Decluttering 101: How to Declutter Your DVDs

DVDs are one of those things that some people hoard. I certainly did. I had hundreds of the damn things. I bought most of them at £3, so they didn’t represent a significant investment, but they were certainly something I found it difficult to get rid of. I had shelves with DVDs piled up on top of each other to the point where it was almost impossible to pull one out without pulling the whole lot off the shelf they were so tightly packed. It was horrible – I could never find what I wanted, and despite my best ‘Tetris’ attempts at getting as many on the shelf as I could, I still didn’t have enough space to fit everything.


There was no point in having a shelf like this – it’s not inviting, you don’t want to go to look for something to watch. Anything that goes in a box because it doesn’t fit on a shelf will never be looked at again, no matter how much you love that particular film or TV series. But it still took me far too long to thin them down.

Two things have prompted me to thin out my DVDs. One was getting Sky – giving me access to hundreds of movies at the press of the button meant I didn’t really buy any more DVDs, so my collection stopped growing. And recently, the advent of electronic media and the fact that it’s much more readily accessible, is starting to render DVDs less necessary.

But it is nice to have a few around, so how do you choose which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of?

Step 1: Isolate your favourites

Clear a shelf completely – put all the DVDs from it onto the other shelves or in a pile on the floor. This shelf is for your favourites. You know the ones I mean – the films you come back to time and time again. The ones that you watch when you feel down, or when you’re too tired to concentrate on anything except a well known friend. For me, it’s the Die Hard Quadrilogy (Boyfriend is a purist and only likes 1-3. I have a crush on Justin Long and Timothy Oliphant. I love 4.), the Terminator Trilogy (definitely not number 4), the Alien series (came in a box set, so I have all four, but only ever watch 1 and 2), Star Wars (all 6. Yes, I know the new trilogy is rubbish, but I loved them when I was a kid) and a couple of classics like The Shawshank Redemption. These will never go. They will always take pride of place on my shelf. I’ve already watched them to death and will continue to. Find your favourites and put them on that shelf.

Step 2: Get Rid of the Rubbish

That movie you bought because someone told you it was the best film they’d ever seen, and you hated it? Seriously, why are you keeping it? We’re all guilty of having these on our shelves. I went through a phase of buying every film that Tim Burton ever released. I love Sleepy Hollow (on my favourites shelf) but Beetlejuice just didn’t do it for me. But I kept it for ages. I shouldn’t have. If you look at a film and can’t imagine ever watching it again, then put it in a cardboard box ready to be shipped off to Music Magpie.

Step 3: Make a ‘To Watch’ Pile

There are some DVDs that you like, but you think you’ve probably watched them enough by now. I had this with Kill Bill. I like Kill Bill, but I’ve watched it a lot. I didn’t think I would get much more value out of it. But I couldn’t quite bring myself to just get rid of it. it’s a good film after all. So I watched it one more time. Sometimes you’ll do this and rediscover the value of an old favourite. That’s fine – it’s great in fact, enjoy it. But more often than not, you’ll remember why you haven’t watched the film in ages. It’s tired. You know it too well. Give it a last hurrah and then send it on its way.

Step 4: Repeat Frequently

The odd thing about decluttering things like DVDs is that the more you do it, the more discerning you get, the more you can thin out, until you get to a streamlined and fresh collection that you can enjoy. Keep topping up your ‘to watch’ pile. And anything that stays on the ‘to watch’ pile without catching your fancy for more than a few months, consider bumping straight into the ‘get rid of’ box.

I have three and a bit shelves of DVDs. Three is my aim. The ‘bit’ are some overflowing TV boxsets and my ‘to watch’ pile. The TV box sets are being thinned as we watch through them. Next to go will be Life on Mars, which I’m hoping to start rewatching for the last time with the Boyfriend. I think we may need to rewatch House after that (though frustratingly, we have a disc missing, and so can’t watch all of season 3, I think it is) in order to get rid of them and finally watch the last season. As soon as I’m down to the three shelves, I’ll be operating a ‘one in one out’ policy, which will really force me to think hard about which are my favourites, and which can be replaced with my new favourites!


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