What is the best way to organize DVDs? Check out today's Ask the Critic question and post your own
Shirley MacLaine, The Apartment
Credit: THE APARTMENT: Jerry Tavin/Everett Collection

What is the best way to organize DVDs?

What is the best way to organize DVDs in a way that shows how awesome your collection is while remaining understated? And how should they be arranged (alphabetically, chronologically, autobiographically)? —Brandon Otte

Brandon, I love a question like this, because I recognize a kindred spirit: You’re intensely interested in how your object-of-obsession — in this case, a DVD collection — appears to others, because you and I know that people judge us not merely by what we watch but how we choose to present those choices. I’ll confess: I tend to let DVDs pile up in stacks on my desk and the floor until I have trouble finding the titles I want, but once I DO organize ’em, I do as I do my book collection: I group them by genre (thrillers, documentaries, TV shows, classic dramas, screwball comedies, cartoons, etc.). I don’t bother with alphabetical, because that way lies madness (Alphabetical by title? By studio? By lead actor? By director? Gaaaaaa!!!…).

Then I just shelve them neatly, spine facing front — I NEVER put the DVD cover face-out on my shelf, the way they sometimes do with books in bookstores; to me, items facing out means you don’t own enough of the things to cram them into a delightfully, brilliantly chosen shelf of material that proves to even the most casual pursuer that you are, indeed, an awesome dude or dudette. This system also has the added benefit of making you look like you know where everything is (which you do) without any system so mundane as alphabetical organization. ”Billy Wilder’s The Apartment? Right here, Jim! Season One of Deadwood? Lower shelf, to your right, Jane!” You’re not a library — you’re a connoisseur!

(Got a DVD-related question for Ken? Post it here.)