I don't know about Regarding Henry but Regarding Haim there is definitely plenty of albums that I should let go and have someone else enjoy them.
First, there are the easy decisions with recordings purchased long time ago that played now do nothing for me and I know that will not change in the future. The second group (which is larger and harder to select) is quality musicians that I have way too much of their work. A good example is Keith Jarrett that I could do with seven of his albums instead of eighteen. Another one is Charles lloyd that I easily get the idea of his music in just five discs instead of the dozen I own . How many variations of Goldberg Variations one needs? Probably Gould's two, a few more on the piano, a harpsichord one and a string arrangement would do. I have quite a few extras to spare.
With me, on top of physical space it is a state of mind, overwhelmed by too much unused stuff lying around me and having a constant urge to lighten up the load. I am reminded of Tim O'Brian's short story "The Things They Carried" about what was found in the pockets of his infantry platoon's fellow soldiers in Vietnam. A great selection of short stories to read even if you intend to keep all your music.
I'm with you more than it seems. Keith Jarrett is a good example. I think I have more than fifteen discs myself, and I could do with two(*) plus a single track from a Live in Tokyo DVD. Charles Lloyd has just one entry in my collection but I play it very rarely because I don't love the saxophone. But the worst is Brad Mehldau, I only really like one and half of his recordings (not that I only like half of one of it, but I only like it half of the times I play it, while other times I cannot understand it because it just sounds to me like an uncontrollable, yet somehow rigid, stream of musical consciousness) but have way too many. His productions are always bloated sound wise, with big bass and invasive sound. He's a respectable man culturally, and an excellent pianist, but he plays musical notes as he writes his own liner notes: way, way too many.
Sometimes, on the radio, I hear some jazz number and it all seems to exaggeratedly mainstream, foreseeable, academic that I wonder why I ever got interested in jazz to begin with. I gave my copy of Kind of blue to a friend even before having listened to it thoroughly.
The Goldberg Variations: unfortunately, that something ineffable that rules the human things has managed to make poor Gould's 1981 version become an epitome of lifestyle banality, like Apple; people adore it even without knowing why. There wasn't such a thing as Gouldianism, now there is. What's more, the first (1954) and last (1981) version are so antipodal in concept and rendition that I wonder how one can make one with one and the other.
There are CDs that I put on the player and after 30 seconds I'd take off and throw out of the window. I've done it, from my car, a couple of times. Fact is, we own and listen to too much music. Nobody would go to two concerts on the same night, but there are people who post about having spent hours and hours playing music until, as if time had stopped, it was three o' clock a.m. This is not music loving, it is music bulimia and I know perfectly well where it comes from: it's an induced need generated from having a stereo system. Even if you don't really want to listen to some piece, you want to hear the system sounding; and choose not necessarily what you love, but often what you just don't dislike, but makes your gear make the best noise.
60 years ago a man with a stereo wanted the new, unexpected and rare pleasure to listen to Beethoven's Symphonies even without a public concert in the next weeks or within a 50-miles radius: he bought the massive Toscanini complete edition or the Fürtwængler one, and was happy. Now you can have 20 complete editions, and there are people who catalogue them on the basis of duration: 5th Symphony, I movement: Haitink 6'23", Karajan 5'48", Bruno Walter, 6'21".... And so on. And they judge music on this basis. It almost makes me wish that not a single note was ever written.
I am aware that in twenty more years I could love something I now hate, but the hypothesis dies the moment it is born: I have no idea that I'll be alive in twenty minutes. So, please, get rid of everything you don't wish to keep, with the same freedom and happiness with which you'd buy something. I promise I'll do.
(*) Live in Tokyo 1996 and The melody at night with you