ONE. Now this is very important… you must find out exactly how many CD's your storage area can hold. You'd be amazed at how many homes accumulate an overflow of compact discs, which end up stacked in piles that don't fit where they're supposed to because you've simply run out of room.
TWO. Once you've worked out how many CD's you can store, it's time to count the CD's. Nine times out of ten, you'll have more than what will fit. The 'overflow' amount is now your 'cull' amount. As David Attenborough would say, 'It's time to separate the weak from the herd'. While you're counting, put all the loose discs back with their appropriate cover. Here's another tip – check inside every CD cover as you go to make sure they contain the correct disc. I would bet money that you'll find at least one that ended up somewhere it shouldn't.
THREE. Separate CD's into two piles. One pile to keep, and one to cull. Make sure your keep pile only contains as many CD's as your maximum storage will allow. If this gets difficult, you might find it easier to narrow down by choosing your favourite, then your next favourite etc. rather than trying to pick the ones you don't want.
FOUR. Chances are you don't limit yourself to just one style of music. So if your CD collection is big enough, instead of A-Z, try dividing them into genres. This can include Alternative Rock, Country, Jazz, Pop, Classical, Opera, Metal, Punk, Compilations, Soundtracks etc. Choose the genres that are familiar to you and suit your personal collection.
FIVE. Once you have your CD's sorted into music-types, you can now arrange the CD's within each genre into alphabetical order, while at the same time stacking them back where they're supposed to go. Voila – your CD collection is looking organised and neat, and now when you have a hankering to hear some tunes, it will be extra easy to find a CD to feed your craving.
Now, you're probably wondering what to do with all the leftover CD's. Well you COULD put them in a box and throw them in the shed with all the other household items you never use or even remember purchasing. OR, you can donate them, take them to Cash Converters, give them to friends, or sell them at swap-meet with all your other shed-dumped items. This part of the process does require some ruthlessness, but just think – if you haven't listened to it in the last 3 years, is it really worth keeping?
Finally, a little tip on how to make this seemingly mammoth task fun and interesting. I recommend doing it together with an old friend or partner. As you go, play some of the CD's you find. Music can re-ignite a lot of memories and emotions from the past. Share your stories and laughter – you won't just have a fabulously organised collection, you'll also be left feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.