This week we're tackling CD and DVD storage and organization as part of the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home Challenge.
This challenge will most likely either be very easy and quick for you, or something that will take you a fair amount of time over the course of the week to get done.
The reason for this is that I've found people are either huge collectors of music and/or movies, or they don't own many discs at all. There doesn't seem to be much in between.
In addition, this is not a challenge you can do on your own for your whole family. Instead, all family members need to be involved, at least in the decluttering stage, since no one wants their music or movies thrown out without their say so (no matter how much you may personally not like them!)
Are you new here? The CD And DVD Storage And Organization Challenge is part of the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home Challenge. (Click the link to learn how to join us for free for future and past challenges if you aren't already a regular reader).
The first step in the CD and DVD Storage and Organization Challenge is to gather all of your discs, videos, casettes, etc. into one central location in your home.
Although you may watch movies or listen to music in multiple locations of your house it is much easier to organize and keep track of these collections if they're stored in a central location in your home.
Then, once you've got everything organized you can create a system for taking items around to other areas of your home, temporarily, perhaps in a rotation system (rotation is particulary useful for CDs in your car, for example), and then returning them regularly to what you've designated as the home base.
Once you've got everything gathered together the next step in the CD and DVD Storage and Organization Challenge is to declutter your music and movie collections.
My personal rule of thumb is to seriously consider getting rid of anything I or my family have not watched or listened to within the last year.
You can either donate or sell your old CDs and DVDs, or pass them onto friends and family.
If you notice you have to declutter lots of these discs, you may also want to consider renting in the future, or buying digitally, instead of purchasing new discs, to keep from developing so much of this clutter.
Another idea is to use a streaming program, such as Netflix, to keep this clutter at bay in the future. That's what my family does (you can read my Netflix review here, plus why I love Netflix streaming here.)
The third step in the CD and DVD Storage and Organization Challenge is to organize CDs in your collection that you're keeping.
There are many ways to organize your CDs, including:
There is really no right way, but instead it depends on the size of your collection and what makes intuitive sense to you and other family members.
However you group them, on shelves or in drawers, you may find it handy to use tabs to help you find the groupings easily when you're looking for a particular disc. For example, above you can see A-Z tabs which work on shelves for either CDs or DVDs which are alphabetized.
If you've got small kids who've got their own CDs, I would seriously suggest separating out their music into its own storage area or organizer. (The same goes with DVDs, which I'll discuss more below).
The reason is kids can't organize well by many of these categories when they're younger (three year olds can't generally alphabetize!) and your categories will quickly get messed up and you'll get frustrated if you keep them all together.
In our house, for both CDs and DVDs, we keep the family friendly stuff down low, and the Mom and Dad old fogey music and movies up higher, out of reach.
When going about the process of organizing your CDs (and DVDs too) a fundamental question you need to ask yourself up front is whether you will keep them in their jewel cases or not, and if not, will you keep the jewel cases in storage or throw them away?
The answers to these questions will impact how much room is needed to house your collection, and also what types of storage solutions you'll use in your home.
There are pros and cons to about any decision you make, and I'll list some of them I've encountered so you can make an informed decision.
Pros of keeping the jewel cases:
Cons of keeping the jewel cases:
A good solution to save space and make your music collection truly portable is to convert your CDs into MP3s.
It may be worth your time to make your collection digital, and organize it on your computer instead of in a physical collection.
Of course, if you choose to get rid of your physical copies you'll need to take even more precautions to back up your computer or other digital devices, preferably onto the cloud so its stored off-site, so you don't lose your entire music collection if there is a malfunction with your technology.
The next step in the CD and DVD Storage and Organization challenge is organizing DVDs.
Basically, this is done in the same manner as your CDs, by categorizing them in some manner and grouping them together so you can find the movie you want to watch easily from amongst your collection.
If you have quite a few movies, but don't want to declutter many of them another possibility is to burn your movies onto your computer, or upload them to the cloud, so you can watch them digitally from lots of different devices.
One of the newest services where you can do this for movies you already own is through Walmart's Disc to Digital program, in conjunction with Vudu.
This program just started in April of 2012, and costs $2 for most movies (or $5 if you want to convert to HD).
If anyone has used this program I'd love to hear your experiences with it, either positive or negative, to know whether it's worth doing.
Although I know a lot of your discs are used for entertainment, you've also most likely got CDs and DVDs that are for your computer, which came as part of your software, and/or backup discs you've created.
Make sure, as part of the CD and DVD Storage and Organization Challenge, that you declutter and organize these discs too.
Although in general I think you should keep all CDs and DVDs together, I should clarify that I mean all the entertainment ones in one central location. In addition, you should keep all of the computer related ones in a different area convenient to your computer, such as in your home office, perhaps.
If you've got multiple computers, keep the discs with the machine they are meant for to make it as easy to locate and use them as needed.
I have found either a storage case, such as the one above, or a CD and DVD wallet (see below) are both excellent ways to keep your computer related discs close at hand and organized for when you need them in your home.
There is a mind boggling array of ways to organize and store your CD and DVD collections, from entertainment centers, shelves, shallow bookcases, towers, spinning units, wall-mounted storage, binders, and boxes.
As I mentioned before, the main decision you have to make before getting any storage solution, is whether you'll keep the jewel and other cases with the discs, or not, so I've separated out the two main cetagories in this way, below.
I'll tell you that personally, after experimenting with removing the cases from my music CDs, that I don't like it, and I now like to keep my cases with my discs. (I've found the opposite with computer CDs though because many of them didn't come with a case to begin with.)
If, like me, you want to keep more than one type of media together, such as DVDs, CDs, video tapes, and/or cassette tapes, you need to get a media center or shelving unit that has adjustable shelves, since none of these types of media are the exact same height.
Further, I've found it is best to get a shelf made specifically for media, since it will be shallow. Shelving units meant for books are typically deeper, but that doesn't help you organize your CDs and DVDs as easily since everything scoots back toward the wall, and away from the edge of the shelf.
CD towers can be helpful if you don't have a lot of space, especially spinning ones. However, I will caution that once you've got your collection organized in them it is difficult to add new ones to the collection, since to add one into an existing category means rearranginge the rest of the disks within the tower, which can be annoying and tedious.
Further, I tend not to like the storage organizers which have individual slots for each disk. They only hold normal size cases, not double CD cases or boxed set or multi-disc movies, so they don't actually organize your entire collection as well.
That's why I prefer shelves. However, another method, if you don't have lots of wall and floor space for shelves though, are CD/DVD storage boxes, such as the ones shown below.
If you do decide you want to remove the cases from your CDs and DVDs you will save a significant amount of space.
The most popular way to hold loose discs is in pockets in a binder or wallet, such as those shown to the right and below.
The final step in the CD and DVD Storage and Organization Challenge is to make sure you gather up in one safe location all of your family videos and DVDs, and other such keepsakes. These shouldn't be scattered throughout the house in several storage locations, but instead should be kept all together.
Next week we'll be discussing photos in great detail, but home videos are also a rich source of family lore and should be treasured.
I would suggest converting old film, video, etc. into DVD or digital copies before the media becomes completely obsolete and its impossible to even play them on a machine anymore.
For example, I know they don't make video tapes anymore, so how much longer, if at all, will they be making VCRs?
Once you've got everything gathered together take the time to label and date (with proximity if necessary) the collection and get it roughly in chronological order.
I would love to know how this week's CD and DVD Storage and Organization Challenge is going. You can tell me your progress or give me more ideas for how you've organized these items in the comments below.
I also would love to see before and after pictures of your organized CDs and DVDs, once you've completed the challenge. Submit your pictures (up to four per submission) and blog posts and get featured in the Creative Storage Solutions Hall of Fame. You've worked hard to get organized, so now here's your chance to show off!
I've already gotten some really cute pics from a couple readers who are big Doctor Who fans and have a custom built Tardis to store their movies! How awesome is that?
We're working on our homes slowly, one area at a time, so don't get too distracted from the CD and DVD Storage and Organization Challenge this week.
However, I know some of you love to know what's coming next, so I'll tell you. Next week we'll tackle another big organizing area when we deal with organizing photos.
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I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!