Confessions of a Blu-ray Collector: Organization
Today I am going to tackle a topic which all blu-ray collectors, or really collectors of almost any kind, must face: how to organize your collection. Lets start off by discussing the major segmentation of your collection. First thing, your blurays and dvds should be separated. When I first started converting my collection to blurays, I would simply replace the DVD with the Bluray wherever it was in the collection. It looked fine when there were only a few blurays in there, but after a while it started looking pretty terrible, so I had to make the decision to segment the two different formats. Blurays come first of course, since it is the superior format. Your lowly DVDs can trail behind afterwards.
Another separation to make is your movies from your TV shows. They are two separate media and therefore should be separate in your collection. I have my TV shows after my DVD movies. Actually, what I’ve just done is move my bluray TV shows after my bluray movies, then DVD movies, then DVD TV. Though I’m still not entirely sure I’m keeping it like that.
Okay, now to the big discussion: how to order your movies. There are many collectors out there who believe wholeheartedly that alphabetization is the only way to go. I am here to tell you that this line of thinking is simply wrong. Alphabetizing may be the most boring way to organize your collection. It is cold and lifeless. It is your collection so come up with an order that shows a little bit of creativity to it! Give it your own personal stamp.
So the next obvious direction to go towards is separating by genre. Of course, this can be a problem for many, since the genres of man films are not cut and dry and you run into a lot of grey area. For example, would Alien go under the sci-fi section or the horror section? Does Forrest Gump go into drama or comedy? However, here is the beauty of organizing by genre: its YOUR collection, therefore YOU decide where things go. This gives you that personal stamp I was talking about before. Now when you buy a new blu-ray and bring it home, you actually get the thrill of figuring out where it should go in your collection instead of robotically putting it in its alphabetical order.
Other methods of organizing could be by director (though you will find you have many directors which you only have one film by which overrun the collection), chronologically (which is neat but requires research, especially when you are organizing within a certain release year),or I have even heard of organizing by the colour spectrum of the spines (yikes)! Another neat idea is organizing by play length. It would be a pain in the ass, but helpful later on.
So how do I organize my collection? I have a very unique structure understood fully only by myself. But again, its my collection so I am well within my rights. I began my DVD collection with the 3 DVDs I bought when I bought my DVD player, and put them in an order on the shelf above the TV. As I bought more, they were slotted into different slots on that shelf, and so my collection evolved as such. For example, since I am such a big star wars fans, I felt that the Star Wars movies should be first and foremost in my collection.
So the way it works is that I have what I would called “sub-genres” which are scattered throughout in no particular order. I have my “popular sci-fi” section, my war films, my adventure-type films, “dark” sci-fi, etc. At the end I have my “franchises” section, followed by my historical epics section, which I felt was a fitting way to end the collection. Within these subgenres, the way I organizes them differs. Sometimes it is chronologically, sometimes alphabetical, and often it has to do with the visual packaging. For example, I usually like to cap off a section with a larger digibook or steelbook blu-ray.
I know that will sound rather disorganized to many of you, but you have to admit that my organization method is probably unique. And I feel that collections should be unique to you. Don’t get caught in the alphabetization trap. Now, with massively large collections, you may find alphabetizing to just be easier, but for smaller collections like my own, try something different. And for those worried about remembering the order, I know where every single one of my movies i supposed to go. A friend once switched two of the movies to see if I would notice. I noticed only an hour after she left.
The idea of packaging does present an interesting question. Should you organize by packaging? In other words, maybe you should have a regular blue case section, a digibook section, and a steelbook section. This would also automatically create a Criterion section, since they have those unique clear cases. I have experimented with this, but I couldn’t get past the feeling that the movies were out of place, so I put it back and had the cases interspersed.
However, I will admit that packaging does influence where I put certain movies. For example, I always had Citizen Kane somewhere in the middle of my collection, but when the blu-ray was released it came in this overly large, thick, case that would have stuck out like a sore thumb. My solution was easy; put it at the very end. Now it acts as a bookend to the collection and fits there quite nicely. In alphabetization, I don’t have that kind of flexibility.
What about specialty cases like the Warner Bros. big box series, or special editions with some sort of collectors display? Simple, I don’t buy them. I don’t want that stupid Walking Dead zombie head with a screwdriver sticking in the eye as a piece of my living room decor. It baffles me that there are so many people who do…
What about box sets? I hate ’em. I know that may seem silly, but I do. I feel that every movie should have its own self-contained unit. This is why I love the Lord of the Rings EE set that came out. Every film has its own case, so I can display them separately on my shelf. I hate the fact that Star Wars and Indy are only available as box sets (but since they are some of my favourite movies, I bought them anyways).
Is there anything else? Not that I can think of. If you have any more questions that I forgot about, let me know in the comments. Also let me know how you organize your collection.