Are your DVDs taking up too much space?  Ever wanted to somehow condense them to have more room?  Here's what I, (a huge movie buff), did to my 600+ DVDs and now they all fit in one cupboard of my entertainment unit.

Ever since I was a teenager, I envisioned what my future house would look like.  It would have a room that held my entertainment systems.  From floor to ceiling, shelves would hold all of my books and my movie collection (or I would be lucky enough to have another room to devote to all of my books, like the library in Beauty & The Beast).  I thought it would look similar to this but with many more movies:

dvd storage dream

However, I don’t know if this will ever become a reality and my priorities have changed now that we are expanding our family with the addition of our little boy due in October.  We are also moving in a couple of weeks and nothing makes you want to do a massive Spring Cleaning like moving does so, it was time to Downsize and Condense our vast movie collection.

When my SO and I began dating, we went through all of our movies and got rid of the duplicate films we had but when I started this DIY project, we still had 650+ movies to sort through.  Therefore, we went through our films AGAIN.  I am not one who enjoys shopping for clothes, however, a rule that is used for cleaning out your closet was very helpful while doing this movie clean-up.  “If you have not worn (in this case, watched) something within a year, donate it.  It doesn’t matter how much you like it or how well it fits; if you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s not likely you will be wearing it again.”

I kept this in mind while going through my films and it helped me let go of quite a few them.  All of this may sound ridiculous to some of you who think “What is the big deal?!  With the internet, Netflix and new media, you can watch whatever you want, whenever you want.” While this is true, for some movie collectors, the DVD cases and having the hard copy of films is a joy and is important to us so it can be a hard pill to swallow.  After going through the films again, I was able to sell/donate almost 100 films.  Our collection which started with every shelf full, front and back and double stacking when possible, went from this to this.



Now, all that was left to do was to alphabetize them all and find a better way of storing them.  Easy right?  Just thinking of getting them in the right order made me want to cry but the end result was going to be worth it.  In order to save space, it was time to say goodbye to all of the DVD cases and put the discs into a different storage option.  There are several possibilities:  you can buy large DVD portable storage cases from Amazon, buy DVD sleeve pages and put them all into binders or you can buy individual sleeves and store them in nice storage boxes.. the list continues.

I Pinterested for quite awhile, collecting different ideas and then I set out shopping to see what was possible.  If I had the time before moving to order nice albums online, I would probably have done that, but that was the more expensive option and I wanted to be as frugal as possible.


Luckily, Bureau En Gros (Staples) had CD/DVD sleeves on liquidation.  Regular price was $9.99, brought down to $5.97 and because of another sale they had, I got them at 25% off!  Trust me, I was thrilled.  I bought 6 packs of 50 Sleeves, that holds 2 DVDs per sleeve and it also came with labels. Grand total of around $30.

I then went to the Dollar Store and bought 7 Long Baskets which would fit the DVD Sleeves.  I only needed 4 of them to fit my approx. 600 DVDs so I used the 3 extra ones for other storage around the apartment (Cds etc).  The baskets were $2.50 each, so I spent $17.50 on those.  While you may think that almost $50 is too much to spend on this project, keep in mind I got money back from the movies I was able to sell so all together, I only spent about $15 out of my pocket.  Compared to buying albums or cases on Amazon which can be $50 to hold 330 DVDs, this made much more sense financially.

DVD4I proceeded to transfer each DVD from its case, into a sleeve (in alphabetical order) and wrote the labels for each one.  Was this a long process?  Yes.  I won’t lie- it took me quite some time to write out the titles but it was all so organized, that the hand cramp was worth it.  This process can also be quite quick since the majority of people don’t have 600 DVDs to worry about- so don’t let this be too daunting.  As an example of how much space is saved, here is a photo of 137 cases and then all of the movies from those cases in the basket- talk about free space!


As for what can be done with the empty cases- since most DVDs are made from #6 Plastic, my original plan of recycling them was no longer an option.  I’m not sure if it is like this everywhere but in most areas of Montreal, the regular recycling pickups we have don’t accept anything made from No.6 plastic.  I did not want my 600+ cases to be dumped in a landfill somewhere.  While you can Pinterest a ton of ideas for using them in art projects, I knew I didn’t have the time before moving to have fun doing them.  A friend was looking for empty cases to hold his video games so I was able to give many of them away.  There are also eco-centres around Montreal in which you can drop large quantities of No 6 items off, but they may ask for all labels and wrapping to be discarded beforehand.  Many churches, libraries and other secondhand stores accept them so you DO have options other than just throwing them in the garbage.

Here is a photo of the final product- 5 FULL shelves of DVDs, now all on ONE shelf, in 4 baskets.  The rest of the bookcase can now be used for actual books.  Overall, this project condensed four different shelving units into 1 and I am thrilled at the space I was able to save!


Have you done this?  How did you do it and what did you do with all of the leftover cases?  


Published by Joanna Ahti