life in a tiny apartment.

February 13, 2013

Tip #51: Streamline your music collection. Maybe.

Growing up my parents had a shiny silver stereo system that took up a corner of our dining room. Below it was a cabinet housing their record collection, or what remained of it after an unfortunate incident involving Wyoming in the heat of summer and the trunk of a Honda hatchback. I would sit on the floor of our living room and pull out the collection one by one.  The crown jewel for me was John Fogerty’s Centerfield. By the age of three I’m certain I knew precisely the groove where I needed to drop the needle to hear the glorious strains of “Rock and Roll Girl.” There were coordinated dance moves and the beginning of a life-long obsession with songs that include a rowdy tambourine beat. Do yourself a favor and listen to this track; the saxophone is pure 80s awesome.

In our own tiny apartment we have a somewhat smaller-scaled operation. In lieu of a record collection that takes up an entire piece of furniture, James and I have gone almost entirely digital. I say this with a certain amount of remorse and no guarantee that when it’s time for me to have kids of my own that I won’t invest in something more substantial. Call me crazy, but I just can’t imagine a childhood that doesn’t involve being scolded for dancing too enthusiastically next to a record player.

For now, a Tivoli radio and our ipods are the solution in this tiny apartment. We can connect our ipods right to the radio and the sound is honestly pretty stellar (psst: there’s even a wireless bluetooth version now). Our radio was a gift from James’s parents, but if you’re considering investing in one bit of equipment, I have only good things to say about the Tivoli.

And now I’m curious to know: have you guys gone digital with your music, or are you still toting around your zippered CD cases and brief cases full of cassette tapes?*

*Just in case you’re getting the idea that things are perfectly shipshape around here, I’ll confess that James still has PILES of bootlegged CDs in a closet in his parents’ home. You know, because studio recordings are for phonies.

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  • Reply Ashley Elizabeth February 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Both my boyfriend and I have our zippered CD cases, but I haven't bought a CD in a long time. 🙂

  • Reply janeray1940 February 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I've both been music-obsessed and lived in small spaces for most of my life, and until the earliest incarnation of Napster, my milk crates of records and my stereo equipment (turntable, not CD) followed me every time I moved. Once I discovered digitizing my music, I was an immediate convert and have not looked back. My music (50,000+ files) is all on my iMac and I'm pretty happy with that setup – the sound is good enough and loud enough to be heard anywhere in my 250 square feet.

  • Reply Anjali Kochhar Lipman February 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    All digital! Loving it in a condo with a two year old and no storage. We recycled all our CDs and cases at best buy. And don't worry, your child will be able to flip through an iPod or iPhone (by the age of two if like mine), find a beloved album cover and song, and rock out just the same next to whatever speaker it's plugged into.

    • Reply Erin February 13, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Ugh, I'm sure of it. But there's a part of me that just still has a soft spot for entertainment that doesn't involve a screen!

  • Reply Kayla Marie February 13, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Both, I just can't let go of my old Cds and love putting in a random mixtape I made (when burning CDs from all the illegal music you downloaded on your computer was the cool thing to do). The songs just take me back and make me smile! Honestly, I listen to Pandora on my laptop and satellite radio in the car more than anything now!


  • Reply Lauren February 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Since my boyfriend is an AV nerd, I delegated that part of the apartment to him…On the shelves where our TV sits he's managed to cram in a receiver and speakers, a record player, a tape deck and a VCR (I know, right). We also have an AppleTV, which was a great purchase. It allows us to stream our itunes through the speakers hooked up to the TV (and watch Netflix and youtube). I'd love to be a bit more edited about it, but we actually use it all and it's decently space efficient when piled on shelves….

    • Reply Erin February 13, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Sounds like an awesome set-up!

  • Reply Colleen February 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Funny you should post this today! I wouldn't normally post a link to a blog post on my own blog, but my husband JUST posted about his return to vinyl records today. Here it is:

    Just seems to timely given your post today! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Erin February 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      thanks for the link, Colleen!

  • Reply thenerdykatie February 13, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I still have a few CD's since I haven't put in AUX spot in my car, but with books I have gone completely digital.

    • Reply Erin February 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      Wow! I'm sounding and more and more like a Luddite. I can't imagine going totally digital with books!

  • Reply Caitlin February 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    We've gone entirely digital and use a Logitech Squeezebox wireless radio. I don't really "own" much music anymore – we subscribe to Rhapsody (but you can't burn and share playlists from that unfortunately). I LOVE streaming a station to fit my mood and carting the Squeezebox into the bathroom to listen to old jazz when I take baths.

    Sometimes I think having records sounds so romantic and fun, but then I think of the cost and space issues and I'm not so sure I want to go down that road . . .

  • Reply taste area February 13, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    My husband and I have toooooons of vinyl records and cds which we love and don't think we'll ever get rid of but we also have two small kids which is kind of "better use the tivoli when you two are awake"!
    Great design, great sound. I love it.

  • Reply Abby February 13, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    We're pretty haphazard, but in honor of getting a bigger apartment together, I set up my parents' old turntable and receiver and we've been accumulating LPs. I also have CDs and an iPod, and we listen to a lot of Pandora. But really, the LPs are way more fun than any of the above.

    My boyfriend also completely streamlined our TV-watching experience–we have a small digital unit that allows us to stream Netflix on the TV. Excellent!

  • Reply J+H @ Beyond The Stoop February 13, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    we have speakers that are wired into the airport (router). this way we can send tunes to the router and play anything we want from any computer or any phone (we're apple junkies at our house). it's so simple just to turn on pandora or spotify and have quality music on hand at any time without a bulky "player" with speakers. the speakers also double as surround-sound speakers for the tv with a quick switch of the cord from the router to the television…. they were certainly a solid investment!


  • Reply Anonymous February 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Love that John Fogerty song! I still have c/d's and play them on an actual "stereo" that I have of my boyfriends. Not the large furniture type, but a smaller version with speakers. Growing up we had that large wooden stereo that was more like a piece of furniture. I remember my mom playing her "records" and showing me how to dance! Miss that..

  • Reply RobbinTheHood Vintage February 13, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    We still have music in EVERY form, we are quite the romantics. We have an attachment to the old school concept of the album – or what once was the album. There's a love affair with putting the CD in and listening track to track, following along with the insert of lyrics and photos. that's why we haven't been able to part with our cd towers and cases, tapes and vinyl. music junkies much? ha.

    But I will also admit that our itunes library is quite extensive as well, and we use pandora. I am not sure what it is other than just not being able to let go, or being too romantic? But my boyfriend and I also compromise a large amount of our already small apartment with our music collection, so I admire your ability to downsize and go digital! I am so darn nostalgic! I just don't even know where to begin 🙂

  • Reply Neurotic Workaholic February 14, 2013 at 12:57 am

    I got rid of most of my CDs, but I kept a few of the CD jackets or covers or whatever you call them; I liked them because of the pictures of the artists, which I used to decorate my walls with when I was younger. I also still have a couple CD covers that were autographed by the musicians, so I'm definitely keeping those.

  • Reply barb February 14, 2013 at 2:50 am

    I love my tivoli. I have it at work with Sirius plugged into it.

  • Reply Lexie February 14, 2013 at 2:53 am

    I have a record player and records, but I quit buying cds last year.

  • Reply Lexie February 14, 2013 at 2:53 am

    I have a record player and records, but I quit buying cds last year.

  • Reply Bridgette February 14, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    We have not just one, but two record players. We have boxes of records stuffed under end tables in our living room. And we have a huge collection of digital music. (Can't take the record player on road trips, unfortunately.) We don't have kids, but we do have a multitude of nieces and nephews who adore dancing to the records and watching the records change.

  • Reply Sarah Dee February 17, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I live in a dorm and have about 50+ records shoved into a drawer underneath the stand that holds my record player. I'm too nostalgic about listening to Beatles records at my dad's to part with them! My boyfriend collects records and CDs as well and his dorm is set up pretty similar to mine. Nostalgia trumps space saving in this situation!


  • Reply Lisa-Marie February 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    We have a box full of tapes, a small but growing collection on vinyl, and hundreds of CDs. Music and books are the things we just don't streamline. Digital is missing somwthing for me.

  • Reply Trish Austin February 21, 2013 at 12:09 am

    I must confess I am a bit of a hoarder in that department and music collector . . . Although I have in the past few year buy more and more digital versions I can't seem to let go of the past vinyl, CD's and yes, cassette tapes purchases. Alas!

  • Reply Trish Austin February 21, 2013 at 12:10 am

    I must confess I am a bit of a hoarder in that department and music collector . . . Although I have in the past few year buy more and more digital versions I can't seem to let go of the past vinyl, CD's and yes, cassette tapes purchases. Alas!

  • Reply Keara Soller September 5, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Me and my boyfriend are avid CD and cassette collectors and for now they are displayed on a small bookshelf, but we don’t have anywhere to play them except in our ’98 ford ranger.

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