6.16.2012

Decluttering A/V cables

A few weeks ago I completed another decluttering project that has been on my "someday list" for a long time! Although I don't have a super fancy audio/visual setup, I still have quite a few components hooked up to my TV: TiVo with tuning adapter, Blu-ray player, Apple TV, Wii, Playstation 2 (in case I want to play old Dance Dance Revolution games), region-free DVD player (needed for viewing Japanese region-encoded DVDs), plus an Airport Express router to extend my wireless network. Of course, most of these have power adapters, multiple cables, and so on, so I used to have a total mess of wires visible underneath my TV cabinet. My goal was to get all of these hidden behind the cabinet, creating a mostly clear floor, so I started by taking up all the extra slack in each cable and securing them with Velcro cable ties. I also replaced the ethernet cable that connects my Blu-ray to the router with a short 3-foot cable, since I certainly didn't need the crazy long cable I was using before! Next I had to get my power strip off the floor, so I attached it to the back of my cabinet using Exterior Mounting Tape, which is super adhesive stuff designed to stick to things like cars and such. I needed the extra sticky power since all the various plugs get pretty heavy, especially the Airport Express. I used the same technique to attach my other power bricks to the back of the cabinet as well. The only thing I left on the floor is the main cord from the power strip to the wall outlet, because it snakes up very neatly and makes it easy for me to pull the entire cabinet away from the wall for easy access to everything back there. I'm amazed at how nice it looks now! I wish I had a "before" photo, but trust me, it used to look ridiculous under there!

6.03.2012

Managing my DVD collection

Although I rent DVDs and watch streaming movies whenever possible, I still have lots of DVDs, but I try to hold myself to a few strict rules about my collection. First, I've specified a "maximum physical space" for DVDs, so they will never spill out onto other shelves or get stored in multiple areas of the house. If my shelf is full and I want to buy another DVD, I must get rid of another one to make some space (I love to do this anyway, since I think it's fun to use Amazon's trade-in program or sell things on eBay). Second, I try to analyze my DVDs for coolness (incredible movies with amazing bonus features), nostalgia (deeply fond childhood memories that I want to relive), and collectability (getting all titles of a movie series, like Godzilla movies) to decide if they really belong on my shelf. I really do watch my DVDs more than once, and I even try to balance out what I watch by keeping track of it! To help with this, I decided I needed a kind of list or database of my collection, and after looking into a few possible solutions I settled on DVD Aficionado, mainly because it's free (although I did make a donation) and online where I can see it anytime (since I love deciding on a movie to watch before I leave work). DVD Aficionado has an extensive database of just about everything, so it's easy to search and add it to your personal collection, and you can even use "folders" for specialized categorization (so I can put all my Disney movies together, for example). It didn't take long to find all of my DVDs (minus my Jpop concert DVDs, unfortunately), and now I can even keep track of when I watch a film. Since I love statistics, now I know instantly that I own 398 titles on 776 discs, with Animation as my number one genre (followed by Sci-Fi). It's been very helpful to me in the short time I've used the site, so I definitely recommend DVD Aficionado. Be sure to check out my collection at the link below!

View site: DVD Aficionado