Very true, Mark. Setting aside the time and going through the rituals meant you were going to sit down and enjoy the playback. And I admit I have a certain nostalgia for those times.
I still live in that world! Call it nostalgia or whatever, vinyl playback in my system with a good LP can still trounce my digital front end. But you CAN live in both worlds.
Most of the time, when I just want to play something for background, while cooking, or whatever, I stream from a music server to a Roku player connected to my system. It's fast, convenient, and sounds good. But when I want to listen for pure enjoyment, or to a particular rendition of a classical work, I always reach for an LP. It does help that my vinyl collection is seven times that of my CD collection.
A few items for the list:
A good quality spirit level. This is one of the most important, and many times overlooked, aspects of setting up a turntable. I'm not a fan of the cross-point or circular levels as they are not very accurate.
A good quality record and stylus brush. I'm a fan of the old Decca and Hunt brushes from the UK, but there are a number of excellent carbon bristle brushes on the market. Lyra makes an excellent stylus brush that comes with their cleaner.
The Disc Doctor cleaning system. Simply the best brushes and fluid I have ever used for really deep cleaning an LP.
Finally, if you have the scratch, the biggest improvement you can make to your record collection is a vacuum cleaning machine. They are expensive, starting at around $600, but they make a world of difference! I'm a fan of the smallest, auto rotating Nitty Gritty model (1.5?) which I've used for over 20 years with no issues, other than replacing the cleaning pads from time to time. The VPI 16.5 is also excellent and runs around the same price as the Nitty Gritty.
Enough! I could talk about this all day, but I have work to do!