Organizing Small Spaces: Multimedia & Books

Seems like everyone is cleaning-up and reorganizing this time of year, so I thought I would do just that on my blog. Thus, the new cleaner and neater look. And speaking of organizing, my daughter is back with tips on organizing their rather large collection of multimedia and books. Read her first organizing post HERE.


Multimedia: Remember the cluttered old days when music came as CDs and movies came as clunky VHS tapes? Yeah, me, too—and I still have a stack of CDs in the spare room and VHS tapes as well as DVDs in our apartment. We have a good system, though, and it seems to be working rather well.  Several years ago my mom found a set of DVD binders that look like books but are designed to hold DVDs (or CDs if you are so inclined) without the cases, just the actual media discs.

DVD Storage


Each one holds around 128 discs, so they drastically minimize the storage space required for DVDs compared with keeping them in their cases—one shelf for four binders versus seven shelves for 60 DVD movies, 20 television shows on DVD, and roughly 20 old VHS taps that I’ve yet to replace.

dvd storage 2

dvd storage 3

My roommate has kept her DVDs in their cases, though, and that actually works out better for us. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out. I’ve never been one to buy popular movies, only ones that I happen to see on tv and love. My roommate, on the other hand, has a much vaster knowledge of movies because she sees them much more often and, therefore, has a better collection than I do. Together we probably have over 200 DVDs. This is problematic because the binders I use make it difficult to compare all of our movie options at once when we don’t know exactly what we are in the mood to watch—you can only see four DVDs at a time before flipping to the next page, whereas seeing all of her DVD cases makes it much easier to figure out which ones we want to consider. Additionally, because we are limited on space with DVD cases, we have to consider whether or not a new DVD is worth the purchase—will we watch it enough to warrant spending the money and donating a designated spot of our limited shelf space for the case? If not, is it a classic I really want to own? If it’s going to end up in my binder after a few watches, then it’s probably not worth buying.

And just go ahead and alphabetize your DVDs. Yes, it will take a while at first, but it saves so much time when you are home alone sick and looking for that one movie that will make it better. Trust me.

Books: This is a separate category for us; it is not the same as multimedia. If you are a book lover, you too, will understand what I mean. If you are not a book lover, my solution is easy for you: buy audio books on iTunes or on Amazon to put on your iPod, and the only storage problem you will have will depend on how much storage is available on your device. You need not read the rest of this section (so donate your books to your local office bibliophile and make her day). For the rest of us, however, we often run out of bookshelf space and are faced with the frustrating question of if or when it is appropriate to purchase a new bookshelf. If you are on a budget, a new bookshelf might not even be an option; if this is the case and you are a true bibliophile, you will eventually hit a wall…literally. Your apartment will hold no more bookshelves. Our answer solves two problems—space and budget. When we begin to run out of book space, we evaluate the books that we have kept, whether or not we will ever re-read them, or if there is a different reason we want to keep them, such as keeping our favorites to lend out to friends or books we might need to reference in the future. I’ll admit that I make some exceptions—I know I’ll never re-read some of the books, but I simply can’t part with them.  Our emotional bond is just too great. Once we decide who makes the cut, we box up the ones we are letting go and take them to Half Price Books, which will pay you a (low) price for used books as credit in their store to purchase (new to you) used books to read. This helps us keep our book collection smaller so we don’t outgrow our shelf space and gives us credits for free books to keep our reading habits going. It’s a small thing, but it goes a long way for us and our biblio-addiction.

Some areas have the same system available for CDs and DVDs. In Oklahoma, we had Hastings to trade in DVDs, and most areas have Game Stop for video games, which are much cheaper used and often come with a no-scratch guarantee. If you find yourself with a large collection of items, such as CDs, that you want to get rid of but can’t get yourself to donate them, check out eBay. Sometimes you can auction off items as a bulk to get rid of them quickly and make a little cash on the side as well.


Mr. and I also use the faux book DVD binders. And yes, our movies are also alphabetized as well as individually labeled. 🙂 I also alphabetize my CDs in my case, although Mr. doesn’t. (I know, I’m a little weird like that)

I hope her tips are helping you get a little more organized in your life!

Y’all have a great weekend! Later gators!

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