I've decided to group these three categories (books, music and movies) together because they are all easy to collect and hard to get rid of. Are you the kind of person that fills a whole wall with books? Do you watch movies every weekend? Do you always have music on every day in every room? No problem. Feel free to have as much content around you as you want. The key is that you have to have room for it, can easily access it and are easily able to put it away, so it is right where you need it for next time.
Keeping your content somewhat limited may help you maintain the chaos and save you energy and time from not having to dig through your space to find what you need when you need it.
1 >> Write it down and use the library. Yes, books are cool to look at so it is nice to have them around our homes. But limit your books to the main ones you know you'll read again and again. I used to keep books as a reminder that I read the book, even if I knew I never planned on reading the book again. Then I got this idea from a friend: just keep a list of the books you read in a journal. So simple, so smart. If I ever want to read those books again or reference them, I can borrow them from the library. I like using the library because it gives me a built in time line of when to finish reading. There is no storing of books that take up valuable space in my home. And I save a lot of money in borrowing books instead of buying them new. The library system has a great online hold and reserve system. You can order a book from another library even if your library doesn't have it. Ask a librarian for help, or go online and check it out.
2 >> Recycle. Be a part of a book exchange with friends. Or frequent the free book exchanges you may find at local stores, in your neighborhood, or school. It is a great way to keep up with the latest titles without having to spend a lot on new books.
3 >> Pay it forward. If you don't want to give books to charity, give the book to a friend. But tell them they must give the book to someone else when they finish to keep the cycle going. Some friends of mine did this for me and it was so fun to find the perfect person to forward the book on to. Plus the new owner was delighted to get a free book.
4 >> Go digital. If you are so inclined, you can also go completely digital and read books on a Kindle or iBooks. I am a big fan of reading real books. But this is a great space saver and can be really useful for a trip in bringing reading options without having a bag full of books to carry around at the airport.
1 >> Spotify. If you have older copies of CDs or tapes, look through Spotify and see if they catalog those albums. If they do, you can listen to them much easier through Spotify instead of carrying around old devices and cd/tape players that take up a lot of space. You can also share playlists and follow other music Spotify users.
2 >> Save your space. If you do end up keeping your CDs, consider storing them in binders to save space. This makes it easier to find and look through the CDs when you have a lot. You can recycle the plastic cases they come in. I store mine in russell + hazel binders because they are beautiful and really sturdy. I bought the plastic sleeves online to fit inside from Case Logic. I know I originally saw this idea from Martha Stewart some place, but I can't find the link on their site. They were just using regular binders, but I find...especially if you are going to have them on display, it is worth spending a little extra for something that is nice to look at as well as being functional.
3 >> Sell it. If you have old CDs or albums to get rid of, you can try and sell them back to used music stores. You may not get much for the music that was really popular because they already have many copies of those, but if you have some unique music, you may be able to get more for them if it is something they think they can resell.
1 >> Review your titles with a realistic eye. Movies should only be kept if you know you'll watch them again. Just like clothes and books, you can exchange with friends, donate to schools, or daycares and women's shelters. Remember if you donate items, you can usually get a write off for your taxes. Consult your accountant if you are interested in doing this to make sure you have the proper paperwork in order for the IRS.
2 >> Have a system. If you have a lot of movies, it is a good idea to categorize them in some way. This makes, it easier to see what you have and decide what you want to watch, saving you time and energy. Whether it is alphabetical, by genre or family favorites, keep them labeled in a box binder or by shelf. Note: I used all of my old CD cases, to store the movies, so they all fit inside of this cabinet we have. I saved the liner notes from the movie so it is easier to identify which movie goes into which case. But I also added a title on the spine, so it is easier to see at a glance when they are on the shelf this way. Also note, if you are going to add a title to the spine, you'll need the wider spine cases because the thinner more modern ones are not wide enough for a title. The older wider spine cases are usually cheaper if you need to buy more, they are on Amazon.
3 >> Get rid of duplicates. Yes, The Wizard of Oz may be my favorite movie, but I don't need it in VHS, DVD, Blu Ray and Widescreen. Pick a platform and stick with it. The chances of you watching the movie in multiple formats is low and it just takes up space.
4 >> Netflix. Of course, you could just use Netflix. I know that the titles are not as diverse as one may hope. But if you really want to save space and keep up with the most current titles, you can go digital. Netflix lets you search and save titles to lists so you can find movies faster and it is pretty inexpensive monthly fee to have this service.
Remember, the less stuff you have, the less organized you need to be. (More ideas like this from this great book called Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff by Dinah Sanders). Here is my board on Pinterest for more ideas on organizing your books, music and movies.
Feel free to comment below, if you have tried any of these things for organizing your content and let us know if you have other ideas you would like to share on tips that work for you. Thanks!