March 5, 2014

Shedding the load! My journey of letting go.

Even James Stewart seems appalled by my actions.

I'll be moving house in about a year's time.

The amount of movies I have in my DVD/Bluray collection is worrying. One day last week, I stood standing in front of the mouth of hell (actually, just my movie shelves) and wondered aloud: How on Earth am I going to transport all of this when it comes time to move out?! Throwing out/donating/selling my collection was out of the question - I have spent the better part of my life collecting (and loving) films and television show boxsets and there was no chance in hell that I was going to send them off to the four corners of the Earth without first attempting to kill myself. Seriously.

That's when an idea popped into my head (light bulb and all) -- instead of painfully whittling down my collection to its bare bones, why don't I just get rid of the DVD cases and keep the discs stored in a binder? That way, not only would it free up a heck of a lot of shelf space, but when it comes time for me to pack up my belongings and leave my parents' house, I wouldn't have 50+ heavy boxes to cart over to my new condo. In that moment I became the smartest human being in my town. Well, maybe just my street.

Now, at this point some of you may be thinking this chick's whack! but hear me out: unless it's some specially packaged limited edition boxset, the most important feature of a DVD or bluray is the disc itself. The outward packaging changes all the time what with the constant re-releases of films and TV shows on amazon, so what does it really matter if we get rid of the plastic/paper skin? Plus, as I was removing all of my discs from their plastic homes, I noticed that a lot of the cases were quite flimsy and cheaply produced. It really makes you wonder how companies are getting away with charging consumers $20+ for something that can easily fly away in the wind. I don't know about you, but before my massive clear-out, I thought that the majority of my cases were a little stronger than that!

DVD artwork for My Man Godfrey (1936)
The plastic/paper case clear-out began on a Monday and carried into the Tuesday and Wednesday of that same week. Phew! During the whole purging process, I came across a handful of cases that I just couldn't bring myself to part with -- My Man Godfrey Criterion Collection DVD because its cover is an art deco masterpiece and because it was one of the first DVDs I ever bought (back when they cost $40), both of my Forbidden Hollywood DVD collections because the outward packaging contained racy stills of Barbara Stanwyck and Norma Shearer (oh ho ho!), and both the American and Swedish versions of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (badass packaging, trust me). More packaging that I couldn't bear to send to the recycling yard? All of my collectors edition limited bluray boxsets - Casablanca, Ben-Hur, Singin' In the Rain, Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and the Paul Newman Collection. Just because of their overall pleasant aesthetic alone, I think those would look great sitting on my future condo media unit shelf, displayed to all of the two people who'll visit me (namely, my parents).

My next step was to try to figure out what to do with all of the discs I had piled on my newly emptied shelves now. I spent about half an hour trolling around the Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart websites looking for a practical storage solution when I saw this. Hallelujah! Not only would this keep the bulk of my collection in one tidy place, it would also be really easy to transport from one place to another! Both of my parents thought it was a really good idea because I suspect even they weren't looking forward to helping me pack all of those cases I had stored in my room when it came time to move house. Bless them.

Placing discs totally at random in my new DVD binder.
Sorting came next and boy did that ever turn out to be a walk in the park ... /sarcasm. First I wasn't sure if I should separate the DVDs from the blurays, then I wasn't sure whether I wanted to separate the films from the TV shows, and then I wasn't sure if I wanted them alphabetized. If I put them in alphabetical order, that would mean that every time I added a new film or TV show to my collection, I'd have to take everything out of the binder and re-order them. Uhhhh no thanks. So I settled on just dividing the films from the television show discs. Nothing has been alphabetized and I truly thought it would bother me at first - knowing how OCD I am regarding order and organization - but it's sort of like I've introduced an element of fun into my collection: if everything is placed into the binder at random, that means I'll see more of the films that I own when I pop it open. Let me give you an example: let's say I'm in the mood for watching The Thin Man (which I am, coincidentally), instead of flipping the binder open to the "T" section, I'd have to actually flip through all the pages until I find The Thin Man disc. Whilst I'm flipping away, I could come across a disc that I haven't watched before and choose that one instead! See how this works?! BRILLIANT.

One of the cool features of this DVD case is the 20-odd slots it's got on the front inside cover of the binder. I'm thinking of using those slots for discs I've not yet seen and would like to watch that week. I can pick a Saturday or Sunday night to go through my collection and pick out those discs that I'd like to watch from Monday to Friday and slot them in those easy-to-reach pockets. Then, once I've made my way through them, I can put those discs back in their original sleeves and take out some more films to replace them on my to-watch list! Cool, huh?

Being the person I am, I honestly never thought I'd be able to let go of the vast majority of my DVD/bluray cases. I'm someone who holds on dearly to the things she's collected over the years - namely books, films, and memorabilia. It's true, I don't like clutter and I don't like having many items sitting on one surface, but I love my STUFF. My stuff is important to me but there was no reason for me to keep all of those cases. They just took up way too much room and would have been so hard to pack and transport over to my new place, it just wasn't practical keeping them all. Besides, let's say I did keep all of those cases, who knows how much money I would have had to spend on new shelving once I moved into the condo? Methinks I've just saved myself a whole lot of cash (which is always a good thing).

Now I've got to worry about my books. How do I whittle down that collection? Yikes.


  1. A couple of second hand shops I occasionally buy DVDs from keep the discs in a similar manner behind the counter leaving the empty DVD cases on the shelf but on purchasing the customer does receive the case. I guess your system does save space which is a plus but I kind of like the cases or at least the photos on them. When I had a damp problem and found one or two of the boxsets a little damp last year I was gutted. Storage is always a problem for collectors in the long run and I guess your system does make sense but I would find letting the packaging go a little painful. Maybe someday but not for a while. James Stewart does seem appalled, Bette Davis doesn't look impressed and Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck look a little angry with you!

  2. What will be the first movie you watch after you move? Just from your photo, I'd choose The Letter :)

  3. As we discussed on Twitter, I recently did the same thing myself. I really hesitated over it at first, even though I knew it would free up a ton of bookshelf space, but now that it's done I'm glad I took the plunge. I used these binders that allowed me to keep the paper cover and all the booklets that came with the DVDs, and I recommend them for anyone else who may be thinking about reorganizing their movies.

    I'm way too obsessive not to have alphabetized my movies, though! Maybe I'll be sorry later, when I have to rearrange things due to new purchases, but for now I'm glad things are in a logical order.


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