Get Organized Mission #16: Streamline Your Books, CDs, & DVDs

Get Organized Mission #16: Streamline Your Books, CDs, & DVDs Welcome to Mission #16 of our 52 Get Organized Missions.

When we get down to decluttering, our books, CDs, & DVDs often escape the treatment. Somehow they receive special dispensation.

Not anymore!

In this mission we’re going to attack these dust collectors – and we’ll be ruthless! Just like we were in our last mission, Get Organized Mission #15: Organize Your Kitchen.

Remember: you only need 30 minutes for the basic mission. Extended Options are below.

If you’re new, you might like to start here: 52 Organizing Missions.

Get Organized Mission #16: Streamline Your Books, CDs, & DVDs

Step 1: Keep –

  • Beloved novels you re-read every few years
  • Non-fiction titles you refer to – perhaps with your fave sections dog-eared and highlighted
  • Unread books you plan to read (be honest!)
  • Useful reference books – such as business, how-tos, etc
  • CDs you listen to
  • DVDs you watch
  • Memorabilia (photo albums, etc) – if genuinely meaningful and pleasure-giving; if not, consider letting it go

Step 2: Remove –

  • Novels you’ve read and won’t re-read
  • Unread books you’re never likely to read
  • Books that contain out-of-date information
  • Textbooks – unless you graduated very recently
  • Old magazines (do you ever refer to them?)
  • CDs whose contents have been saved (and backed up) on your computer
  • CDs you no longer listen to
  • DVDs you’ve seen and won’t re-watch
  • Unseen DVDs you’re never likely to watch
  • Photo albums you never look at
  • Photo albums that have negative memories
  • Um, video or audio cassettes if you have nothing to play them on

Step 3: Discard –

  • Give novels to friends with the same taste in literature
  • Offer books, CDs and DVDs to the local library
  • Sell anything you think is worth the effort
  • Recycle magazines and out-of-date books

Step 4: Tidy Your Shelves

Now you can re-order your shelves to take advantage of the lovely extra space. Doesn’t that look and feel better?

Dos & Don’ts

  • Don’t forget that a great deal of information is readily available online.
  • Do keep a hard copy if you love something, or can’t easily find it online.

Extended Organizing Mission Options

Want to go beyond this 30-minute organizing mission?

  • Include the kids. Encourage them to go through their own books and decide which ones they’d like to pass on to younger friends or relatives, or to offer to the local or school library.
  • Take this opportunity to categorize your books into helpful sections. Perhaps shelve your fiction titles alphabetically by author, and your non-fiction titles by subject. If you like, shelve CDs and DVDs by category too.
  • Complete this mission with your home office bookshelf.

Ready, Set, Go!

Remember – move quickly, act fast, don’t overthink.

Before You Go – Please Check In

Once you’ve completed this week’s Get Organized Mission please add a comment to let us know you’ve done your assignment and you’re keeping your commitment. To leave a comment: Scroll to the bottom of this post, where you’ll find a comment box waiting for you.

And see you back here next week!

Did You Know

You can get your weekly organizing mission delivered to your inbox.
Click here to sign up for 52 Organizing Missions.

Image: / CC BY-ND 2.0

20 thoughts on “Get Organized Mission #16: Streamline Your Books, CDs, & DVDs

  1. Pingback: Work To Do List Template

  2. Pingback: How To Organize Your Kitchen | Blog Ayman

  3. KayKay says:

    Regarding book organization, as a scholar, I, have many, any books. After leaving my full time job (and office, where I kept most of my research related materials!) my house was inundated.

    For books and files not related to immediate projects, I got see-through, airtight containers and put them in the cellar, clearly labeled.I kept covers /spines visible for additionsl inducation of content.

    For those books that are my go-to’s but I go to less frequently, I boxed up and put in a well lit walk in closet.

    I hadn’t realized how many books I’d received gratis, including some out of print. I listed on Amazon the ones that didn’t have many available from individual sellers and priced them just below lowest price currently available (if worthwhile). I’ve made a few hundred $ to date!

    For books relevant to current projects, each project has a shelf with materials devoted to that project.

    books used for reference more often but I never know when they will come in handy, I have them on an easily accessible shelf elsewhere in the house or in book bins with titles visible) so they don’t clutter my home office.

    The biggest change I made, though, was working WITH my memory style– rather than organizing exclusively by topic, title, and/or author as in the conventional library sense and as suggestd here, I ORGANIZED BY COLOR, as that is how I remember and identify books.

    (All this applies to personal/non-work book collections as well),

    Since I’ve mentioned this technique to colleagues/friends who also have visual memories rather than remembering titles/authors, many have started using the same method with positive results and increased productivity.

    This s a modest example working *with* your own reality instead of a more conventional approach.

    Thank you for the inspiration to help me dig into the books and figure this out!

  4. Pingback: Week In Review 9/6 :

  5. M says:

    Getting back to order… been absent for a few weeks… ready to start again… really want to follow through every single week… will tackle dvd, books and cds today…..

  6. VJ says:

    This one was easy!! Books were already done and movies and CD’s are pared down. thanks!! I have posted every day and very proud of myself!!!

  7. Shonda says:

    I donated all of my books to the Goodwill. I had read them all and the were just collecting dust. So this mission is complete. 🙂

  8. Theresa says:

    This was a great acomplishment! Some to friends, some to the church library , and a few to the thrift store. The rest are “all mine” !!!!!!!!

  9. Lauren says:

    Since I’m a huge book person and reread all the time, I thought this one would be hard, but it wasn’t. I had cleared out a few months ago, but I found a lot more to get rid of. I have several categories of books to get rid of, including a donate/sell box, books that need to be returned to their various owners, and a “bad emotional baggage” box. For a few that I wasn’t sure I could toss yet, I had enough space to designate a ‘reread and pass on’ area on my newly cleared bookshelf. Though I own very few CDs or movies, I even managed to pare those down a bit. This is great – now if I do end up moving out of my apartment soon, there will be fewer heavy boxes of books I don’t care about. And I have room for new books if I want them. Double bonus!

  10. Michele Connolly says:


    This is wonderful and touching. People are worried about what they’ll lose if they get rid of stuff – but just look what you gained.

    May I share your experience in a blog post?

    M 🙂

  11. Rebecca says:

    11 full boxes of books are now sitting by the door, waiting to go to the donation bin at the local library (they have an on-going book sale) – and I found a gift book I’d never looked at. Inside it was a note from my father, which I’d never seen. He passed away almost two years ago, and finding that letter tonight was an astonishing, emotional, uplifting reward for finally parting with some of the gargantuan piles of books that have been collecting dust in all corners of my house. Thank you, Michelle, for the kick in the motivation!

  12. Michele Connolly says:

    Hi Belinda,

    Doesn’t it feel wonderful when your stuff *looks* organized and is also well categorized so you can *find* things easily. Well done!

    BTW, I’m assuming that by ‘organised’ you mean you’ve cleared out all the books, CDs and DVDs you don’t use (since that was the main purpose of the mission).

    Thanks too for the Ikea mention – it’s good to know where to find stuff that makes organizing easier.

    M 🙂

  13. Belinda says:

    This was a mission already completed for me.
    My cds have always been organised (in alphabetical order) in a cd storage tower.
    My dvds are also organised. They are stored in boxes with labels in a cupboard that has doors. This may sound like too much effort but it’s the system that works for me as they are tidy and out of sight.
    Check out Ikea (my fav store!!!). They have great bookshelves that are both stylish and functional.

  14. Pingback: Week In Review 9/6 : In Order to Succeed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *