How To Organize Family Videos

Wonder where all the family videos have disappeared to? Here's an easy way to get those films organized for easy location and use.

Family videos make for great home entertainment. But it's no fun to go looking for a movie and not be able to find it. Under the sofa? In the toy box? Setting on the bookshelf? Finally you give up and settle for television programming instead, wondering what happened to that multi-dollar investment of family viewing.

To keep track of all the videos you've bought over the years, here are a few ideas that may make them easier to find and take care of. Then, when someone asks for the latest Disney release that you're sure was purchased last month, you'll know exactly where to find it.

1. Collect the videos throughout the house for storage at one location. You can get a cheap used one at a garage sale or the salvage store. Or buy a new inexpensive one at a department store when they go on sale. It can match the furniture in your family room or fit neatly into a storage closet off one of the main rooms for easy access. If you don't have a bookshelf, you can use an old chest of drawers, a trunk, closet shelves, or even an unused toy box as well as a couple of heavy-duty cartons. The point is to get all the videos into one central location.

2. Separate them into two or more categories. For example, make two stacks, one for family viewing and the other for kids. Or distinguish them by genre, especially if your family favors just a few, such as romantic comedies, biographies, adventure, mystery/suspense, westerns, or thrillers. If you're a fan of specific actors or directors and have collected several of your favorites, you can divide these videos into groups, too.

3. Organize the videos into sections or sets. Place each category of videos in its own area, whether it be a shelf, box, or bookshelf. Within each group you can arrange the mini-collection alphabetically, like bookstore and library videos. Or you can alphabetize the entire collection, dispensing with genres or classification of any kind so the entire group will be visible at a glance or two.

4. Have each family member return a video to the collection area after viewing. This helps to prevent misplacing, losing, or accidentally breaking a video if someone sits down on the sofa cushion under which it has been inadvertently hidden. Teach young children to replace videos promptly to avoid amassing several that may end up laying on the floor or thrown into the toy box, leading to more sorting and replacement later.

5. Consider writing and keeping a list of your titles. This can be updated easily and periodically on your computer, or even by hand if you post it near the collection of videos. Alphabetize it if possible. If you loan videos to friends or family members, make a note of it on the list so that you can keep track of its whereabouts and request its return in a timely fashion. Cross off the titles that are broken or lost.

Caring for your videos means that you can enjoy them for years to come. This includes home videos of family celebrations and special events. Keep track of these valuable treasures!

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