Here's the Scoop: December 18, 2013

Another winter project
A few weeks back, I provided a blow-by-blow account of a day spent cleaning the basement. It was riveting stuff, several readers informed me. I even had requests asking if we’d made a YouTube video and could I send the link? Not without a sponsorship deal.
This type of encouragement made it seem logical that I should reveal all the intimate details of last weekend’s extraordinary event — straightening up the stereo cabinet!
Much like tackling the basement, the stereo cabinet job is one that sort of, kind of, gets avoided. Unlike the basement, there are no garbage cans to deal with and no litter box lurking. Dust is minimal, too.
Even though the stereo cabinet cleanout doesn’t require donning a respirator, it’s still something to be avoided. The big problem is that we have a pretty large collection of music in there — on compact discs. You may remember those — perhaps you remember eight-tracks and cassettes, as well. Vinyl records are making a comeback, so they aren’t part of the quiz.

Easy listening
Compact discs (CDs) are a different animal. These were hailed as the future of music not all that long ago. Until they weren’t. In the meantime, we accumulated tons of them. Thus, the dread for tackling the stereo cabinet “tune-up.”
There was a time when it seemed like a good idea to alphabetize the CDs. Make them easy to find. Just put them back in the right place. The theory was good. The execution often fell victim to laziness. Mine. Things got worse when discs were taken out for use in the cars. Add a huge number of “burned” CDs to the mix and the stereo cupboard was something to be avoided — like a Vanilla Ice song.
The trouble is, by definition, the stereo is still in the cupboard and we use it many times each day. Just not for playing CDs. Going through the CDs, I wasn’t surprised at the number of them — but mostly how long it had been since most of them had been played. I recall being a bit reluctant to dip my toes in the water of legally downloaded music, but once I started, it was a headfirst dive.
But, I still can’t get rid of the CDs. Or my vinyl, for that matter (now officially part of the basement clutter). I still have illusions of copying my favorite discs to the iPod, but that job doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction.

Just don’t touch them. Ever
Since we don’t really play the CDs much, I figured that a cleaned out stereo cupboard might actually stay that way for quite some time. So, I spent many hours discarding discs that were in rough shape and tracking down the proper cases for orphaned CDs. I still ended up with a few empty cases and some CDs without homes, but the project was a success.
As I went through the task, I was pleased to realize that very few of the many hundreds of discs were of the “embarrassing” variety. I ultimately remembered that I had “donated” the music fitting that description to a public collection a number of years back — and then denied ever having owned them.
I’m hoping that since 99 percent of our music is “consumed” via iPod, iPad and iPhone, I can soon rename the cupboard containing the stereo equipment the iDon’thavetorearrangetheCDsanymorecabinet. Music to my ears.
— Brian Sweeney