Posted August 01 2012 - 07:29 AM
GREAT topic. I love hearing how others view and deal with their collections. Here's my own...
I've never hesitated to combine DVDs and BLUs -- for me, it's about the movies, not the video resolution or the size of the case. For most of these years it was just alphabetical, eliminating all question about where to find something on the spur of the moment (the always-aggravating exception being double-feature or multiple-feature sets). At first, I kept TV shows separate from movies. Then, as my Disney collection grew (I eventually acquired all the Treasures and Legacies, and every feature film that meant something to me, which is a LOT), I moved that to a separate area.
But as the collection grew dramatically over the past few years, I grew dissatisfied with the bulk of it being alphabetical. I wanted to categorize the films somehow or other -- but not just as a typical store would do it. This isn't a store. It's my home. I felt it should be personal -- it should be done in a way that means something to the collector.
So, a couple of months ago when I needed to file a stack of new discs, which had grown to be quite the chore, it finally struck me to try grouping by director, for the simple reason that the "auteur" sensibility had been my default in thinking about film since literally the early 1970s. I started with a few traditional favorites for whom I had a sufficient number of films, just to see how I liked it -- Hitchcock, Bergman, Welles, Kubrick... and I was hooked. I started placing the director groups on their own set of shelves, freeing up a lot of space in the main section so it was easy to file new stuff. You couldn't do an entire collection like that (there are just too many miscellaneous titles for which it wouldn't make any sense), but as soon as I've accumulated, say, three or more titles where the director (or producer, in cases like Val Lewton) is the draw, those join the grouped section.
Having reorganized that much, I could now see that the large miscellaneous section had potential for further groupings, which would make total sense but wouldn't depend on a common director, such as: Hammer and Amicus films. Universal and other US monsters or horror or sci-fi. Harryhausen animation. Musicals. Westerns. Traditional comedy acts (A&C, L&H, Marx, Stooges). It continues to evolve. And there's always the occasional question of cross-categorization for some film or other. In those few cases, I go with my gut -- whatever means the most to me.
Oddly enough, this system helps me to better manage the constant challenge of real estate in general. My favorite thing, though, is that the collection now means more to me, and is more accessible, as a collection. And when friends come into the room, instead of just being numbed by shelves and shelves of a whole lot of discs, what they're now able to see (if they're interested) is the core of what my personal tastes run to. This is where the meaning is -- what, for me, it's all about.