Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day 10: Family Entertainment

Okay, for Power Purge Day 10, the challenge was to take care of the DVD's, videos, CD's and computer games in your home and get them organized. I did a little bit on this, but not too much, because this is an area that was in pretty good shape already (yay!) Over the years, our family has used various systems for organizing our family entertainment paraphernalia - some with more success than others, lol - so here's a quick overview of a couple of the things we've tried - plus what is working for us right now.

Luckily for me, the videos have been done several times over the past couple of years, because one of my daughters got really motivated one weekend and labeled everything. So - she arranged them with typed labels right on the side of the videos so we didn't need to mess with cases (more on that later) - so the videos were all ready pretty much done. Yay!
Christianna's  Labeling system - no cases to worry about! So nice for little ones. 
But here's the funny part: We don't have a working VCR in our house. hahahaha! Yes, it's true! So we have all these neatly organized videos and no way to watch them! Because of this, I have decluttered quite a few more, especially because with Netflix and YouTube and Dish Network, we don't have much need for videos anymore, so I tend to just keep our very most favorites. Each time we re-organize, I get rid of more and more of them. All the preschool types have been given to my niece who lives nearby, and many others have been sent to the local donation place.

I know your next question - if I don't have a working VCR, why am I keeping any videos at all? I guess I just can't quite let them go - too many memories of my family when everyone was little. :) And honestly, I am planning to get a VCR just for watching these few precious videos - I thought we could probably find a decent one on Ebay or something - do they even sell VCR's in the stores anymore? I guess they probably do, but I assume it's not super common, because I never see them anymore. Just another thing to add to the to-do list. :P

Enough about videos. On to the DVD's, CD's, and computer games! This task was mostly part of our Day 11: Office challenge as well, since we had a lot of the computer & audio CD's stored in there and we decluttered them when we were moving things out for my nephew to use that room.

I have a bunch of different organizing systems for discs, so here's how I handled it - I put all the computer games in a CD organizer that I purchased a few years ago, it's a pretty neat idea by "Discgear" - here's a link & picture:
Discgear 3700-09M Selector 100 - Silver

This is a pretty awesome little organizer, you will have to check it out. You can even keep an inventory of all your CD's/DVD's on the internet with their program. However, I decided not to do that. Why?
Because I have learned over the years that if I hyper-focus like that, I'll spend hours setting it up and then probably not maintain it anyway because kids will mix them up. So I just put them in there and wrote the titles on the little pull-out tray. That way when you want one, you look it up on the tray, slide the little tab thingy to the corresponding number, and it picks up the CD for you. Pretty awesome!

Next - DVD's! For these, I have them all stored in a simple "CD Binder" like this:
Case Logic ENW-352 352 Capacity Nylon CD Binder -Black
I just fill it up with all the DVD's and keep it on a shelf under our TV. I also have two smaller ones that we keep in our vehicles for audio CD's. These work well right now because we don't use our DVD's super often, thanks to Netflix and Dish Network, and if we go on a trip, we can just grab the whole binder and take it with us in the van to keep everyone entertained on the long drive. Right now, this is our main way to store DVDs, but let me tell you about another idea that worked really well for us for a long time:
First a few principles: 
  1. I had discovered that trying to keep CD's/DVD's in cases does NOT work with kids. Seriously, unless I stand there and force them to put them back every time they watch, there will always end up being a little stack of DVD's near the T.V. This is a problem, because they get dirty or scratched, and even if I go over there and put them all back every week or so, often they have gotten ruined in the process of being thrown on a flat surface like that. 
  2. A few years ago, I had taken a little community class by Christy Youd that taught some organizing skills (below is a picture and link to her book.) The class and book are very helpful and  taught some great principles for organizing and keeping things organized. One of the principles Christy taught us was that everything should be easier to put away than to get out. Think about it from a kid's perspective: If you really want to play a game, for instance, you will search all over to find it, but when you are done playing, it will likely get left out when you are done unless it is super easy to put away. This made sense and really struck me. 
by Christy Youd 
So I thought about DVD's and asked myself a question - How could I make the DVD's easier to put away than to get out? That led to a few more questions: What is the tendency of the kids when they are pulling out a DVD and putting in a new one? To just lay it down, right? If they have to find the right case, open the case, put the DVD in, close it, and put it back on the shelf, there's a huge chance that at least ONE of those steps will be missed, right? (or more likely, ALL the steps will be missed, lol.)

I wondered how I could make the "putting away" process be as SIMPLE as possible?? And then I had a brilliant idea! (This was a job for Jumbled Sunshine! POW!) Here is my solution - a "one step" putaway idea as demonstrated in the picture below:
Case Logic AV-12 12 Black Capacity CD Visor
Okay, so I realize this is a DVD holder for a CAR VISOR - but stick with me a minute. Here's what I did. I went to Wal-Mart and purchased some of these from the automotive section, and then I "staple gunned" them to the sides of the entertainment centers by every TV in the house! So all the kids had to do to put away a CD/DVD/game was to slide it into a slot!! I had to do a lot of talking to convince them that this was just as easy as setting it on the shelf. But it worked pretty well.

We still have a few of these hanging up here and there, but when we moved from one home to another in 2009, furniture got moved around and the system became disrupted, so I've never put it back. And with older kids now (mostly teens around here) we don't have near the issue with DVD's not being put away, because they recognize the value a little more. (ish. . . ) BUT - I would HIGHLY recommend the "one step" put away solution - especially if you have little kids, or bigger ones that never put the DVD's away. It worked great for us for years. :)

One last word - we did a similar thing with videos, trying to make the "put away" process easier than the "take out" process. In order to do this, we "threw away" (or donated) all the cases and just labeled the edge of the videos themselves. This idea also came from Christy Youd's book - at first the thought stressed me out, but when I thought of the jumbled mess of cases and videos that were always piled near the TV, I figured it was worth a try. And because of that simple change, we rarely have disorganized videos anymore. (Okay, I admit it may be because we don't have a working VCR so no one watches them anymore! hee hee) But hey, all I can say is that once I got over the shock of throwing away all those cases, I really really liked it. I haven't missed them a bit.

And look how nice it looks!! :D
SO - that's what we did for Day 10: Family Entertainment! I went through all the DVD's, CD's and computer games and got them back into their places, and put them near wherever they are used. So now, if I need one of them, I at least know the general location. YAY! Success!

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