Norah's gone. Aretha's vanished and Elvis has left the building. Where, oh where have your CDs and DVDs gone? Let Julie Morgenstern help you fine-tunes your storage system.

1. Choose one storage system. Pick a single style that holds a variety of media and leaves room for your collection to grow.
  • Shelf systems put music and movies on display, and provide a conversation starter for guests. I recommend horizontal shelves rather than towers or cute-shaped wire slot stands that are hard to maintain.
  • Drawers, either built into your entertainment unit or freestanding storage boxes are a dust—and clutter-free alternative.
  • CD binders are great space savers. If you have a lot of discs and limited room, this system is for you. Keep the paper inserts; toss the jewel cases. Wall-mounted CD pockets, similar to shoe caddies that hang on the closet door, are a fun new option. CD wallets are ideal for travel.
  • Organize your storage device by the way you think: by genre, alphabetically by artist or by mood.
2. Unload what's old. If you haven't listened to something in a year, let it go.
  • Stick a red adhesive dot on the spine of any CD you play. After 12 months, give everything you haven't touched to friends, hospitals or charities.
  • Anytime you upgrade your technology, convert what you love. Copy VHS tapes to DVDs, cassettes to CDs and say goodbye to the rest.
  • The exception is vintage vinyl records. Old collections (circa 1920 to 1950), especially LPs that have never been remastered as CDs, are the most valuable. Store them apart from your everyday collection. If you're itching to sell, go to a local dealer for an appraisal, or log on to, where you can get a value estimate by mail.
3. Put it back where you found it. Leaving discs everywhere results in damage and frustration.
  • Play the matching game one last time and put all of your discs in their cases or binders.
  • Whenever you listen to an album, leave the empty case out a little from the shelf. This makes it lightning fast to return things to their proper home.
  • Never travel with more than five discs. Create a road collection that lives in your car, periodically trading out CDs.
  • Next time you're tempted to leave out a loose stack of music or movies, stop! Remember you're not just putting things away—you're positioning them for future use.


Next Story