Organizing DVD's and Books

marie26December 9, 2007

My next big projects are to organize my many DVD's and books.

For the hard covered books, I will separate them by fiction, by author. Because of space limitations, I will put all the pocketbooks together on the corner shelves because they hold more books and since we never go looking for any, I don't see the need to organize them. For the non-fiction, I will organize by subject, by author.

I'm assuming this is the easiest way to do this.

I'm not sure how to proceed with the DVD's. I prefer not to sort them by genre but rather by title. But the problem I have is when there are many DVD's by certain directors. I want to sort these separately and put them at the end but am not sure if this is the best way.

For those with large DVD collections, how have you organized them?

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Well, I don't have a large DVD collection, but have had lots of books, and it strikes me that you're trying to use two different filing systems for the DVD's (which I understand the desire for). I think though that the time will come when the older ones at least will be hard to find as you may not remember the directors' names, or even titles, and wonder if having a master list either just plain alphabetical (title) that you just quickly scribble down the names (and/or a cross ref. of directors on when you go to 'file' new ones (having done the old too) would help. Books are easier to scan quickly, but CD's and DVD's often need lots of light and/or a magnifying glass! Quick question - if you 'never go looking' for your paperbacks anymore (or once read), why don't you make a pile of those you really don't think you'll read again and either trade them in for new ones at the 2nd hand place (presuming you have one there) or donate them to some library? They can pile up so fast!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 4:55AM
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We have a complete large series of paperbacks that are collector's items. The others are books DH has read and I'd have to get him to commit to getting rid of them.

One of the directors I was thinking of is Hitchcock. I can remember his name more than the names of his movies. That is what made me think of separating out "some" directors.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 8:58AM
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since we never go looking for any, I don't see the need to organize them

if you never go looking for any, is there any need to KEEP them?
Even if they are collector's items--MUST you collect them? paperbacks are printed on acidic paper (bcs it's cheap) and they deteriorate; many other books are too. (maybe DH insists, and you have no choice; but in that case, pack them in a box and shove them somewhere out of the way, if you can get away with it). Otherwise, they really are a decorative item, so don't crowd them.

(and what are you meaning by the word "pocketbook"? paperback? Or some other thing I'm not thinking of right now)

I can get behind the idea of organizing *most* movies by name, and having some subsets for those you know you have a lot of, like Hitchcock.

We do sort of the flip-side version w/ music CDs. They're alphabetically by artist, not by genre--except for a few specialized genres (Christmas, classical, religious).

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 12:05PM
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TS, when I say paperback, I mean pocketbook. It must be one of those terms we used where I grew up.

DH just completed collecting these and would get rid of other books before them, if he had to. And that's the thing, he'd get rid of them only if he needed to. To his benefit, many years ago, he did let me sell (for practically no money) many of his books and now I'm the one who regrets it because I ended up getting rid of some valuable books without realizing it.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 1:03PM
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I totally understand the book collecting - I'm a bibliophile myself, and would get rid of almost everything if it meant I could keep my books, whether I'm going to read them again or not (I do trade in cheap romances, of course). There's nothing wrong with keeping collections if you have room, and they make you (or DH) happy.

That said, I organize all of my books by genre, then author. I have different shelves for the genres based on where they're most likely to be read or looked at - like romance novels in the bedroom, thrillers/mainstream fiction in the office, and everything else in public areas (texts, hardbacks, coffee table books, informational subject books - which are organized by subject).

DVD's I simply organize very generally by genre. Horrors in one spot, cartoons in another, action/adventure in another, romantic comedies, etc. It would be really easy to shelve one director's movies all together in that sort of an organizational method...

Good luck! That's a giant undertaking, to be sure...

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 6:12PM
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Today, I tackled the DVD's. I decided to do most by title, including the director ones. It was much quicker to do it this way. Maybe later I'll change it but not now. I separated out the the cartoons and one small shelf of my favorites. I put the TV ones in a separate shelving unit.

DH collects music DVD's and now I have to find an area to fit these neatly.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 6:52PM
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A resource to help you sort through and catalogue your books might be I learned of it on the decorating forum about a year ago and it was a big help with my books. Since I have more than eight thousand books in my house, I was really delighted to get them all catalogued and it helped me organize my shelves much more effectively. You can catalogue up to 200 books for free, after that it costs $10/yr or $25/ for a lifetime subscription. It's quick and easy to use. I'll attach a link below.

Why would you want your DH to get rid of his books just because he can't be reading all of them concurrently? With so many books, it often takes me years to get back to my favorites, though I find it tremendously comforting and homey to know they are there, and just waiting for me to dip into them again. Sure, I could re-purchase (or borrow from my public library) many of them, but having them well organized and still in my possession gives me great satisfaction in knowing that I can find whatever my brain needs, at any time of day or night.

I think if one is a confirmed bibliophile it's as important as having enough money in the bank, or enough to eat. My books are the tangible framework of my mental life (plus, of course, my constant companions and solace).

Can't help you with DVDs, though, since I don't have any. From chat on the LT site, I know there are some DVD cataloguing sites, but I've never paid attention to specific names, sorry.



Here is a link that might be useful: LibraryThing Book Cataloguing site

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 9:00PM
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I was the one who posted the Library Thing but I never ordered it. Is there a scanner that they send you? How long does it take to get?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 10:38PM
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Marie, so you're the person I have to thank for what is for me the best web-discovery in the last year or so. I'm very grateful you did.

You can choose to use a barcode scanner (costs @$25, I think -payable via Paypal). I sent for one, but found it less useful than I thought, since it doesn't read every book accurately. It only took a few days to receive the barcode reader/scanner (aka CueCat). By then I had added nearly a thousand titles by hand, which I just found was easier.

LibraryThing is quite simple to set up an account on (takes less time than signing up here). After that you just click on the ADD BOOKs tab and type in the ISBN (locate inside front cover page, or near the copyright data) and up (in almost all cases) comes the book from whichever library (or commercial source like Amazon) you are using to search; then you click on the add this book to my collection icon and it's done. Probably takes less time than it took me to write this out. If your book doesn't have an ISBN code, then you can search using its Library of Congress number, or just by typing the title or author. Overall, the data returns from Amazon are less accurate than the LC data, but quicker. I think you can now search on libraries in dozens of countries, in multiple languages, as LT has really pushed their global growth in the past year. And they've added a lot of new features that will interest people who like the social cataloguing aspect of the site. For me, I just wanted a way to get my book collection well-ordered and tabulated, so I was happy with the way it was a year ago.

You can try LT, without a scanner and without paying anything as long as you keep your library under 200 books. That way you can see if works for you before you spend a dime. I started out that way, and before I knew it I was spending all day and every evening adding books. It's a great way to spend a cold Sat. afternoon in the winter.

Good luck and thanks, again, for the tip.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 12:26AM
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I also have a few thousand books, and after years of filing by subject and never being able to find anything (Is the Cultural Revolution under history? China? social movements? communism?), I switched to Library of Congress call numbers.

The Library of Congress has a website where you can type in the title and get the call number. Then I use my little Brother labeler to print out a label. I don't have my collection catalogued anywhere, but I always know where any particular book can be found, and where to replace one that's out.

When I started shelving everything by call number, I discovered quite a number of duplicates! That doesn't happen anymore, because now I know exactly what I have.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 2:57AM
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My DVD collection was getting out of control. I solved it by getting a dvd jukebox that holds 400 dvds. The one that I purchased was a sony. Now all of the dvds are loaded into the jukebox. The sleeves from them are packed in a box and stored in the attic so they take up no space in my family room. I created a binder with a list of which movie is which number in the jukebox. I also included a synopsis of each movie ( 1 - 2 pages each ) in the book behind the list. Makes for easier browsing of which movie you want to watch. This also prevents the dvds from getting damaged thru handling.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 12:28PM
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We have a DVD changer that holds 400 DVD's. The cases to those are stored in boxes in the garage. In our upcoming move, I will need to take these out and put them in order in plastic sleeves since the titles are input into the TV. But we have many more that are not in the changer.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 1:15PM
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Re: the "keeping certain directors' works in a separate catgory" idea

I think that can work. I have CDs of music organized by artist (group name or last name/first name for single artists).

But all the Christian music is in a separate clump at the end. And all the Christmas music is in yet another clump at the end. And ditto the kids' music.

It works. So I think for directors, I bet their connection to their works is pretty strong, so you won't forget it. And anyway, that short section at the end will catch attention on its own.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:37PM
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I have almost 400 DVDs and 400 HB books. I bought book shelves and sorted them by my favorite authors in the living room shelves. They are the books I re read. The rest are by author in my office, women writers on one side of the room, male writers on the other side. The reason I do it that way is I have far more books than I will ever read and I like female authors better. They seem to write more about family's than men do. In the living room I some DVD's in the table holding the TV, the same in the bedroom. The are all out in the open. My favorite movies are hidden. Hopefully a burglar would take what they see and can find easily and leave.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:37PM
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I have two rather radical suggestions -- they've been wonderful for me:

DVDs: I was constantly irritated that my family'd remove a DVD from the case, watch it, and instead of returning the DVD to the case, they'd pile up the cases and DVDs on the edge of the entertainment center 'til the towers grew tall and fell over . . . and even when a few favorite movies were stepped on /broken from this lazy behavior, they just wouldn't take the necessary seconds to join the items back up again. My husband was the worst offender.

So I threw away the cases. Yep, threw 'em away. Tossed all second-disks that include junk like interviews with the cast, etc. Now all our movies are all housed in those zippered cases that hold 40-60 CDs. Removing the cases means they take up MUCH LESS space. Movies are arranged by category; we have zippered cases for various categories:

- Family movies
- Disney movies
- Action and Adventure movies
- Adult comedies
- and we store series DVDs together; for example, the entire 24 collection is housed together with the West Wing series in one large zippered case. The Sopranos shares space with the Little House TV series, and Game of Thrones is in a new, mostly empty case eagerly awaiting the arrival of more DVDs.

We have NO TROUBLE finding movies in their cases. My family still refuses to put them away, but without the cases they don't pile up as high, and they don't spill over onto the floor as quickly. I can put them away without searching for the right case -- just the right category.

I briefly considered cutting away a portion of the colorful colored title page from the cover and slipping them into the squares behind the DVDs . . . but ultimately I went for the easiest route. When I find a certain movie left in the machine, all I have to do is pick the right case and plop it into any of the empty slots.

Oh, I should add this detail: I have nice, homemade matching zipper pulls on the DVD cases that let us know whether the case holds Adult Dramas or Action and Adventure. I made them from laminate samples swiped from Lowes' Home Improvement. Shhhh. They're sturdy and will last a lifetime.

Now, books . . . ask yourself, Do you love books, or do you love reading? Me, I love reading. I always had piles, piles, piles of books. Finally I faced the fact that I simply didn't need -- or even want -- to keep them all. I had so many books that I rarely re-read, and it wasn't really hard to let them go to the library and to Goodwill. When I laid them all out on the floor and looked at them, I admitted to myself that they fall in the same category as the size 5 jeans I wore in high school/college -- things that I enjoyed very much at one time but will never use again. Oh, I still have some favorites, but the vast majority of books really have no monetary value, and they are easily and cheaply replaced. Furthermore, keeping them isn't free: Bookshelves cost money, and you have to dust them. And they deteriorate over time. Letting go of things that I honestly won't read again was the right choice.

New fiction I'm buying on my Kindle. Digital copies are almost always cheaper, and they're so much more portable. I've been a Kindle-reader for 6-7 years now, and I have about 900 books on my Kindle. When I travel, I can bring all 900 . . . in my purse. These books do not break down over time, and if my Kindle is lost/destroyed, they will automatically re-load to a new Kindle machine (I know this for a fact because I am now on my second Kindle, having WORN OUT the first one!). These books take up no space on the bookshelf; and if I lend them to a friend, they cannot "forget" to return them. I MUCH prefer reading on a Kindle: It keeps your page number, and the book doesn't want to "close on you" as you near the end and the pages are very much out of proportion in your hand. The price of Kindles has gone down-down-down, while the quality has gone up-up-up.

Disclaimer: I didn't get rid of reference books. That is, gardening books, fix-it books, etc.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 5:53PM
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