DVD and Blu-ray Organization Project

Ask anyone – especially any parent – DVD organization can be a nightmare. We start out with a slim, cultivated collection of DVDs representing only the most uplifting and delightful and then…somehow…Alvin and the Chipmunks slip in there. And then one day, you realize that DVD and Blu-ray cases are taking over your home, your car, and your travel bag. Somewhere along the way, I found we were drowning in DVDs.

In an attempt to organize this collection I’ve tried it all. We quickly outgrew the neat and tidy drawers in our coffee table so I looked for other solutions. Remember the {ugly!} black vertical DVD towers that stacked your DVD cases? That was a decor statement! (And it didn’t really hold that many – you’d need 80 of them to contain what I organized into 4 small bins.)  I moved into 3 ring binders and that got rid of some of the clutter, but it wasn’t as easy to manage as I thought. The binders were unwieldy, not always easy to flip through to find the movie you were looking for, and there were several of them to keep up with our growing collection. And when we were traveling and wanted to bring a few DVDs along, we had to pull them out of the binder and slip them into a ziploc bag – not the best way to travel with DVDs if you don’t want them to scratch!

Once we ran out of space in binders I started searching for another solution and this bin & sleeve solution is what I landed on over a year ago. I waited to share because I wanted to make sure it was manageable and workable! And it has been!!!

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What used to consume multiple cabinets and drawers now fits into 4 slim bins on the left side of our entertainment cabinet.

This has been THE best solution for condensing and organizing a DVD & Blu-ray collection into a smaller and more manageable space, but it also keeps the DVDs accessible when someone is looking for a particular movie, and completely portable and easy to travel with – just grab the sleeve (the DVD remains protected inside), tuck into your bag or the van, and easily return when you get home.

There are a lot of options for DVD organization – wire baskets, mesh bins, decorative bins, and media boxes with lids. There is even a DVD organization tray that functions very similarly to my bin & sleeve solution.

The first step in organizing – any organization – is to declutter. And that’s exactly what we did. We sat down and pulled out every single DVD we owned and created two piles: keep — give away. We kept ONLY those DVDs that were absolute family favorites or that were difficult/impossible to stream. Streaming movies on netflix and other services meant we could easily part with several of the DVDs in our collection. And we did so. Ruthlessly.

Once you have your keep pile, you’ll need to remove the front cover from the hard plastic case as well as the DVD (and any bonus DVDs).

SOURCE: Plastic DVD sleeve set (pack of 50)

The plastic sleeve set I bought contains a non-woven/no-scratch sleeve capable of holding 2 DVDs, and then a separate plastic sleeve with flap that can hold the DVD sleeve as well as the cover. It all slides into the transparent plastic sleeve and is now:

  • visible
  • protected
  • portable
  • and much slimmer!

We consolidated and transferred ALL of our DVD collection into the plastic sleeves with only a few exceptions:

  • boxed sets (like the Lord of the Rings Trilogy) that we wanted to keep intact
  • DVD boxes that have beautiful artwork or special inserts that we didn’t want to lose

It’s important to note that DVD cases – whether regular plastic DVD cases or the decorative boxes – do fit in these bins.

SOURCE: mDesign media bins – 10″ or mDesign media bins – 14.5″ (set of 2)

Next, we needed a way to easily contain and organize all the sleeves. (We ended up with over 200 Blu-Ray and DVDs in our collection.) I wanted a clear bin that would be simple for my little kids to pick up and carry, would allow us to easily see the first sleeve in the collection and I wanted the bin to fit the sleeves absolutely perfectly so that they would stand up without any shifting while still allowing us to sort with ease.

I chose the mDesign bins and they have been perfect! We slide them in and out of our cabinet all the time, and the kids can easily handle them (the cutout hand-holds are nice for that!). What I love about them is that they just disappear into your decor because they’re clear acrylic. They’re completely functional, the perfect fit for the DVD sleeves I bought, and slide in and out of our cabinet without scratching.

For reference:

  • The bin below (and above) is holding 59 DVD sleeves (some are 2-DVD sets), and the Narnia box.
  • I filled this bin as full as I could (not pictured) with DVD sleeves only (I removed Narnia from the bin) to give you a max capacity count:
    • This bin will hold a maximum of 85 (filled) DVD sleeves (many of those are 2-DVD sets).
    • That means that with 4 bins that take up a small space you could potentially store and organize almost 350 DVDs!

We organized our bins to reflect the movie genre that we typically view around here:

  • Disney movies (animated and non-animated)
  • Non-Disney kids’ movies (animated and non-animated)
  • Family movies (rated G and PG)
  • Any movie that is PG13 and above

If you’re looking for a solution to the DVD explosion in your home, maybe some of these ideas will fit your needs! Let me know if you have any questions!

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  1. Jen,
    totally, totally excited about this post!! We have been searching and trying for solutions for years. We are currently in holding pattern as I try to source more slip cases (like your ring binders without the rings) to the same quality as the ones we purchased many years ago, to no avail. A couple of years ago we bought these aluminium boxes with hanging sleeves, and it was an awful solution ;-( but when I saw this, I dragged D to the computer to look, saying I think this is it!! and the fact that you’ve used this solution for a year and it’s still working! our collection is ahem 3 times the size of yours, blush, but I can’t see why this won’t work for us too.

    A question to clarify, before I go searching and buying, looking at your 4th pic (the Ice Age one), so the slipcase and the disc holder both slide into the sleeve/pouch? So all of the sleeves come with the ability to hold two discs?

    1. Yes!! Both the cover art and the disc holder slide into the clear sleeve. It could even hold an additional piece of literature or paper material if you had something special/extra for a DVD. This has been – hands down – THE best and most space saving solution for DVDs we’ve ever tried! So excited for you to try it, Erin!

      1. Jen
        I finally sourced some affordable slip cases here in Australia. However they didn’t have the disc holders inside 🙁 but then I realised the boxes I loathed with the hanging disc holders could be upcycled 🙂 So with slip cases and disc holders added we have spent hours and hours transferring. Love it already, not quite finished and needed more slip covers and need to source boxes, for now they are in shoe boxes 🙂

        but just want to say Thank you!!

  2. Hello Jen,
    I’m going to take a different route with my question. As I know you are someone who seeks to instill truth, beauty, and goodness in your children, would you mind sharing a list of your favorite family movies? I’ve got 13 and 10 year old boys who have not really been raised on screens and have only seen a handful of carefully-picked movies. They will remember (and repeat) things they have seen only one time, so we are careful what we show them. I wish to avoid potty humor as there is enough of that occurring naturally without the assistance of movies, LOL, and due to the repeating, also want to avoid bad language or anything they would be tempted to repeat.

    Thank you!

  3. Did you throw away the cases? Knowing me, I’d feel a need to keep those in a box in the crawl space.

    1. I did throw away the cases!!! I’ve got enough stuff to juggle – adding 89 gazillion EMPTY plastic cases to that list is not something I’m going to do! LOL!!! Simplify! Get crazy!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. I shared it with my husband shortly after you posted and we have used this DVD system for several weeks and love it! In fact, when loaning DVDs to a friend, I brought one of our clear boxes for her to look through the DVDs and she wants to do the same thing.

  5. The link to the mDesign bins must be expired, but I am finding similar mDesign bins on Amazon. I am just wondering, how long are your bins, front to back? I am finding clear media mDesign bins 14″ long and 16″ long. Thanks! and God Bless!

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