How To Sort Your Collection – Ways To Organize CDs

There are many ways in which people can sort their CD collections. It all depends on what’s more important to you and what feels right. Personally, I use a combination of almost all the methods listed below. I’ll explain later on…


Alphabetical is the most common way of ordering CDs. I would say it’s also the easiest method in which to find what you’re looking for, that’s why it’s often used by stores to display their CDs. When it comes to alphabetical though, you have a choice:

1. Last name, first name. This is how stores will organize. Take Ed Sheeran for instance, you would find him under the S’s for Sheeran.


2. First name, last name. This is slightly unorthodox, but I think it’s more straight-forward. With this method, Ed Sheeran would be found under the E’s instead of the S’s.


3. By title. If you don’t have a lot of multiple CDs from the same artists, then maybe this could be worth a try. Especially if you’re not good at remembering peoples’ names. For instance, “Divide” by Ed Sheeran would be found in the D’s.

Genre Specific

A lot of stores, especially used CD stores, utilize this method as well, of sorting all the CDs into genre specific sections/areas. For example, Country will be separate from Rap which will also be separate from Jazz. Usually Pop and Rock are mixed together though because it can be tricky to distinguish the two sometimes. This method is great if there are definitive lines, but otherwise it can become a subjective type thing. It would be for the listener to decide what can go where.


Another way of organizing is to sort the CDs into chronological order, as in the order of release dates. For the most part, chronological is sorted from oldest to newest, but there are no rules saying you can’t go from newest to oldest if you would prefer. With this method you also have a choice of:

1. Chronological within each artist. This is the most common way. Say you have Ed Sheeran’s three studio albums, it would go; “+” (2011), “x” (2014), “Divide” (2017).


2. Completely chronological. In relation to the alphabetical by title, this method could also be useful for someone who doesn’t have multiples from the same artists. Or someone who just really likes their music to be timeline oriented. For example, a CD that came out in 2005 would be before one that came out in 2006.

Your Personal Ratings/Rankings

For the music critics out there, they may want to sort their music into their own ranking system. Have the best/their favourite albums first and then go down the line. This way of organizing could be cool if you want your collection to look unique. As well if anyone asks, you’re happy to explain and back up who you think is the best artist.

Anything Else You Can Come Up With

There are no rules when it comes to sorting CDs, so if you have thought up your own special organization pattern, run with it! Another one I have used, is keeping the CDs I imported onto my iTunes separate from the ones I haven’t yet. That way I don’t forget about any of them.

You can also combine any or all of the methods up top. For my collection, I have most of my CDs sorted into alphabetical order by artist (first name, last name) and then chronological within each artist. All of my soundtracks and mixed “hits” CDs though, I have on the bottom shelf. Plus then I also have my top tier favourite band, Marianas Trench, completely separated from all the other artists because I want them to be easily accessible.

No matter how you decide to organize your collection, just make sure it’s the right fit for you. If you’re not sure which method you’ll like best, try testing them out in little trial periods. And depending on the size of your collection, maybe only sort a chunk at a time until you figure out which method is the best for you.

Do you use any of the organizing methods above? Do you have your own technique? Share them below, I’d love to hear about them!

Hope this helps,

The CD Queen

4 thoughts on “How To Sort Your Collection – Ways To Organize CDs”

  1. Wow, I really can’t remember when I bought new CD last time. I was huge fan of buying original music and original CDs before Youtube came to the scene.

    Btw, I have the Meteora album from Linkin Park. I remember being so happy after I purchased it.
    I personally like to organize my CDs on a genre base. It makes finding my music easier.

    How do you orgnaize your CDs?

    1. Oh haha. Ya I bet that happened to a lot of people. They ended up choosing digital because it was cheaper or more convenient.

      Oh that’s awesome you have that album! I think it’s great. Nice idea you got there, going genre based.

      I personally go with alphabetical based on first name, then chronological within each artist. I don’t really have a reason for it, it’s just how I’ve always done it 🙂

  2. Hmm, food for thought! I don’t collect CDs (minimalist!) but if I did, I’d go by favourite – and give away anything I never listened to!

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