My maximalist media habit

Posted on: 16 January 2023

(Maximalist: simply intended in this case to mean the opposite of minimalist.)

I have a real hang-up about physical media, namely: DVDs and CDs. I was an avid collector in my teens and early 20s, keen to build up a collection that represented everything I enjoyed and, in some ways, that defined me as a person.

Fast forward a decade, and those same disks - trimmed down a little - still sit in container boxes in my office. No disk has seen the light of day for years. Worse, most have been carted to and from no less than 3 homes without use since being purchased. I don’t own a DVD player, my laptop doesn’t accept them nor does my car have a CD slot.

It’s long been established that physical media is on its way out. And yet, I can’t bring myself to part with them.

I have a misplaced belief that somehow these plastic boxes represent me in some way, and hold snapshots of my past self. I have misty-eyed visions of, decades from now, happening upon a film or album in its case that I loved when I was 21 and sharing that joy with my children.

Of course, in reality, the chance of me having a device around that can still play disks is much slimmer than it is now. Media will have long since moved to the cloud and will be accessible at the push of a button, as it largely is already.

So why do I continue to hold onto them as if they’re some priceless heirloom? Maybe because I’m tight, and giving them away or selling them for pennies is realising the loss of value for something that, in reality, I’ve barely used.

Perhaps I hold onto the notion of physical items being a part of my character too strongly. A dusty collection of DSLRs, lighting equipment and guitar pedals further reinforce this theory.

I know it’s a compulsion I need to relinquish to fully embrace the minimalist lifestyle I claim to embody. But it feels like giving a part of me away for little more than space in return. But I suspect the mental liberation may make it a worthwhile endeavour.