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How To Declutter And Organize Your TV Recordings

It’s September, which means it’s also fall TV premiere season. After almost four months of torture–I mean reruns–what if your DVR is at 97%, definitely not enough space to fit Dorinda’s latest outburst on the new season of RHONY? In order to “make it nice,” you’ve got to make your recordings nice too, so grab a good snack, turn on your favorite music, and let’s get to work.

manage tv recordings

Work From Oldest To Newest

Start in your list of recordings and with the oldest shows. That way, you’ll be less likely to keep them “just in case.” Then, ask yourself four questions:

  • Have I watched? If you meant to delete something after watching it, go ahead and knock it out. If you haven’t watched, set a time with your favorite snack or beverage and do nothing else until the show ends.
  • Will I honestly watch? I use the “is it online?” method if I don’t have time for a full episode. If you want to watch Beyoncé’s Grammy performance but don’t care about the awards ceremony, you can find official clips of almost any show online. Keep shows you can’t find the clip for or want to watch entirely.
  • Are there old episodes? Unless there are gaps in a drama’s story line for you, or a trivia night is in your near future, there is no need to keep reruns. You can probably recite the plot of your favorite episodes by heart anyway.
  • Is it always on? Some shows, especially kids shows like Teen Titans, are seemingly on constantly, so why record them if someone can watch live later?

declutter dvr recordings

Cancel/Update Your Scheduler

Your favorite crime drama comes on at 6:30 on one channel, at 10:30 on another, and at 2:00 AM on a third. Imagine that during a full month of after-school practices or falsely short meetings at work. For a once a week show, that’s twelve episodes shown only one way, and since you have a DVR, you can rewind one episode instantly instead of watching all twelve to pick up on details.

Change your recording settings for each series to “Record first run only” or “Record only new episodes” so that reruns aren’t kept, and make sure only one channel is recorded. Also, take any shows off your scheduler that you don’t watch. Do the same for cancelled shows and duplicates, like when certain episodes repeated during the summer.

manage dvr recordings

Do A Five Minute Declutter Once A Week

For those days when there is absolutely nothing on, including with your DVR, set a timer for five minutes and do a quick purge. I do this on Sunday afternoons when there really is nothing I want to watch, but you could easily do it about five or ten minutes before a new episode to distract from that “Why isn’t it 8:00 yet?!” feeling. My Alexa device keeps the time, and a running clock prevents procrastination. On top of that, I always try to beat my record from the last purge, so it becomes more of a personal competition than a to-do list item.

The Five Minute Declutter works for more than just TV recordings. Check out this post to learn how to use it anywhere you need immediate organization.

I admit that I can’t always keep to this next tip, especially during the holidays or the Olympics (I must watch all the curling matches), but pick a percentage goal for TV recordings and try not to ever exceed it. Mine is 75%, so if it gets above that, I know it’s time for some cleanup.

how to organize dvr recordings

Finally Hit Play!

Now you can record the new season of your favorite show. Yes, every episode this time. You decluttered and organized all your TV recordings, and you skipped the fluff that prevented you from catching up in the first place.

You made it nice, my friend. Go skip some commercials. That’s the main reason you have a DVR, right?

Co-written with Brad Gandy

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