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Organizing Your Classical Music CDs

Organizing My Classical Music with Colored Dots – From My Archives


As you can imagine, I own a large number of classical music CDs. Between homeschooling my four children and researching and preparing the plans for Harmony Fine Arts, I have quite the collection.

Back in 2008 when I originally shared my tips for organizing music CDs, I had not yet made the leap to listening to music online using streaming or playlists. Things have changed! But, I thought I would repost this organizing idea just in case there are families that find themselves with a growing classical music CD collection.


As far as storage, I use the GNEDBY shelf from IKEA. It is large enough to hold even my huge collection of music! It historically sat right next to my science shelf (also from IKEA). Now I have it close to my desk so I can pop in a CD while I work.

Using Colored Dots to Organize Your Classical Music Collections

I tried organizing the CDs alphabetically but that soon fell apart as CDs were quickly re-shelved at the end of the week.

I came up with the idea for organizing the music into the four year cycles of history as explained in The Well-Trained Mind. I took my CDs and divided them up by composer time period. I took some colored dots that I had from the office supply store and gave each time period a different color.

Here is my colored dot system:
Medieval-early Renaissance 400-1600 =red dot
Late Renaissance-early Modern 1600-1850 =green dot
Modern -blue dot

Now all I had to do was to go through and look at the composer’s dates, adhere a dot to the outside spine of the CD case, and then group like colors on the shelf.

Sometimes the dots don’t stick very well so I go back with a colored Sharpie and just make a dot on the spine of the CD case.

This has saved me loads of time over the years. I could usually remember a composer’s time period and then scan the CDs with the appropriate dot on the spine. It’s a simple system that works for our family. Even if the CDs get mixed up on the shelf, I can easily shuffle them around back into some sort of order within a minute or two.

Note I use Amazon affiliate links in this entry to products I use and recommend.

More Classical Music Tips

Build Your Classical Music LibraryThis page shares my tips for building a basic classical music library for your family.

Learn About Composers the Easy Way – This post shares a valuable music appreciation resource that I have used in my own family and in the Harmony Fine Arts plans.


Harmony Fine Arts Purchase Now button

Are you looking for premade plans for listening to composers by time period? I invite you to take a look at my Harmony Fine Arts program to see if it’s a good fit for your family. There are sample weeks under the “sample” tab on the website. You can also download a chart that gives you more details about composers included in each year plan.

Overview Chart -grades 1-12 general descriptions
Artist & Composer List – Grades 1-4 – specific artists and composers
Artist & Composer List – Grades 5-8 – specific artists and composers

Homeschool Papers – Once They Have Graduated

Homeschool Papers Harmony Art Mom

This is a project I have been meaning to tackle for a long time now. The shelf with all of the homeschooling papers and binders is full to the brim from the school days of my three boys. My daughter and I went through her papers a few years ago and gleaned some things to save as keepsakes, meaningful writing, artwork, and projects that she wanted to pull from her binders and bind together into a book she could have in her own library. I meant to do the same for my oldest son but he told me he doesn’t want any of the things we have saved over the years and he advised me to just toss it all out. I haven’t done it yet.

Now I am facing the shelf with much emotion knowing that I need to toss most of it and just keep some things that will hold the memories of the past sixteen years of homeschooling. I know logically that I can take photos of things that are precious and keep those safe instead of all the bulky papers and binders. But, that still is not the same as the papers with the original ink and pencil writing, the papers that they touched and labored over.

Reflecting on this shelf of homeschool records, I would do things differently now if I were starting over. Although I did glean out the best of the best to keep at the end of each school year, I would be even more brutal now if I had the chance.

Keep the best of the best of the best, take photos of the other items that seem important, and then toss or recycle the rest.

Harmony Art Mom Seasoned Mom Tip

In the end, the precious memories are not held in the papers and projects. The real value to them is not in the physical keeping of anything tangible. It is the intangible that means more to me now that I am looking from the other side of graduation plus a year.

Wish I could have some homeschooling friends over for a “throwing away the papers” party.

….That would come after I savor a few mores minutes with the memories.


Flashback Friday-Reading Record Idea

Homeschool reading log with stars

As part of the reading and literature plan that I had for my boys, I had them keep a Reading Record. This particular form is from the Spelling Power book but you could easily make one up or use a notebooking page from a set you have.

What made this one work for my boys when they were younger is the simplicity of it and the way we customized it by adding star stickers to show how much they liked the book. They used a scale of 1 to 5 (five was the highest).

This was simple and easy to get them do at the end of each week. They would share these records with me at the end of the week and I would have them explain why they gave a book the number of stars they recorded.

Another tip: I didn’t always correct every spelling mistake and punctuation error I found in this kind of writing. I made a note to cover the misspelled words in the weeks to come and to address the other errors during our more formal writing and grammar time. I learned to pick my battles.



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