The Great Cassette Tape Clear-out of 2011

Today I started on a task I’ve been dreading – sorting through eight huge boxes of cassette tapes sitting upstairs in the spare attic bedroom (which has been used as a dumping ground for the last 12 years).

Over the last four months or so, I’ve cleared almost all the floor space in that room. The personal papers and mementos are all safely packed away ready to move, the old clothes have been donated to charity, 30-something boxes of VHS tapes are gone, and I’ve filled heaven knows how many garbage bags with rubbish.

Now the main things left up there are some old computers and these damn boxes of tapes. I left the tapes until last simply because it was such a mammoth undertaking, but now they’re the only thing standing between me and being able to vacuum and clean the whole room rather than just the middle bit, so they have to be dealt with.

Having made my mind up that today was the day, I armed myself with a mug of tea and some cardboard boxes, marched up there and got to work. Some of these tapes have a lot of sentimental value to Phil, so this isn’t like the VHS tapes that he was happy to just throw away. I need to separate out the ones he might want from the ones that he won’t (or that belong to me) so that he can take it from there and sort through them one by one. I don’t want him to get rid of things he wants to keep – but on the other hand, neither of us wants to spend money on shipping rubbish back to the UK. This means I have to look at every single tape and there are thousands of them.

Here’s my system:

The box on the left is filled with all the tapes that don’t have any labels. Who knows what’s on any of them? (If it was up to me, these would go to the recycling center without a backward glance but Phil isn’t ready for that yet, so I’m putting them all together for now.) The middle box contains the tapes I know we can get rid of. The box on the right are the ones that belong to him and that are labeled. He needs to sort through those and decide which, if any, he wants to keep.

I started out with such enthusiasm but as the afternoon wore on, the sheer magnitude of the task started to overwhelm me. I only got through 3 of the huge boxes today and barely made a dint in terms of freeing up floor space.

Still, once upon a time I thought those videos would never go and we got there eventually. Tomorrow is another day!


2 thoughts on “The Great Cassette Tape Clear-out of 2011

  1. Oh, you brave woman. When I made the move here, I finally just got fed up and loaded things into the car to be taken to the recycle, reuse bit of of the tip. No idea what I might have gotten rid of.

  2. Honestly if it were up to me, I think that’s what I would have done. Just chucked everything and made a new start at the other end. But for my husband, who has always been a hoarder, letting these things go is a huge deal, so I’m going at his pace.

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