Cut Entertainment Clutter
Entertainment clutter is uniquely different from garden-variety clutter such as stacked newspapers or kitchen canned goods. First, it's mobile: videocassettes, audio CDs and DVDs are prone to wander through the house and even into the car.
Second, it tends to accrete. When the family buys a new DVD player, they don't discard the old VCR, they just add a new system — and layer of clutter — on top of the old.
Finally, entertainment clutter falls apart easily. DVD discs part company with their protective cases; remote controls slide between sofa cushions or cower under the ottoman.
STOP Electronic Clutter
To counter these slippery tendencies, begin a STOP (Sort, Toss, Organize, Put Away) clutter session with a treasure hunt. Give family members lightweight baskets and send them out to scour the house for CDs, DVDs, videos, video game cartridges and every bit of electronics packaging and every accessory they can find.
Bring it all together, and play match-and-sort. Restore discs and cassettes to original packaging where possible, and sort DVDs from videos from computer software from CDs. Now work through the pile in 20-minute timer bites. To help you decide whether to toss, put away or store, ask these questions:
- When did we last watch, listen to or play with this item?
- Will we want to see/hear/play it again?
- Do we have the same movie or music in another format?
- Have family members outgrown this title?
- Is the item in good condition?
Candidates for donation or sale include stretched videotapes, outgrown children's titles, duplicate copies and any movie, music or computer game that is not likely to be used again.
When the session is over, try these tips to organize the survivors for efficient family fun:
- Protect. Digital media is delicate and easily ruined. Store videocassettes in their original sleeves, or in replacement boxes. CDs and DVDs can be stored in their original cases, or slipped into the slots of specialty organizers. A tip for families with young children: protect the family DVD collection with a disk changer. It will hold and store DVDs, allowing them to be watched with the touch of a finger, but protecting them from handling.
- Contain. Commercial storage organizers and shelf units get the movie collection off the floor efficiently. Shallow adjustable shelves store all audio and video materials neatly.
- Categorize. As with books, sorting media into categories makes it easy to find what you're looking for.
- Centralize. For most efficient storage, keep all computer software in a single location.
- List. Keep track of items with a simple running inventory. Knowing which seasons of a favorite TV series are already on the shelves will keep you from buying duplicates.
Houseworks © 2006, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
Text copyright © 2006, 2010 Cynthia Townley Ewer