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Declutter Music Collection: CDs, Cassettes, Records & More

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Today's mission is to declutter your music collection in whatever form it takes, be that CDs, cassettes, vinyl records, MP3s, and more.

CD, DVD & Other Media Storage & Organization Challenge
This declutter mission is designed to be done while working on the CD, DVD & Other Media Storage & Organization Challenge here on the site, which is part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge.

When working through this mission, if you've got a huge collection I know it will take you more than 15 minutes. That's OK.

First, be aware that I have split up this mission to be your own music today, and another day you'll focus on your kids' music collection. So that may help some.

But in addition, just like with any mission that takes more than 15 minutes for you, you should break it up into 15 minute sessions. Just keep working away at it in those small increments of time and you will chip away at the it.

Steps To Take To Get Rid Of Music Clutter

When doing this mission first make the easy decisions, which can loosen you up to make the tougher choices later.

Before You Declutter Gather Everything Up Together

First start by assessing what music you've got, and where. It may be spread all over your home, and in your car, so gather everything together.

How to #declutter your music collection, including CDs, tapes, records, digital music and more {part of the #Declutter365 missions on Home Storage Solutions 101} #declutteringuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
Don't forget digital collections of music either, to keep in mind when working on this task.

Assess What Types Of Formats Your Music Is In

Next, make sure you haven't forgotten about the various types of music formats you may have.

For example, do you have a lot of music in older formats, such as cassette tapes, 8-tracks, vinyl records, etc.

I know there are thriving communities of music fans that still listen to some of these formats, and if you do regularly listen to your music in such formats, and have a working machine to play them, just treat these older formats as you would the current music formats we will deal with more in the instructions below, when making decisions about what to keep versus what to get rid of.

However, if, for example, you own a bunch of audio cassettes, but you don't listen to them anymore, have replaced them with CDs, and/or don't have a working cassette tape player anymore, it is an easy decision to get rid of them.

Deal With Current Format Music Collections: Now The Harder Decisions

After you've gotten rid of any music clutter you know you won't listen to anymore because of technology advances
it is time to deal with current music collections, and this is where it gets a bit harder.

For most people current music is either in the form of CDs or digital files.

One thing to consider is whether you still need the CDs themselves if you've decided to move your collection to digital.

Having duplicates of both the CDs and the digital version may be too much.

Obviously, if you do decide to only keep the digital version you want to make sure you've got some type of backup in place so a technology failure does not just wipe out the entirety of your collection in the blink of an eye.

But there is something to be said for just having music digitally. For one, it takes up a LOT less room, and depending on how you listen to music that may be worthwhile to you, especially if you like being able to take your collection on the go more easily.

Once you've made decisions about duplicates it is time to get down to the hard hard decisions. Which music to keep versus to get rid of.

Again, start with the easiest decisions you can. If you just plain old don't like an album or single there is certainly no reason you should keep it. Get rid of it! This goes for gifts as well as things you purchased for yourself. Just because you or someone else spent money on it doesn't mean you can't let it go if it isn't something you enjoy.

Then, just assess how much space you've got to hold your music and winnow it down until you are keeping the stuff that makes you the happiest, and it all fits into the space you've got for it.

The best way to not accumulate music or CD clutter in the future is to then just work with the space you've got. If that space fills up you've got to get rid of something else before you bring in something new.

Finally, you need to work on decluttering any digital collection you have. Yes, it doesn't take up physical space like some collections, but you can still have digital clutter.

You'll thank yourself if you get rid of anything you just don't enjoy listening to anymore so you can actually find, and play, what you still love.

Once you've decluttered you've got to think a bit about what you'll do with any CDs, cassettes, vinyl, or other formats that you've decided to get out of your home. I'm discussing that briefly below.

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Photos From Readers Who've Done This Mission

How to #declutter CDs and other music, including discussion of digitizing music as well as tips for what to do with the discs, cassettes and records that you decide to get rid of {on Home Storage Solutions 101} #ClutterFreeHome #declutteringuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

It's always helpful to see the results that other people get when doing one of these Declutter 365 missions, to get yourself inspired and ready to act.

Fortunately, many readers have already done this mission and sent in some photos, including these three photos I've added above.

The top photo in this collage was sent in by a reader, Anthea, who said, "here's my preliminary efforts with CDs. Our cabinet was overflowing and so disorganised. 116 items GONE and more to follow!! I hadn't seen this week's task, it was more a situation of being sick of the mess!"

Great job Anthea, you've really done well with this mission!

Further, the bottom left photo in the collage is from another reader, Jessica, who said, "CDs and DVDs, these are to sell."

And finally, the bottom right photo in the collage is from my friend Susan, who decided to save space by adding the CDs to an organizer, in sleeves, and get rid of the cases.

You can get these types of disc organizers below, and they can save you a LOT of space when you ditch the cases!

CD Organizers {Referral Links}

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Example Of Reader Who Digitized Her Music Collection

How to #declutter your music collection, including discussion of the possibility of digitizing your CD or other music so you can keep listening to the music without having the physical items still remaining around to take up space {on Home Storage Solutions 101} #ClutterControl #declutteringuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

As mentioned above, there are many ways to go about decluttering music, and if you want to get rid of the physical CDs, but still be able to listen to the music, one way to do that is to digitize your collection.

My warnings above about making sure you keep a back up so a hard drive failure doesn't mean you lose everything still applies, of course, but digitizing can be helpful, as a reader, Tamara, concluded.

She said when she sent in the photo above, "When adding all my CDs to the computer and importing them to iTunes (I use iTunes Match) I had my daughter write the date on them so I know that I have a copy in iTunes. This is my daughter's favorite cd. I have already had to buy it twice because I didn't make a copy. Now I can play it with an AUX cord from my phone!"

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What To Do With Decluttered Music CDs, Cassettes, Records & More

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Once you've decided to get rid of some of the items in your music collection you next face the decision of what to do with the items you've decided to declutter.

The quick answer is that it is best to donate or sell your used CDs, cassettes, records and more.

Even for older formats there are some collectors who still love and enjoy listening to the music in that way and you can often make someone else's day by donating or selling these items.

If you cannot donate or sell, for example, because the cassette is broken, or the CD or vinyl record has an irreparable scratch making it impossible to listen to it, it is trash. Unfortunately, none of these items are typically recyclable, at least from curbside pickup.

To keep these items from filling up landfills your best bet, if you cannot sell or donate them, is to find a mail in program which allows you to recycle them.

Each of these mail in recycling facilities has different rules and different items they will or will not accept. For example, the CD Recycling Center of America accepts used CDs and DVDs for recycling, but does not take cassettes or video tapes.

So do some Internet research to find a place as close to you as possible to take your specific items for recycling.

Also, don't forget when you do this mission to show me your results! You can submit your photos of decluttered music collections here and I'll add the best ones to the site to get others inspired.

Want To Do More Decluttering Missions? Get Started With Declutter 365 Today!

Declutter 365 missions: 15 minute missions for your entire home

Once you declutter one type of item in your home I bet you'll want to declutter some more. After all, decluttering gives you a great reward for even a small investment of time and energy.

The Declutter 365 system is designed to help you declutter, over the course of a year, your entire house, with just 15 minutes of decluttering each day!

Hundreds of thousands of people use this proven system to get rid of their clutter, and bring peace and calm back to their homes.

Declutter 365 works to guide you to clear the clutter without overwhelm, focusing on just one small area at a time, and without making a huge mess in the process, so you see consistent forward progress without all that "messy middle" that makes it even harder to function in your home than before you started.

In addition to building a daily decluttering habit, the Declutter 365 program, along with the accompanying 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, teaches you the skills, habits, routines, and mindsets necessary to maintain the clutter free and organized state of your home from now on, so it'll never be as messy and cluttered as it is right now, ever again.

If you haven't already, make sure to get your copy of this year's Declutter 365 annual calendar here (it's FREE!), find today's date, and do 15 minutes of decluttering on the day's mission. Then, repeat again tomorrow, and again and again. Over the course of the next year, if you do this 15 minutes per day, you'll declutter your whole house!

Click here to take me to this year's Declutter 365 calendar

Photo courtesy of frumbert

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Related Pages You May Enjoy

Getting Clutter Free 15 Minutes At A Time Hall Of Fame

Go From Declutter Music Collection Mission To Home Page

Comments for What To Do With Decluttered Music CDs, Cassettes, Records & More

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I sold mine and decluttered and made some cash
by: Heather

I sold the majority of CD discs I had to Amazon and Second Spin. Takes some time but I loved making money, cleaning up, stuff could all be dumped on an ipod, and glad to know they were going to good use for others at a cheap price. Hope that helps some of your readers if decide to share. And that is one of the benefits of keeping discs in their cases with liner notes : )

I keep my physical CDs because I've lost my digital music too many times
by: Kathleen

Unfortunately I cannot get rid of physical CDs. I lost a lot of my music when my old computer crashed. Not all of it seems to be stored in the cloud, and I have it backed up on a separate drive. However, when I try to transfer it to the new computer it can't be found. SO I learned the hard way to either keep the CD or make a copy of it. It is surprising how many times I have had to reload music and I have a LOT of music!

we got rid of the cases to save room
by: Anonymous

We had a large number of music cd's that we collected as well as Movie dvd's. They took up so much space. As we found it very difficult to part with them and downloading would be near impossible due to the volume, we chose to dispose of the hard cases they came in and put them in media cases that can hold large numbers of cd's & dvd's but take up very little space. This was a great solution to our declutter problem.

I still don't know what to do....
by: Linda

I've got musicians in my house. I'm inundated with vinyl, cds, dvds, etc. I was hoping you'd give advice on how to external store on some kind of unit that can be hooked to computer i/o iTunes and we could still enjoy the music. I'm about to start a barnfire. HELP!

My music solution
by: Jeanne

I like to have a lot of music. I buy from iTunes these days, but I still like a hard copy in case of a lightning strike or something, so as I acquire 20 or so new songs, I burn them onto disc and label the disc (and its songs) by number. At Office Max I found a "Really Useful Box" - that's its exact name - the perfect size for storing about 100 discs in vinyl sleeves, not jewel cases. I'm about to start filling box #7! But it's a much better, tidier storage method than a stack of random-sized items or slippery plastic cases. And nothing gets lost. I have recently done the same with our DVDs - chucked the clamshell box and filed them alphabetically by title in a Really Useful Box for movies.

Be aware of copyright laws
by: Anonymous

If you make a digital copy of a CD you own and you sell the CD you no longer own it and your digital copy violates copy right laws. Loose the cases and place liner notes in sleeves with CDs. (Case logic Pro sleeves) They have holes to fit into case logic cases They also fit nicely in the cheap storage boxes found at craft stores.

Makes for a lot less clutter
by: Anonymous

For years and years, my husband and I have been accumulating CD's. The first step was to put all of them in one place. Then I put some of them in the two cars we own. As we drove on trips, we would do thumbs up or down. Mainly I donated them but I even sold a few on eBay. It took about 6 months, but eventually we settled on 4 zippered containers almost full. I am no longer keeping the cases and am selling them with the art work. Now I know where the music is and don't have clutter all over the house.

How to convert cassettes
by: Anonymous

As a child of the 80s, I have a collection of cassette tapes that I would love to digitize. I know there are various products you can buy to help with the conversion, but I'd love some "real, normal person" perspective on what others have done, what equipment they used to make the conversion, what did/didn't work well, and any other tips or suggestions to make this conversion to help declutter.

Non-iTunes CDs
by: Anonymous

After decluttering my CDs, I am still undecided how many of them I want to keep. A number of CDs are by and/or of family & friends, & cannot be bought digitally. Those I'm backing up AND keeping. I still have a number of CDs that are commercially produced, however, & that's the issue. I pay a small monthly fee for iCloud storage; however, the only music files in the cloud were iTunes purchases. Since I'm also going to be digitizing a LOT of family memorabilia (photos, etc.), I've invested in a 5TB external hard drive, which should be more than enough storage (I HOPE!).
The good news (so far) is that I was able to find spaces to keep by decluttered collection accessible, yet out of sight, while also emptying what had been a dust-catching VHS rack, & taking the rack to the curb! It probably freed-up more mental space than physical, but I'm fine with that.

my method for organizing CDs
by: Sally

I wanted to avoid the bulk of the CD cases, so here is my solution:

After downloading all my CD's to my computer I purchased a CD Binder and a Snap together box. I placed the CD's in the binder pages. Wanting the ability to quickly find a certain CD (out of about 300), I numbered the pages in the binder. I then printed the page #s onto small labels, (I made 4 of each #, since that is how many CD's fit on 1 page) consecutively up to the # of pages in the CD Binder. As I placed the CD's in the binder, I stuck a tiny # label corresponding to the page onto the front of the CD booklet and placed that into the snap together box alphabetically. This avoided the need to reorganize the CD's in the binder when I purchased a new CD.

Now when I want to find a CD, I find it alphabetically in the box, and go to the page # listed on the booklet, and voila, there is my CD.

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