If you’re reading this, you probably have a collection of movies and music that has way more than you will ever watch or listen to again. Movie and music media is hard to purge because there are usually lots of fond memories attached to them. But even if there aren’t, it can be hard to know what to do with all of it when you’re ready to let go.
I had boxes of DVDs, CDs, vinyl records, and –horror of horrors–VHS and cassette tapes. This post includes various options for how to get these items out of your home even when you can’t sell or give them away. Most of my movies and music had been sitting untouched in a cabinet for years so I figured it was time to clear them out. In the process, I learned a few things that I’m happy to share.
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How To Decide What To Purge
Have no idea where to start or what to get rid of? Here are two questions that might make the process easier.
Are you really going to watch it/listen to it?
There are so many new movies and so much new music released every year. Realistically, you may not have the time to enjoy all the media you have. Be honest with yourself.
Do you have the space?
If the answer is no, maybe it’s time to purge. Designate a container, drawer, or cabinet to house your movies and music. Set limits and keep only what will fit in that space. This means pairing down to the things you know you will definitely watch or listen to again.
Once you have a pile of things to purge, the options below will help you get these things out of your home.
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If you’ve decided to try and make back some of the money you spent, selling your stuff is a good option. The sites below appear in order of easiest to more challenging. These weren’t the only sites I tried but they were the best in my experience.
Decluttr.com is a good site to sell your DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs (they don’t accept VHS, cassettes, or vinyl records). It’s simple, just type in the UPC codes on the website or scan your items using their phone app. The price they’re willing to offer you pops up on the screen and is added to your cart. You can then print out a prepaid shipping label and ship it using your own box. They were great about emailing me once they got the package and gave me an estimated amount of time for processing my items. It took about two weeks to get my payment via PayPal but you can also get the money via direct deposit.
Decluttr.com doesn’t take everything and they don’t offer you all that much for your items but if your main goal is to thin out your collection all at once, this is the way to go. It’s also one of the easiest services to use.
This was also a good site that allowed me to sell some of the CDs and DVDs that Decluttr.com wouldn’t take. The downside of SellBackYourBook.com was that I needed to have a $7.50 minimum. When you’re getting 25 cents per item, that minimum can be pretty difficult to reach. I cheated a little and decided to throw some books into the mix to up my minimum trade-in amount.
This site also has a phone app that makes scanning your stuff easy. Once you scan your items you can print out a free shipping label and mail off your package. You can receive payment via Paypal or by check if you prefer.
eBay, Amazon, Facebook
You can try selling your old media through eBay, Facebook, or Amazon too. Consider these if you have items that are in good to new condition. But selling on these sites also takes more time. You’ll need to take pictures and create listings, not to mention holding on to the items until they sell. eBay and Amazon will also charge fees. Just keep track of the time you spend doing this to make sure it’s worth the effort in the end.
These sites may also be a good way to sell off your VHS movies, cassette tapes, and vinyl records which rebuying services don’t take. And on eBay, I found you could even make some money from selling your blank tapes.
Give It Away
Don’t want to bother with creating listings, scanning, or packing up your stuff? Gifting or donating your movies and music can be the easier way to purge.
Friends and Family
The first thing I try is to offer my unwanted movies and music to family and friends. I have a friend who has a massive DVD collection and continues to add to it. She’s the first person I ask.
Facebook Buy Nothing and Tag Sale groups are an excellent way to get rid of unwanted items. It’s best to offer things as a bundle. If you’re willing to give things away individually that could work too but it’ll take a little longer.
Some libraries have annual fundraising sales and appreciate donations of movies and music. You’ll probably have the best luck with DVDs, Blu-rays, and CDs. Most don’t take things like VHS or cassettes.
Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Savers also take media but, again, this is mostly for DVDs, Blu-rays, and CDs. I did see that some Goodwill locations were willing to take VHS movies and vinyl records but it’s best to check on what types of items your local store accepts.
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So you’ve tried everything to purge your movies and music and still have items left that you want to get rid of, most likely your VHS and cassette tapes. You may be tempted to throw those in the trash but that’s a bad idea. According to Earth911.com, although the outer casing of these tapes is made of recyclable plastic, the film inside is made of Mylar. It’s coated in heavy metals that, if sent to the dump, can cause soil and water contamination. Unfortunately, most recycling centers won’t accept them but Earth911.com does provide a list of recycling centers around the country that do.
When all else fails, GreenDisk.com offers different recycling services for a fee. I went with the TechnoTrash Pack-IT service where I paid a flat fee for up to 25 pounds per box. I did have to pay for shipping as well but I thought it was worth it in the end just to know that my stuff wouldn’t end up in a landfill somewhere.
Digitizing Your Movies and Music- Copyright Issues
You may be thinking you can digitize your movies and music and just get rid of the physical copies. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly legal. Technically making copies of your media isn’t allowed, especially if you plan to sell the original version. It’s considered double-dipping and could get you in trouble. This is something to keep in mind as you purge.
Less Stuff = More Space
At the end of this project, I was left with only the movies and music I really wanted. I was able to cut our CD collection in half and got rid of DVDs I knew we weren’t going to watch again.
And I could finally reclaim the space being taken up by my old VHS and cassette tapes, knowing that I had disposed of them responsibly. It felt good to finally let go of my old media.
Until next time, happy decluttering!