Each of us has a handful of things we have a hard time letting go of. For me, one of them is my DVD collection.
Not even my autographed ones–just the regular ones! I had no problem letting go of my CD collection, once I made sure they were all downloaded on my computer. (After the corruption of my entire music library recently, I wish I hadn’t). I got rid of quite a few of the books I own as well. My DVD collection, however, has been presenting a challenge for me. Now that we can stream nearly unlimited content at a moment’s notice, why do we need to re-watch movies? No matter how much we love it, there’s too much content out there to watch the same thing twice, right?
When there are things we are having trouble getting rid of, we need to ask ourselves why. What does it represent to me? Why have I given it so much meaning? For example, a crystal paperweight with the scales of justice I kept on my desk for the longest time, despite some chips in it, was hard for me to decide to get rid of. Why? I purchased it from a discount store, deeply discounted because of the chips that were already in it. I look back and think, why did I want it anyway? I thought about it and, despite the chips, it represented something to me. I bought it while I was in law school, young and optimistic about my future and my career. I am still young, but not always as optimistic about my future or my career. It’s been a rough start. So, I let it go.
I realized that many of the movies I have on DVD are available to stream on one or more streaming services. Why is it so hard for me, then, to get rid of them? Part of the reason is the fact that this collection I’ve amassed, while not huge by any standards, certainly cost me a lot of money over the years. Somewhere between $5-$20 per DVD, plus the cost of the DVD organizers we purchased last year to hold them. I know this is just the sunk cost fallacy. Those DVDs served me well when I bought them, watched them and enjoyed them. That was when streaming wasn’t widely available, live TV (maybe with a recording service) was the only option and re-watching favorite movies didn’t seem so absurd. I was a poor college student that didn’t bother paying for cable, so DVDs were my main source of entertainment.
Furthermore, I picture growing old, watching and enjoying old movies I love but haven’t seen in decades. It seems romantic and nostalgic. Intellectually, I know this is ridiculous. I tell myself that the DVDs no longer serve me and the whatever costs I have sunk into the collection were already sunk when I purchased it. (Unfortunately, old DVDs are not the easiest items to re-sell. I’ve tried.) Now that video streaming is widely available and fairly affordable, there will never again be a shortage of new content. Will I really be watching those old movies, like my grandparents did with those John Wayne movies? I doubt it. Something stops me every time I try to get rid of them. I write many of the posts in advance and, believe it or not, a few days after writing this The Minimalists posted an article about getting rid of your DVD collection. I will have to contemplate and work on this. Maybe soon one of my updates will triumphantly announce that I have finally minimized my DVD collection.