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Little Spouse On The Prairie: Snowballing, Part III

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

The third project I tackled during my winter break was by far the largest, and one that I knew was going to take at least two full days.  I wanted to organize our DVDs.

When I told my brother of my plans, he remarked, “You still have DVDs?” 

Yes, I know that DVDs are going the way of 8-tracks and VHS tapes.  But we don’t subscribe to cable channels, nor have we joined any of those streaming movie services.  I realize this may be old fashioned and silly, but I can buy DVDs for 50 cents at garage sales, and I like, as listeners probably know by now, physical objects.  Even better, I like physical objects that can be alphabetized.

If I purchase a digital movie, which always costs more than 50 cents, by the way, where is it?  Is it just floating out there in the air?  How can I see rows of spines, organized by genre and alphabetical order on a shelf if all my movies are only online?  I don’t have to remember a password to grab a DVD off the shelf. And Joel’s midlife crisis van has a DVD player, so the kids can watch as we travel.  Let’s not argue.  I wanted to keep and organize the DVDs, okay?

Although I clung to the idea of keeping the movies in their original cases, these were starting to take up too much room.  I had acquired hundreds of DVDs from friends who had gone digital.  Who’s going to feel silly if we ever have a worldwide internet crash?

I made a monumental decision:  I decided it was time to remove the DVDs from their cases and place them in compact binders.  I had even found some that resembled old books, so I could disguise the newfangled shiny discs.  I ordered a six-pack of these binders initially, along with a few extra sleeves.  This would make it easy for me to find the movies, and possibly loan them out to my wayward friends in the event of that worldwide internet crash.

The DVDs were already sorted and moderately alphabetized.  I had struggled to keep them in order when they were in their original cases because the kids always seemed to put them back on the wrong shelf.  I had discovered that no amount of harping would cure this behavior, so I had been periodically going through and reorganizing to keep some semblance of my sanity.

In the morning, I laid out all of the DVDs, sorting into categories as I went.  I hadn’t realized how many kids’ movies we had! I decided two of the binders would have to be dedicated to just animated features, and put all of the Disney movies in one pile and the others off to the side.  Unfortunately, I had to go into three binders before I was finished with just the animated movies, and this took me two days.

The reason it took me two days is that I had to remove the paper covers, cut the spines into long thin rectangles and place them into the little slots in the sleeves.  Then, though I didn’t have to, I used a template to cut out a square label to place in the sleeve as well.  I was giddy with the way the perfectly tagged and filed movies looked!  And our public library was happy to take all the empty movie cases to organize their own collection, so I didn’t have to feel guilty about throwing away more plastic. It was a marvel, really.

But I had already used up half the binders and all of my designated time for the entire project, and I only had the animated features organized.  And since it was Christmas break, my kids kept getting into those to watch and, weirdly, not putting them back in the correct slot, even though I had presented a tutorial before I let them look through the books.

I still had piles of action adventure, westerns, dramas, comedies, fantasies, and documentaries to file.  I took snowballing down to the micro level and started with the smallest pile, the romantic comedies.  Of course, my preferred type of movie would be scant.  There’s a solution to that: Time to hit the weekend garage sales to see if I can pick up a few more romcoms.      

Host of Little Spouse on the Prairie, a regional comedy feature that airs Sundays at 8:35 a.m. during Weekend Edition.