Sunday Ponderings: My Collection

collection2Welcome, one and all, to a rather huge post of Sunday Pondering. I hope you have a coffee and your feet up, Dear Readers, this one is a big ‘un!

Today, I take a closer look at filing music collections. Specifically, how I currently file mine!

Inspired by THIS EXCELLENT POST AT VINYL CONNECTION, I took a much-needed look at how I run things in my own collection. Turns out, given years of rampant collection and a half-assed method of keeping things organized, as well as inconsistent and (often) inexplicable mental whim on an on-going basis, I have quite the interesting process.

It is in dire need of restructuring to make life easier as the collection continues to expand.

I may need your help/suggestions…


First an overview. All format collections have the following method:

– Alphabetical by first letter of artist’s last name (“A” for Ryan Adams), or first letter of band name (“A” for Aerosmith).

– Bands with numbers for names, like 54-40, are kept at the start of the collection, before “A.” (Waiting for 1537 to yell… 😉 )

– Where subsections currently exist by genre (jazz, classical, OMPS {Original Motion Picture Soundtrack}, etc), they retain the same (above) alphabetization within that subsection. OMPS is alphabetical by movie title, not composer of score or artist within mix on album.

Simple enough. However…

Where things go a bit sideways… outside the normal alphabetization, I currently keep these in separate sections:


– Boxed Sets
– LPs from when I was a kid
– Various Artists
– “favourites” (rare, sentimental, expensive/collectible items)
– boxes of Hit It Or Quit It contestants (remember that series?).


– Guided By Voices/Related (kept chronological not alphabetical, as there’s so much and so many different band names), Various Artists compilations mixed in chronologically by release date too.
– Scratched, but keep ’til replaced
– Jazz (not blues/soul too), Various Artists at end of section
– Rap/Hip Hop, Various Artists at end of section
– Various Artists
– Classical (by composer name, not conductor)
– My Lovely Wife’s collection
– Boxed Sets (Lg) (long boxes and vinyl-sized boxes, etc)
– Boxed Sets (Sm) (CD-sized cases) (incl. abnormal-sized single CD packages)
– Some large artist collections in separate boxes/shelves: Iron Maiden, Pearl Jam, Ani DiFranco, Rush, Black Flag/Rollins Band/Henry Rollins, Rolling Stones.


– My grandfather’s cassettes
– My mother’s cassettes
– Mixed tapes
– My own recordings (bands I was in, etc)
– Collectible/nostalgia (childhood)


Kept alphabetical by title in the following sections:

– Kurosawa
– Samurai/kung fu
– Action
– TV shows
– Music DVDs (alphabetical same as other formats)
– My Lovely Wife’s collection (movies and TV)
– Comedy
– Rollins
– Statham

Also: There’s a pile to (possibly) sell.


– Music (currently unalphabetized, but will eventually be by artist not author for ease of locating)

– Piles/shelves of authors’ works, e.g.: Guy Gavriel Kay, Terry Pratchett, Robert Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, William Gibson, Henry Rollins, etc.

Canadian (history and authors)
Short Stories
Graphic Novels
Books from when I was a kid
Music books (large) (sheet music, coffee table-size, etc)
High school year books
Miscellaneous (large)

Also: several stacks of to-be-sorted books from all sections.


collection1SO. A bit of a mess. If you’ve gotten this far, I’m impressed. Few could survive such a look into my crazy brain.

And now I could use your help… I’ve thought of three options for universal collection organization. Which do you like? Or can you think of a different, better way?

Here are three things I’ve thought of to try and make life easier:

1. All For One And One For All:

Rather than have separate subsections with formats, I could alphabetize all genres and types together. That would mean alphabetical by band name, last name of artist, and OMPS or Various Artists title. Reintegrate large band discographies too, all in one huge alphabetized collection, per format.

2. Consistent Subsections Across Formats:

I thought these 10:

Rap/Hip Hop
Various Artists

NB: With this one, I run into many problems. For example, Chuck Berry. Is he Rock? Yes. Blues? Yes. So where do you put him? Or Jeff Healey… same thing. Rock? Blues? Also, I don’t have an electronic section (not enough to warrant it). Where do you put Radiohead, in Rock? And what about Atoms For Peace, then? Still Rock? With Radiohead or not? Or Nine Inch Nails? Rock? And no grunge section either, so does Alice In Chains go in Rock or Metal?

Nitpicking into genres seems like it would create more headaches than it’s worth, trying to remember how I filed this or that band’s work.

3. A (Possible) Compromise Solution:

Maintain full collection alphabetization (option 1.), but limit subsections per format (option 2.) to two subsections:


All other genres would be all mixed in together. Why separate those two? Because they’d be by title, not by artist or band name.



If’ you’ve made it THIS far, you deserve every medal on the planet. Thanks for taking this trip with me through my collection. I would greatly appreciate your comments/ideas on how best to organize – by putting it out to you, I’ll wager you’ll return several ideas I hadn’t even considered. Maybe from your own collections, or maybe from something you’ve seen in someone else’s, or just based on what you’ve read here…

Thanks so much for Reading. I look forward to discussions in the Comments (below)! Happy Sunday, all!



Posted on February 5, 2017, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the shout out, Aaron. I have little to add to the rant you kindly linked to.

    But I will offer this: the grey areas between genres (and Blues-Rock is an excellent example) make all but the largest style categories headache inducing. Having a system that works for you is the primary goal, of course, and something as simple as your collection allows!

    And of course the best advice of all is: get a bigger house.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha bigger house. I’ve already got my own room… I doubt my lovely wife would allow for my own warehouse…

      Those grey areas are what make me hesitate to get too far into the subsections. I feel that way lies headaches, and then not remembering where I finally decided something should reside.

      At the moment, I’m leaning towards option 3, just alpahbetizing everything together, except those done by title not artist/band name. Simple, just remember names! But I’m looking forward to any other suggestions that may roll in as this post greets folks in the morning!

      Thanks for the inspiration on this one. It was long overdue that I look at my collection with an eye towards method of organization! Loooong overdue!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Something else that just occurred to me (and wasn’t in the post) is that I have a .txt file of all my stuff. It’s alphabetized. It isn’t broken out into subsections. Maybe there’s my answer right there. Huh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. (Sighs) you know my views. Number bands filed in the alpha equivalent space, solo artists filed by first name, classical composers filed by their surname, compilations filed by their title, no deviations ever.

    Never mind all that ‘just be yourself’ nonsense – that is the one true way!


  3. Make things easier for yourself by being rid of all the Sloan stuff… that’s my tip!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. CDs – Alphabetically by artist, and then chronological by release.

    EXCEPT FOR MY 11 piles of overflow CDs. Those are still unfiled.


  5. The coffee just dinged!
    For LPs and CDs, I go alphabetical with soundtracks at the end. Tapes/8-tracks have no discernible organization.
    And then a section devoted to ‘albums on the 1001’ that I haven’t reviewed yet.
    Nice post!


  6. WOW! Thats all I got! hahaha…You my friend are a Music Fanatic and I mean that in a good way!


  7. Man, I wouldn’t like to be the one sorting out that collection!

    I say keep it simple. A-Z. Everything.


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