Full circle vinyl / Perfect vinyl album storage cubes / Inspirational weight-loss update from a long-term blog reader

Last week I wrote about my vinyl adventures and how I arrived at a yard sale early but too late to get some of the albums I've been coveting, specifically the soundtrack to Woodstock and Crosby, Stills & Nash. This past Saturday I found a few non-vinyl treasures while out picking, some of which I posted to my Instagram. Once I had hit all of the yard sales on my list I headed home around 10:00 a.m. (I leave my house before 6:30 a.m.) but saw signs and stopped at an unadvertised yard sale, just like I had last week where I scored the psychedelic record box filled with magic. When I say "unadvertised" I mean that it wasn't listed online or in the paper. I asked the lady having the sale if she had any albums.

"I didn't bring any out."

"But they're in your basement?"

"Yes, I have lots of records in there. What are you looking for?"

"Classic rock..."

"Oh I've got tons of that. I can ask my neighbor to watch my sale so I can go to the basement and get them. Or maybe you can just come and look? But wait! I don't know you. Who are you? I can't let a stranger in my house."

I'm totally with her on that! So we chit-chatted briefly, then she scrutinized me a bit more before security let me through the golden rope, so to speak.  

Her basement was finished, meaning it wasn't musty at all. Records stored in basements can suffer a lot of damage from moisture and mold. She placed a large pile of albums on top of the basement bar. Oh! Good things! But then she placed another big pile beside it. And another. And even more!

"This is my entire collection. You need to know in the 70s I played Frisbee with some of these."

In summary, I bought all albums, about 150 of them, uninspected, with the understanding that some were in unplayable condition which was reflected in the offer I made her. It was a gamble for me but I was feeling good about this! We both smiled and reached an agreement. Turns out she's originally from New Jersey like me before I moved to NYC in grade school. Suddenly we were super chatty. She and her neighbor's daughter helped me load them all into the back seat of my car. By the time I was leaving we hugged good-bye as a man got out of his car and saw me with a big smile.

"What'd I miss?" he asked. "Did you buy something great?"

"Just some records."

"Oh, that's what I wanted!" Then, in a lowered voice: "Was there anything good?"

"Nah," I said not wanting to gloat. "Not really." But he knew.

Once home I unloaded them into my sunroom and started to process, mentally and physically, what I had just acquired:

One by one I wiped down the covers which weren't too dusty and checked the condition of the vinyl before I put each into one of three piles: Frisbees, Playable Keepers and Not My Taste.

After a few hours of what felt like Christmas morning I had whittled the keepers down to 110 albums (still pinching myself), two of which were in TMWBWEA's (The Man Who Bought Woodstock Et Al) pile: Woodstock and Crosby, Stills & Nash! There was only one Beatles album, Rubber Soul, but hey! Rubber Soul!! I was most excited about this, though:

What else is in there? Like a true Jersey Girl she collected all of Bruce Springsteen. Also: Fleetwood Mac, Little Feat, Poco, The Doors, The Eagles, Bob Dylan, Moody Blues, Allman Brothers, Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Carole King, Carly Simon, Marvin Gaye, Boz Scaggs and more! There's even some 80s like The Police!

An instant (or slow) collection of awesomeness brings the luxury problem of: Where the heck do I put it all? I wanted a practical, attractive and active display as opposed to Rubbermaid bins in my basement.

Looking online I saw a lot of "eco friendly" faux wood particle board storage cubes but I wanted solid wood. Then I flashed back to when I asked TMWBWEA how he stores his 5,000+ albums, and he told me about a store in my town, Chilton Furniture, that sells Maine craftsmen made stackable 100% solid pine storage cubes. I took a ride over and came home with two of them, priced at only $35 each which is completely reasonable compared to what's out there! Plus they smell great!

I may paint them white; haven't yet decided but I don't want to cover up that natural refreshing pine aroma. I'll probably buy a couple more as my collection grows. Chilton Furniture does ship, so if you like what you see you can order their pine storage cubes online. (This is not a sponsored post.)

It really felt like things had come full circle from last week!

I want to share some things I've been learning:
  • A record that has some visible light scratches might still be very playable and pleasurable to listen to with only a few pops and little noise.
  • A perfect looking album might sound warped or skip.
  • When you go to yard sales, if you don't see any records out, ask very nicely if they have any they want to rehome.
  • Classic rock in volume at one pop, like more than a handful, is hard to come by. I've been out picking for close to two decades, and the past two weekends are unusual. The majority of what I see are polka, instrumentals and stuff for kids. Anything I'd want to buy is usually in terrible shape or the owners don't want to sell them, or their spouse forbids it.
  • You can get decent albums on ebay that have some cover damage or small imperfections but still sound great for under $3 each, including The Beatles, but the shipping will double or triple the price. It's very time consuming to buy a collection that way, one by one, nor is it any fun (for me.)
  • On the flip side it's time consuming and not very profitable to sell a large collection off that way, one by one, having to photograph and describe the condition in detail, then package and ship it. The only time that isn't the case is if you have something highly collectible in mint+ condition. 
  • Most record stores, a least around me, only pay pennies on the dollar. I found this out when I wanted to unload the Not My Taste pile. So I put it on craigslist and sold it within a few hours for exactly what I paid per album! 
  • I do not like new 180 gram vinyl reissues of vintage albums. Much like cast iron, with the older cast iron being much lighter in weight but higher in quality than new, heavier doesn't necessarily mean better. I had to return my 2012 White Album reissue because it was warped. My other three vinyl Beatles reissues have noticeable surface dimples that I've never seen on any of my vintage vinyl. Maybe it's limited to those I ordered, but online reviews are mixed.
  • Listening to records is good for my figure. I have to get up from where I'm sitting to flip them over or play a new one. There's more movement with taking albums out and putting them away. Hearing songs I love on vinyl fulfills me more than any junk food ever did. Plus, I never danced while shoveling it all in with both hands!
In closing I have some inspiration to share from long-time blog reader "RL" who bought my book almost three years ago:
I wanted to give you an update. Again, I can't believe it's been almost another year since I last updated! I'm now down a total of 75-80 lbs. I have a 5 pound fluctuation range that I've been maintaining at. I have no more weight to lose at this point. My body is happy at this weight.

In some ways, it felt like it took forever to lose that weight, but at the same time it feels like the time flew by. I can't believe I'm already done losing the weight!
Congratulations, RL! I love hearing success (and vinyl adventure) stories from readers!


  1. I too love that era of rock and roll. I was in my "formative" years in the 60's and 70's, a lot of that music holds great memories for me!

    1. My computer won't let me post a new comment, so I'm posting as a reply to pearl.

      That was an amazing find, Averyl! Thank you for the mention of my weight loss story.


    2. pearl that's cool!

      RL thank you and I hope you'll keep updating and stick around!

  2. There's a classic rock station here that plays records sometimes, with all the pops, skips, etc. I love it! Enjoy your instant collection!!

    1. That's really cool and I love those quirks, too! Thank you!!

  3. I used to listen to my Aunts Billy Idol record when I was young. My husband just bought a record player and we can't wait to start our own collection.


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