to my left
    – put a small box in front of me
    – had a garbage bag on my right
    – assembly line style: i ripped the jewel boxes apart, made a sandwich of “liner notes, cd, bottom/back sheet” and stacked that in the box neatly, re-assembled the jewel case and tossed it in the garbage bag.

    it took me 3 hours, and i turned a couple hundred cds and a wall of music into a single small box.

    a few years later I digitized the entire lot. it was fairly simple… though years after that when encoders got better I decided to just torrent new versions instead of updating my own.

    then i took the empty cd cases, and I donated it to the computer lab, so people could have cases to transport CDRs in. i’m sure there are similar ways to repurpose/reuse/recycle them today.

  55. As someone who lives in a small-ish apartment and moves a lot, I offer the following advice:

    Be ruthless. Make a list of everything you have, rip the stuff you’re certain you’re going to want to listen to, then sell/junk it all. As Bruce Sterling would say, you’re not an archivist or a librarian. Don’t spend time curating your history. There’s nothing you have now that you won’t be able to replace down the road if you decide you simply must have a physical copy.

    1. gmcmullen | #48

      ” you’re not an archivist or a librarian. Don’t spend time curating your history. There’s nothing you have now that you won’t be able to replace down the road ”

      I disagree. Ever watch Antiques Roadshow? We are in fact archivists, for better or for worse.

      Otherwise you wouldn’t have the CD collection to begin with. That said, I mostly eliminated my ugly CD collection in past moves.
      Vinyl, that’s another story. If it’s good music on vinyl, keep it!!! Vinyl is the perfect curatory item for music.

  56. i stopped keeping this stuff on my shelves the moment napster went online.

    Give it to somebody who likes it, sell it by the pound on ebay, or just give it to somebody who can’t afford to buy it.

    Bottomline it’s all just plastic that needs shelves you have to buy and space you need to rent.

    Get rid of it!

  57. While it was BEFORE I graduated high school I remember coming back from Germany in ’94 and selling off most of my cd singles, et al I picked up over 5 years at my local used music store. Alas 10 years later I realized how much of an idiot I was, there is still stuff I can’t find digitally!

    While I say weed out the pop fluff I wish I would have kept more of what I thought “would always be easy to find” :(

  58. Get rid of them or re-package them the best way you can, but skip the ripping part. Somoene else on Internet has already ripped those songs and most likely they did a better job and downloading is much faster than ripping.

  59. I had a box of hundreds of CD jewel cases my neighbor was tossing, and I felt uncomfortable about all that plastic waste so I posted them on craigslist for free and a local musician scooped them up for his promo CDs. It was a nice way to avoid the landfill.

  60. when i hit that same situation, i 1) ripped everything, then 2) systematically returned them all to Amoeba (san francisco location), trading them instead of selling (which gets you more credit per disk), and 3) geekily kept track of each “generation” of music as i ripped, traded in, and started over (ie, 20 disks net 10 return, 10 into 5, into 3, into 1).

    by the time all was said and done 300-ish cd’s netted 7 generations of disks (6 new), getting final disk price for new (to me) music down to about 3 dollars an album, while nearly tripling my collection. its not throwing away, but getting rid of and enabling others.

    granted this took weeks (and lots of research into what next to get), but at the time i lived just up the street, and was working from home so it worked. but im sure there is something comparable near by, as everyone has cd’s they are over…

  61. Nothing beats owning music in physical form. I’ve kept & grown my collection, and will continue to do so.

  62. “Oh, one important point: Copyright. If there’s one song you’re keeping, you SHOULD NOT give away the album you ripped it from. Effectively that leaves you with a pirated copy, since “fair use” follows the purchased copy.”

    According to current law, that is (largely) correct.

    The current law sucks, however, as it is effectively an abridgment of free speech. (And also wasteful.)

  63. Here’s an interesting business opportunity: warehouse the original media for people who only want to use digital files but still wish to own the media for Fair Use purposes. Shelve it all in abandoned auto assembly plants and maintain a database of title/owner for reporting purposes.

    1. A slightly enhanced business idea. Customer sends in box of CDs. The warehouse rips the media in FLAC, MP3 and Ogg Vorbis (though if the CD has been ripped for another user just use those files which should be the same – can use UPC or CD Id files for this). It then makes a digital copy available for download or stream to the customer, and stores the collection away (insured in case of destruction)

  64. I’d like to suggest a more simple and gratifying solution:

    1. Make a huge pile of everything you want to “go away”
    2. Saturate with flammable liquids.
    3. Ignite
    4. Dance around the fire, naked.

    Jeez, people around here over-complicate things…

  65. I ripped 800+ CDs at 256kb mp3 onto 80GB of hard drive then into Itunes on my laptop. I then packed the jewell boxes and liner notes into a large stack of office boxes in the attic. The CDs went into a smaller stack of CaseLogic cases in a closet. I chose 256 kb mp3 as a compromise between quality and available disk space and because my auto CD playe plays MP3 but not apple format. The ripped files were backed up onto a similar sized drive on a 2nd PC. I let ITunes play tracks at random from the entire list. I am frquently surprised by tracks I forgot that I had. Less frequently I hear something I really don’t want in the main collection and delete it from the laptop leaving it in place in the backup. At some point a little extra money will let me upgrade to a larger drive (and an Apple Airport), At that time, I will pull out the CDs again and rip them to Apple Lossless format. I still have a good quality CD player in my home audio system so several hundred more Classical and Jazz CDs remain on the shelf awaiting that larger drive and lossless ripping. Eventually the CDs will join the jewell boxes in the attic. DOnation to a library may be appropriate at that time.

  66. CD cases themselves are made of polystyrene (#6 on your plastics recycling schedule). Many municipal recyclers will handle those plastics for you.

    Personally, I indiscriminately ripped my entire collection. I gave the physical media to a local record shop (I say “gave”… they gave me $58 for 600 discs), backed up the electronic records to a spare SATA drive, and dumped the “primary” records to my disk array. Took a while, but it’s one less piece of furniture in my wee apartment.

  67. At the risk of sounding like a moralizing nag, I think if you’ve ripped a CD or song that you have only one of two options: (1) keep the CD somewhere, anywhere or (2) throw it away.

    I’m a graphic designer, I think creative people deserve to be paid for their work. Ripping a CD and then selling or donating it deprives the musician of payment for their work. The next person to get the CD after you gets to enjoy the artist’s work but the artist doesn’t see a penny.

    I’m not an absolutist. I bought U2’s Joshua Tree on vinyl. I made a copy of my brother’s CD when he bought it. I paid U2 for the right to listen the the songs once, I don’t feel like I need to pay them twice.

    I bought “Achtung Baby” on CD and ripped it and I think I owe it to U2 to not sell it to someone else. And I especially owe it to the musicians who haven’t made as much money as U2. The marginal groups are the ones who will really feel the effects of the “rip – sell – rip – sell” cycle.

    If you haven’t ripped any songs off a CD, by all means sell it or donate it. But if you’ve ripped it, keep or pitch the CD.

    1. Before you resell an asset that you purchased, please be aware that some artisan somewhere had a hand in it’s creation.

      Also, be certain to repay your morally obliged penance to Volkswagen for that used car you drove around in college, the architects who created the apartment complex you live in, and refuse to ever buy things on eBay.

      The whole point of being a maker is to perfect the ultimate goal of only making *one perfect thing* *one perfect time*, and perpetually reaping royalty and reward for your original, perfect effort. The thought of being motivated to continue pursuing and perfecting your craft by continuing to make new stuffs for our relentlessly burgeoning population of upright apes is simply a monstrosity.

  68. Absolutely dreadful idea of throwing the collection away. If you can’t find space for it, it’s probably only because you’re not being creative enough. Oh well though. What’s done is done. I just hope you ripped the entire collection into a lossless format, preferably flac…but you didn’t, did you?

  69. ” Shelve it all in abandoned auto assembly plants and maintain a database of title/owner for reporting purposes.”

    Interesting idea. Since you maintain Right of First Sale, you could warehouse the CDs, and sell the rights to the portions (songs) that you don’t maintain. As far as my IANAL understanding goes, you’d be perfectly fine.

  70. I can’t say this with enough emphasis:

    If media (music, film, video, what-have-you) is worth keeping at all, it’s worth keeping the original copy.

    Be aware that whatever you transfer your media to is likely to be short-lived in comparison to the original. If you count on $100 hard drives to store it all, you risk losing it for good if you don’t have the original.

    To put my comments in perspective: I’m a collector of 78 rpm records, the ultimate in PITA when it comes time to move. And LPs and CDs, too. I’ve done the BIG PURGE several times, to the tune of hundreds of discs of varying vintage and format. I’ve still got lots of each, but less than 1/2 of what I did have. And I do lots and lots of digitizing and multi-format backups (CD-R, DVD-R, external drive, etc.)

    A good compromise: Pick about 20% of your library to keep, the desert island stuff. Rip what you want of the remainder and take it to Amoeba (or a local equivalent) and sell them for what you can get. Be ruthless in your cull, but self-aware enough to recognize what’s special to you.

    Bottom line: If you love something, keep the original. You won’t regret it.

  71. copyright law is why I have three large bins of cds under my guestroom bed… But then I’m extra paranoid about copyright law, at least ever since going to library school…

  72. Donate the CDs to the Internet Archive!

    The Internet Archive has quietly started to archive audio and video artifacts, and this includes CDs.

  73. Rip em all to HDD/flash/dvd storage.

    Sell the reamins to your local pawn/used record store and use the money you make to finance your movage.

    Don’t want to go to that hassle?

    Give your collection to someone who WILL rip the entire collection to MP3 for you as payment for the physical media.

    I used to keep my actual CD’s in my car in 24-pack cases and left the jewel cases at home in a box.

    All of my CD’s and car stereo were stolen at one point a few years back, all I have left is a box full of jewel cases, cover art and liner notes….
    What do you do with that?

  74. You seriously threw a whole bunch of playable CDs in the trash? I’m no greenie, not by a long shot, but YIKES!! You’ve never heard of Freecycle or Goodwill? Oy.

  75. As someone who works at a library, I hate to say it, but we don’t really want your cds that aren’t popular either. It is pretty much like saying “here, you throw this away.” We do circulate some stuff that is still popular, but most of it gets thrown away or sent to our Friends of the Library sale. It costs a lot of money to turn those cds into cirulcating items and sadly, it is money that we don’t have. I know it is harsh.

    That said, I really love selling my stuff to Half Price books here in the North Texas area because they take everything and other stores don’t.

  76. This isn’t the best solution, but it sure was the best i could come up with.

    My dad has a lot of storage space in his apartment, so he usually lets me store stuff. I realized I wasn’t listening to my CDs either so I decided to store them or get rid of some. I did manage to get rid of half of them (mostly pirated copies, CDs I didn’t like at all and empty boxes) but the other half I copied them to my computer and stored them at my Dad’s. If he ever needs his storage place, well, then I might as well go through the half I kept and see if I want to get rid of anything.

  77. Good point about backups. Just because the HD and the CDR that you put it on work at one point there’s no guarantee that they will forever. Periodically generate fresh backups on new media of anything critical to ensure that you’re not stuck later with a degraded and unreadable copy. Nobody knows what the lifespan of CDRs is but I wouldn’t trust them past 5 years or so.

  78. Everyone has a friend who still fetishizes having a real, solid commodity form of music in their hands. Give it all to that friend. That’s what I did after a few moves had me sick of repeatedly packing and unpacking the same stacks of CDs I never listened to…

  79. For that matter, I have about 50# of CDs in my basement as raw stock for costuming and artwork. (One particular project that isn’t ready for publication yet; I’m still trying to find the appropriate Round Tuit.)

  80. “Be aware that whatever you transfer your media to is likely to be short-lived in comparison to the original.”

    We’re starting with CDs here; what Steve Albini referred to as the “Rich Man’s 8-Track.”

    Copy often, it’s the only way to ensure the content will survive.

  81. So, you already threw most of the CDs away, before you asked for advice about what to do with them? LAME!

  82. If you donate the dregs of your collection to the library (books, cds, dvds, etc.), you are just making us throw it away for you. We take anything as a public relations move, but trust me, we think it’s crap, too.

  83. Trash? How horrible. I hope that you at least put them in a box with a large note saying “free CDs”.

    You could have freecycled/freegled them, given them away on craiglist/gumtree/etc, or donated them to a local library, community radio station, or even childrens’ hospital.

    Heck, you might even have sold some of them to one of the remaining used CD stores. (I did this once, with a large stack old old pop music LPs and CDs. They wouldn’t pay for them, but I offered to trade a few dozen unwanted albums for a couple of new CDs that I did like.)

  84. After having kids and then moving, and still owning a mountain of stuff, I can’t recommend against throwing stuff out. Sure, sell, recycle, or donate it, even put it at the curb for free picking if you have the time and energy. But sometimes the mental toll of too much stuff is so high that chucking it in the trash is the only way to keep one’s sanity.
    As a stay-at-home parent, I would so happily get rid of stuff rather than be its caretaker, which is really what I do. Do I miss anything I’ve gotten rid of so far? Not nearly as much as I am relieved at not having to dust it and and find a place for it and re-sort it and get all its bits together and and put it away a zillion times and have to damn look at it all the time.

  85. Lisa- seriously, please DO NOT throw out anything- that’s just crazy irresponsible. There are people all over the world who would take your cd’s at the drop of a hat… just put them on craigslist if you don’t want them and see how fast they go away.

    As to what I’m doing, I’m keeping my cd’s just like I have my records, both of which I listen to still. The albums I know I really have no interest in I bring to my local record store and trade in for credit. Pretty simple, really- what’s the dilemma? If you really want to keep some albums, however, don’t convert them to mp3’s and then get rid of them- you’ll be sorry when your hard drive crashes and you’re SOL… not to mention the sound quality sucks…

  86. I have a large shelf in my garage filled with CDs. Tossing (recycling) the cases does seem like an attractive idea.

    However, aside from the other reasonable arguments for keeping ’em (having access to re-rip as tech improves, etc.), I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the value of just having backup copies. Most folks I know don’t backup their drives like they should – self included. When your ripped CD collection crashes, is stolen, or what have you, hopefully you have a backup stored elsewhere…

  87. I am really struggling to understand this new American “Ikea culture.” Everything has to be sleak, compact, new, and shiny. The reality is that you’ll find yourself replacing or downloading much of what you threw away. I went through a similar transition with my parents moving while I was in college and I simply had to remove the CD’s from the jewel cases and place them in binder cases. When all else fails, GOODWILL Vs. Landfill.

  88. Oh my god, please don’t automatically dump old CDs and books on your local library. Check their donation policy before you do so. I’m a librarian and nothing is more aggravating than people who leave piles of old shit that is scratched/falling apart/moldy and then are baffled that we don’t want it.

  89. Give them to a community radio or your local public radio station. They can use what they want and sell the rest, both giving you a tax credit.

  90. The OP didn’t give an age but by the time you are 30 or 35 at the latest you will know which of the music from high school and college you still want to listen to. For me that hasn’t changed and I’m in my mid 40s.

    In a worst case scenario, if you get rid of something you later want, it will be more readily available in the future than it was when you first got if things keep going in the same direction. You can buy all that old stuff on Amazon for a couple of bucks, shipping is usually more than the album.

    Most of mine was on vinyl and cassettes but all of it was easily found online where someone had already ripped it. Since I own the originals I’m allowed to have digital copies so it’s not piracy. Some of the mp3s I have downloaded people ripped directly from vinyl because the music was never issued in later formats.

  91. It’s pretty depressing that such a large percentage of the comments here involve copyright infringement.

    Don’t get me wrong– I think the current “intellectual property” regulatory regime (in the US, at least) is radically stilted in favor of leech-like middleman publishers and the “copyright cartels” and STINKS.

    Wholesale copyright infringement isn’t going to get the social contract re-negotiated. To my mind, you’re not engaging in some kind of civil disobedience when you’re infringing copyright– you’re just being a douche. Not only that, you’re feeding the copyright cartels’ arguments re: “poor artists” being “ripped off” and probably setting back the copyfighting cause.

    If you rip tracks of CDs, keep the original CDs. That kind of ripping is arguably fair use. After you sell / give away the CD it’s pretty hard to call keeping the tracks around a fair use.

    Play by the rules as they exist right now, and DO SOMETHING if you want the rules to change. If you can’t do anything else, get educated about copyright law and speak out. Help your friends and family discover sources of “media” that are more consumer friendly (no DRM, Creative Commons licensing, public domain, etc). Do something for the copyfighting cause.

    1. “If you rip tracks of CDs, keep the original CDs. That kind of ripping is arguably fair use. After you sell / give away the CD it’s pretty hard to call keeping the tracks around a fair use.”

      tell libraries that keep collections of microfiche but ditch the originals that.

      Plus, by your rationale, you accept that even that level of deference to the RIAA is legitimate. But they don’t agree with you- they think ripping CDs is a violation, regardless of the location of the originals. your slope gets slippier by the moment.

      In my case, I ripped everything i thought I would listen to and hauled the cadavers down to the goodwill. No telling who exactly will benefit from them, but they remain in circulation until, most likely, they become unusable. I’ve at least put off their trip to the landfill, for whatever that’s worth. Spreading some joy, at least.

      Thank FSM I probably won’t have to buy music on physical media again, with one exception: if it’s something I plan to treasure my whole life and pass on to bewildered descendents, like beautifully designed vinyl LPs, which I do let myself accumulate.

  92. Not everyone is a media hoarder like myself (a wall is covered in books and CDs… and I have a box of tapes around here somewhere even though no tape deck in a dog’s age) But yeah, throwing them out is bad plan. maybe the scratched ones.

  93. Funny you should mention this. New year’s day I went through literally thousands of 45 RPM records to pitch then out. Decided the whole lot might be worth something as a collection.

  94. I recently faced this exact problem with books and DVDs. I found that I was able to sell both online for an amount of money that shocked me. Over $500 for the books and $150 for my very limited DVD collection.

    I would recommend ripping the CDs and then packaging up those that meet “gently used” quality and sell them on One stop shop, ship them off and be be happy making any cash back that you will.

    Good luck!

    I did this to my vinyl album collection after CD’s came out and I have been kicking myself ever since. CD’s have a far superior sound to MP3’s. Get rid of the jewel cases and put them and their artwork in one of those CD notebooks. You can store hundreds of CD’s in a very small space. Buy a cheap $20 small DVD player. It will play your CD’s. Somewhere down the road you are going to want to listen to a CD you threw away and it will be gone! Even if you think you will never want to listen to any of them again, put one in and you will instantly be transported back to the time you were into that album. It’s like a time machine. Don’t get rid of your CD’s. In reality, they don’t take up that much room and a piece of your life will bw forever gone!

  96. sorry, have to add another “wtf? threw them away??” comment.

    except mention that when i have such situations i put an ad on the free section of craigslist. put the box out front(well, usually at the corner, never directly out front) and whatever it is usually disappears pretty quickly. then delete the ad.

    but this is all pointless because you would just throw them away.. god, i mean, really?

    you could just take them to any used cd store and get at least $1 per cd. or just throw them away. whatever.

  97. I put the front covers and discs in giant binders and filed the back cover art in an alphabetical accordion file. recycled the jewel boxes except the non plastic ones I put in a box.

  98. While I like most of the suggestions – here’s another not mentioned – think of it as another definition of “recycle” (from Rick Broida @ CNET):

    “iPodMeister promises to turn your unwanted CDs and DVDs into bona fide gadget goodness.

    Like many people, I have a fairly sizable collection of CDs sitting in a storage room collecting dust. It’s literally been years since I even touched a CD, let alone played one. So why am I hanging onto them?

    Forget Craigslist. Forget eBay. Forget garage sales. Do you want to spin that jewel-cased straw into gold? Head to iPodMeister, where you can trade your old CDs for a brand-new hard drive, iPod, or even iPhone.

    Here’s how it works: You pack up your CDs (or DVDs), then e-mail the company to let them know how many boxes you have. It then sends you prepaid FedEx labels. That’s right: iPodMeister covers the shipping cost.

    The number of discs you send determines what kind of booty you can get in return. The minimum, 150 discs, gets you a 1TB hard drive or an iPhone 3G. (Actually, you get a check covering the cost of an iPhone 3G, as iPodMeister can’t do activations and all that.)

    Scrape together 250 discs and you can land an 8GB iPod Touch or 16GB iPod Nano (current-generation models in both cases). For 350 discs, you can cover the cost of an iPhone 3GS. See the iPodMeister Web site for the complete list of trade options.

    Interestingly, iPodMeister also gives you the option of digitizing your CD collection, meaning you get back not only your free gadget, but also a set of DVDs containing your music in (presumably) MP3 format. But that “costs extra” (meaning more discs). My guess is most folks have already ripped their CDs to MP3s.

    I’ll admit that all this sounds a little too good to be true, but I’ve yet to find a single complaint about the company. For your reference, check out Consumerist’s recent interview with iPodMeister, this guy’s review of the service from March, and the company’s Facebook page.

    I will say that the iPodMeister site looks atrocious and, suspiciously, offers no contact information except for an e-mail address and toll-free number. But with a little Google recon, I had no trouble finding an address and local number.”

  99. Think about it people – Why would a library want to take your crappy old discs? Or your crappy old books, for that matter? Who in the hell goes to the library to find a 13 year old Queen Latifah song? Not me (I’m a librarian), and not any of you either. Libraries aren’t dumping grounds for your old crap. Your crap is that – crap. Libraries are much too busy doing digital subscriptions, providing free magazine/journal content, and providing free wi fi to all of you. Recycle what you can, and move on.

  100. My solution? Get one of these:

    Tiny footprint, can go up against a wall and thus be pretty out-of-the-way, makes for decent decoration.

    (My CD collection [which I hadn’t touched in about 3 years] fit into it so perfectly, it’s like it was custom-built for me :]).

    And if you have more CDs then fit on a tower, then trim down your collection to one tower’s worth (or maybe two, I guess) and dispose of the rest (donate, sell, give away, throw away, etc).

  101. I ripped all my oldies to the computer. Sometimes when it’s on random play and an oldie comes on it’s a nice flashback. It’s fun to hear them again, even if I would never go pick them out and listen to them on purpose. Believe me, twenty years later, it’s kind of a kick to hear a song that reminds you of riding around in college with your buddies – even if the song kind of sucks :)

  102. Never mind CDs. What do I do with the thousand or so Vinyl LPs and Cassettes? I’ve just about got through them all now and got MP3 copies. They’re in fairly terrible condition because at various times they’ve been leant to people or used at parties. There’s a few in there like early Goon shows that are proving damned hard to find[1].

    Then there’s my dad’s collection of opera box sets. gah! As the music collection creeps over 20,000 tracks, I’m beginning to wonder what kind of lifetime those MP3s will have. Will I be able to give them to my grandkids? Will they be able to get remotely interested in early 70s psychedelic rock?

    I get this feeling that some time in the not too distant future, every piece of recorded audio ever will be available streamed on demand and we’ll be able to stop worrying about the music we “own”.

    [1]25 years ago I leant my copy of Rebop Kwaku Bah’s Trance and didn’t get it back. In October, I finally found a torrent. Hooray!

  103. The Library is the best possible solution. This insures the most amount of people will benefit. Most of the discs with go into the library itself.

  104. 1983= Beastie Boys 7 inch bought for $3.50
    1997= Beastie Boys 7 inch sold for $65

    I love you wacky kids and your failure to note you’ll have nothing to sell on eBay someday.

    1. Yeah, McGringoStarr, but how much of your record collection will sell for anything?

      And what’s the value of the space that collection is occupying? My apartment’s rent is over a dollar per square foot. If it takes (say) ten square feet to store my collection, that means I’m devoting over $10/month worth of space to it. Over the course of 14 years, that’d be $1680. I’d need about 25 of those items to sell for the kind of profit margin you describe just to break even.

      And if my rent increases faster than the average value of my collection, I’m losing money over time.

  105. After reading the titles of some of the CD’s in the collection, it sounds to me like the collector did the right thing by disposing of his garbage and keeping only that garbage which is of sentimental value.

  106. don’t trash!

    a couple of years ago I ripped what I wanted from a bunch of CD’s then put them in groups of 5 (arranged by genre) on ebay and made a little cash.

    another suggestion: give it all away for free on craigslist.

  107. I start with the what is legal ( I know fair use screw the record companies etc… ). Those discs basically act as your license to that music, if you burn them to the computer you need to keep the disk. The minute you sell, or give away the disk the music on your hard drive is pirated.

    Rip all the CD’s with a lossless format, Apple Lossless is the easiest in iTunes, for those fighting the man there some open source versions of the flac compressor you can figure out. Remove the disk cover and back art and place them in one of those big CD binders. Recycle the plastic. I usually keep the cardboard cases and box sets together, which is about 2% of my collection. The amount of space your collection will then take up after the fact is miniscule and can hide out with the other few important things you are storing.

    1. Would you voluntarily delete all of your files if your CDs happened to be stolen away from you?

      I don’t know about the accuracy of your statements, that the CD represents a license and that giving away/selling the CDs will render you a pirate. Can you back that up with some sort of reference?

  108. You could make a massive reflector dish. I don’t know what all it will reflect..
    I’d stack them up into 50-100lb dumbells and use iron pipes for grips. They’re not as heavy as iron of course, but those huge shiny dumbells would look awesome.

  109. I don’t understand how people can stand to only have one or two songs from an album, unless it’s like total pop garbage where most of the album is filler. An album like Ready to Die, for example, deserves to be listened to in full, like Biggie intended it.

  110. Agreed that trashing is the pinnacle of waste, but the real world value of the discs mentioned is next to nothing (with the inexplicable exception of Bon Jovi). It wouldn’t have hurt to give them one pass at a local used CD shop to see what they’d take. After that, the best bet on the remainder would have been charity and let them worry about trashing them – at least you’d have an environmentally clean conscience.

  111. I did a couple of different things. There is a group near me called got books which came to my home with boxes. The boxed up many of my old unread books, cds, dvds and vcr tapes and took them to their used book store. I got rid of six boxes worth of books and two of cds/dvds.

    I listed some of my rarer things, on ebay, and went to a used record store in Boston with the things I thought would not be of all that much value.

    Nothing went to a landfill, and I am sure someone found a use for my unwanted things. And the money got books makes from the sale of my items goes to projects I support.

  112. I set up my CD ripper (Grip) to look up the titles/performers for all the tracks, rip a CD (leaving a WAV file), trim off the silence off either end (declick -e -s), and compress to FLAC at best compression keeping all the metadata Grip looked up in the file.

    I have a nice collection of all my audio accessible via DAAP (using mt-daapd) and I play perfect losslessly compressed rips whenever I want (with Rhythmbox).

    My portable audio player also plays FLACs should I ever want to take some audio with me and listen. I’m interested in setting up a wireless computer in a car so I can have an encrypted connection between my jukebox and my car and listen wherever there is wireless Internet access in the area. I figure I can learn to do all of this with free software like I did all the rest with nothing but free software.

  113. 1. Stack up the CDs to a reasonable height.
    2. Take a photo so you can read the spines.
    3. Keep the ones you like.
    4. Give the rest to the library.

    If ever you are having a nostalgic moment or are trying to remember something you had-look at the photos. If you really want to hear something that you got rid of, buy it used some place like Amazon.

    If you want to be super fancy, use Evernote and your photos of your former CD collection will be searchable.

  114. Holy crow, you must have had a lot more money than I did when I was in high school. Did you have an allowance, or did you buy those with the earnings from an actual job? (don’t mean it if I sound snarky; that’s the jealousy talking).

  115. I’d already gone the route of placing the artwork (front and back) and the disc into plastic sleeves (SCDDPJ if you want to google them). Even with that reduction, I am running out of space.

    Endymion’s suggestion to save the discs on spindles and throw away absolutely everything else — every trace of artwork — is shocking, repulsive, and …interesting.

    I don’t know if I could do that. Fact is there have been many times when I’ve had to scan a front cover in order to have the proper artwork displayed in iTunes.

    But mostly, I just don’t know if I could dismiss the artwork as no longer relevant. I can’t imagine reading liner notes, but the pictures are sometimes so pretty…

    With that said, are there industrial strength spindles available? Ones that could endure for years?

  116. Donate them to your local public library; if your library won’t take them, our library will:
    and please re-cycle anything too far gone to re-use.

  117. My vote is for time-capsule.

    Bury our crap now, so future generations can marvel at how stupid we were ‘back then’.

  118. I really hope by ‘trash’ you mean, donating to your local charity or advertising somewhere as a ‘giveaway’.. or Even leave them outside your house in a box with a big ‘free music’ sign.. let someone else get a kick out of your garbage..

  119. Second the idea of giving them to the Public Library. I’ve been doing this with books, cds, and dvds for years. Some go in the library’s permanent collection and some get sold at the annual Friends of the Library sales. Definitely a very worthy cause, and the gift is tax deductible.

  120. For the Canadian perspective, our current copyright act says the following in terms of making private copies:

    “Copying for Private Use

    Where no infringement of copyright
    80. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the act of reproducing all or any substantial part of
    (a) a musical work embodied in a sound recording,
    (b) a performer’s performance of a musical work embodied in a sound recording, or
    (c) a sound recording in which a musical work, or a performer’s performance of a musical work, is embodied
    onto an audio recording medium for the private use of the person who makes the copy does not constitute an infringement of the copyright in the musical work, the performer’s performance or the sound recording.


    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the act described in that subsection is done for the purpose of doing any of the following in relation to any of the things referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) to (c):
    (a) selling or renting out, or by way of trade exposing or offering for sale or rental;
    (b) distributing, whether or not for the purpose of trade;
    (c) communicating to the public by telecommunication; or
    (d) performing, or causing to be performed, in public.

    1997, c. 24, s. 50.”

    It doesn’t make any reference to ownership of the original source. Also, limitation A refers to the copy, not the original source.

  121. I’ve been ripping all my DVDs (around 400) for the same reason as others have mentioned — space. I can’t in good conscience throw the ones out I’ve ripped (since the laws here say I’m supposed to keep the original) so I will find a way to reduce the space and store them away somewhere, never to be seen again.

    The worst thing is that even though I’m not all the way through, I’ve already found a few that don’t work. The discs are always kept in good condition, and the ones that have failed have been ones I’ve bought around the same time as others so why they’ve failed is a mystery to me.

  122. The only reason to keep physical CD’s, rather than files on a big hard disk, is if you want to display them in a bookshelf for visitors to browse through when you have people over.

    Anything that your friends probably wouldn’t want to listen to, sell it. You wouldn’t BUY it if you didn’t currently HAVE it, right? So there’s no rational reason to KEEP it, either.

  123. It sounds like you have distanced yourself from these “high school” CDs so you may not care what happens to them – but if you go all digital, you will regret getting rid of the original CDs. Sooner or later, hard drives, ipods, +RW, et al…crash. So, for the price to implement safe redundency, you might as well just keep all those original CDs. Maybe just put them into books as others have suggested, to reduce space. It would be a shame in the future to spend money downloading something you alreay own.

  124. is a great way to get rid of dvds, cds, video games, and books. I’ve sold a bunch of video games through it. They do all the shipping for you (they just send you a pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope to slip the game or CD into) which I really dig.

  125. I own thousands of music recordings but I think maybe 5 DVDs, all of them concert recording that were hard to get. We watch DVDs all the time but we rent or Nexflix. I don’t get why any adult would want to watch a movie more than twice. Kids, OK, put Spongebob on repeat and turn them loose, but popular Hollywood films? Not worth shelling out to own.

  126. A few years ago I went through this and basically decided to give them all, wholesale, to my little sister, who is 10 years younger. I hope she listened to a few of them..

  127. I agree with the librarians who have already posted to say that the vast majority of libraries do not want to deal with old discs and books. People seem to feel that they’re doing the world a favor by donating their “treasured” articles to libraries. Sadly, these possessions are usually worthless. Your compassionate donation of “Big Willie Style” and “The Titanic Soundtrack” simply becomes a burden to the poor schmuck who has to haul them through the parking lot and load them into the dumpster. (The same goes for old mass-market books. I’m talking Nora Roberts here, not the cool pulp fiction!)

    As someone else said, Half Price Books is a good option because they take everything. The sellable merchandise is put on the floor so someone else has a chance to grab it for WAY cheap, and all the rest (things for which there’s no demand or an overwhelming supply, or things that are in bad condition) get recycled if it’s possible to recycle the material.

    I worked for Half Price Books for a long time, and was often in charge of pricing and shelving the CD/LP sections. I can safely say that no one wants to buy your rejected CDs from high school…not even for a dollar or less! Some things are better off in the trash.

    If all else fails and you can’t stand to trash it, you can always make art with it. Surely there’s a good use for hundreds of shiny discs…attach them to a wall?

    1. Surely there’s a good use for hundreds of shiny discs…attach them to a wall?

      Paint floor black. Glue CDs to floor. Coat with clear epoxy until level. Buy mirrored ball.

  128. Gather some plastic four one-gallon milk bottle containers. Fill the cartons with your album collection. Lash them together in either a 7×3 or a 6×7 array, and lay some futons over this. Toss your old bed. About 125 cds will fit into each carton.

  129. My husband and I went through the same dilemma with our old lps. We have drug them around for years even though we no longer had a means by which to play them. We finally went through, figured out which ones we might want to listen to, found if they were available on cd or download. If they were we donated/sold them. We kept about 10 rare albums that have never been re-released that we will one day digitize.

  130. Honestly Lisa, just keep the rare stuff. Donate the rest. Everything you’ve listed could easily be downloaded. Your newly emptied space outweighs the 10 minutes of web searching. Sure, there’ll be missteps in de-cluttering. I still miss my “Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung” book by Lester Bangs, but those missteps are few and far between.

  131. The first thing you should do is scan the photo albums, and upload to dropbox (or other)

    CD’s can be replaced, photos cannot.

  132. There are several better options than throwing old CDs out.

    Discs for Dogs
    – Discs for Dogs will sell the discs, 100% of the proceeds going to the SPCA. They’ll even reimburse your shipping costs. (Although I would suggest shipping out-of-pocket to help cover their expenses… Then write off the shipping costs at tax time!)

    The Compact Disc Recycling Center of America
    68H Stiles Road
    Salem, NH 03079

    The Arch
    Donate new or gently used books, CDs, DVDs, LPs, VHS tapes, and magazines appropriate for children or adults. The Arch seeks to increase literacy access.
    43 West 24 St #8B
    New York, NY 10010
    (212) 924-0718

    CD Donation to Public Libraries in California

    Another CD Recycling Program

  133. er….for all the commenters who say “keep the CD’s because you don’t know how long your CD-R/hard drives/iPods will last”…..I have a lot of cd’s from the 80’s that you can see through now – they stopped being playable sometime around the 15 year mark. Go ahead and hang on to them if you wish. I’d rather just buy a new hard drive every year and transfer the files. One of the reasons I embraced digital music so long before the napster days was the fact that I would never have to buy some albums for the 20th time.

    for all who say “trash the discs, you can always get them again later if you really want”……wrong. There’s a lot of music out there that’s out of print, and the digital revolution never changed that. There’s no promise that some obscure work from the last 20 years won’t be out of print (or very very difficult to find) in the next 20 years.

    and for all those whining about the copyright infringement of ripping the discs and then selling/giving them away: make up an insult and apply it to yourself, I won’t waste any time on you.

  134. Think outside the jewel case! CDs make nifty decor, if you’re into shiny. They also make superb coasters. I have seen some people hang them to keep birds from their gardens as well. A few hundred discs is a bit much, but it’s probly just the right amount for an art student who’s low on cash and needs a sculpture medium.

  135. This is what happens when you buy your art as a commodity! I totally shuddered at the sentence “I could not, in good conscience, throw away the original self-titled Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey or Janet” to which I respond even the landfill has rules about toxic things.

    Only a person who buys music based on the whim of what’s at the top of the charts would be faced with such a dilemma. My buying habits 20 years ago mirror today’s and I probably retain 90% + of what I bought back then. I can’t imagine dumping my Gyorgi Ligeti requiem, Japanese pressing of The Sky’s Gone Out or any Harmonia Mundi – just because I bought it 20 years ago. But then again, I didn’t base my shopping on Wal Mart acquisitions.
    I’ve been accused of snobbery, but would you force a wine connoisseur to drink MD 20-20 from a chipped cup? Nevertheless I have over the years worked in places where listening to someone’s Wal Mart collection was inescapable, so I’ll weigh in here because I couldn’t back then: I loathe top-40: good riddance to your high school cd collection.

  136. If you have very rare out of print CD’s and imports of obscure bands like I had keep those because no matter what some people say, some CD’s you’ll never find again even with BitTorrents or P2P’s. Unfortunately I had a large number of CD’s like that that were stolen, and I still haven’t been able to find either used, download, or otherwise after many years of searching. Of course I had several friends who had similar tastes in music that at one time I could have borrowed their stuff and converted it but those friends are long gone.

    At the moment I have 2000+ classical music CD’s that for the most part are long out of print. I rue the day if anything happens to them.

    Alas it seems to me you don’t have that problem with your collection. If you aren’t listening to it and want some extra $$ sell them to a used CD store, donate them, or if you’d like to save people from listening to some god awful music, toss ’em.

  137. Strangly enough I have been ripping all of my old cd’s and then trading them in at the local indy record store for credit to buy records for the really cool record players that I have picked up over the last few years.

  138. Grrrr!

    Do they have no second-hand stores or charities in your town? No freecycle? No kijiji? No plastic recycling? Leave them in a box on the street, for god’s sake. Someone will take them.

    From someone who rescues monitors (usually working) from the garbage on a weekly basis, people who have so much privilege they don’t realize the value of the stuff they have make my blood boil.

    At the very least they should be charged extra money or fined for abusing their garbage privileges and not learning now to deal with their stuff in a responsible way.

    Throwing away perfectly useful things… there should be a circle in Hell dedicated to that sin.

  139. analyze the color content of the title side and pixelate the roof of your neighbors house with a photo montage of your favorite child or pet at play.

  140. Sell it for the best price you can @ your next garage sale!!! Or consider having it bronzed for posterity!!!

  141. Donate them to the public library. That way, everyone can enjoy them and you get the satisfaction of giving. You can always go back and check them out again to burn, etc..if you wanted to.

  142. The part about “everything else went in the trash” made me want to cry. What an insensitive inhabitant of Earth. Where’s Klaatu when we need him?

  143. I agree with the ‘rip everything’ philosophy; it actually takes less time. It’s too bad you threw them out though; there’s always going to be someone who wants them.

    I keep all my CDs, even the junky ones, but if you don’t want them it would be nice to give them away or sell them.

  144. I recently went through the same thing – I ripped about 250 CDs onto my iTunes. Its took forever, about 10 a day (did it while at work – dont tell).

    Let me just say that the chances of me listening to Too Short “Get in Where you Fit In” again are extremely unlikely. Thankfully my musical tastes changed since junior high school. I did find some treasures – NOFX Punk in Dublic, what a great album.

    At the risk of sounding like an !@#hole – my music tells the story of my life – so why not keep it. Also, 15$ x 250 CD’s is crap load of money!

    1. At the risk of sounding like an !@#hole – my music tells the story of my life – so why not keep it.

      risk averted.

  145. Physical storage is actually vastly cheaper than on-disk storage. Stack ’em up, wrap ’em in used plastic, wrap that in foil, plastic again, bury in known location. Dig up in 50 years still fresh as a daisy, less cost than the electricity to run a hard drive over the same time period (not even counting the thousands of bucks in related costs for hardware maintenance, cooling, etc).

  146. I second the comment:
    Rip in lossless format like Flac or Apple Lossless (with iTunes) then give away to charity.

    If you feel you have to save the discs, take out the booklets from the front, slip the cd inside and carefully box them. Give the jewel cases to Goodwill.

  147. I’m keeping my CD’s ’cause one night the copyright police will send black helicopters to my house and if I can’t prove the music on my laptop was obtained legally then I will be sent to a camp.

  148. Ditching the cases is critical – they are very heavy and take up a ton of room. I opted to keep all of my CDs and the art too. The very best solution for storing this stuff is the CD Pro sleeves at There’s plenty of room for the CD, the booklet, and the front and back artwork from the CD case. They are expensive but if you can afford it, they are well worth it. How you store the sleeves is then up to you. They have some nifty racks and cases on that site – or any box will do.

  149. Please do NOT revert musicians’ work to mp3. There’s no going back and your music (and ears) deserve better.

    So many people are still unaware teat iPods can take full WAV (CD quality) format – even this falls far short of studio quality.

    If you MUST compress for archiving to digital storage, use Apple Lossless or AAC @320kb/s or FLAC. And be ready to re-archive periodically.
    – pro mastering engineer.

  150. Hmmm, That leaves me to think. I’ve got quite the colection in disc based media. Currently I am the owner of a very small room with almost everything crammed into it. Last week I saw a film about a guy moving to Barcalona for a year. If I were to do that I would box everything up and move it to my dads place. He got space.

  151. If you rip them, you can not legally give them away. You must own the original, if you’re going to pretend it’s legal.

    So rip them, then box them up for storage. Or do what most people do and download the songs you want for a lot less trouble, and still box them up for storage.

    I recently went through CDs I’ve had in boxes for 5 years and found quite a few I wanted to hear again.

  152. You should sharpen the edges of all your CDs to razor sharpness and then sign up to participate in a real-life version of Tron Deadly Discs.

  153. Box and keep them. If you have a ripped copy of that music you must retain the collection to prove you have the license.

  154. My vote is to donate them if you don’t plan on listening to them again. Space is far too limited and if someone would actually enjoy them then they certainly have more value in circulation than they would boxed away.

  155. Sell them. Don’t buy anymore music either, such a waste of money when it is available for free. Of course if you want to pay for it by all means do go ahead, just means I can get it for free for longer.

  156. All these comments about keeping CDs to ‘prove you have the originals’ are hilarious. Prove to whom, exactly? If we get to the point where we have copyright police breaking down our doors in the middle of the night to inspect our music collections, then we have much bigger problems to grapple with. Sheesh.

  157. I really don’t like CD’s now and i’ve been buying them since 1988. All these people who bang on about the artwork being an integral part of the CD, on a lot of CD’s you can hardly read the print, and the artwork/ feel of a CD is not a patch on vinyl. As for the quality of CD over Mp3/AAC (as long as it’s encoded between 192 and 320 kbps) is negligible. However i am wrestling with my conscience over whether to sell or not as i do sincerely regret do the same with my vinyl. I am toying with the idea of starting to collect vinyl again whilst having the convenience of mp3

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