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Saturday Deluxe / 11 April 2020

This bank holiday weekend I’ll be sorting out my CDs

It’s a bank holiday weekend in the UK, but of course a very different one since most of us will be in ‘lockdown’ at home, doing our bit to help minimise the spread of the COVID19 virus. With so much time at home, I have plans to reorganise my CDs and not feel guilty about it, but I have to admit I’m slightly depressed at how best to organise and display a lifetime’s collection.

The simple ‘problem’ is that I now own too many CDs to practically display in one room. I’d estimate my collection is approaching 5,000 in number and there’s two main issues. The first is that simply this is too many CDs for one single room-in-a-house physical location and the second is that even if I could do this, I’m not sure I really want to anymore.

As a teenager, the the idea of a music room lined with wall-to-wall racking of CD shelves was quite appealing. But then so was a diet of hot dogs and coca-cola. I guess part of the appeal was you’d show off your enormous collection to all your mates and you’d have everything to hand should you need to dig out some obscure CD single from 1986, at the drop of a hat. In reality, very few people outside close friends would ever see your enormous collection and on the off chance some stranger did, they’d probably look at you like you should be featured on that ‘hoarding’ program on ITV. Also, most of the time you don’t need access to that CD single, so does it need to be on display at all times?

Up until the late 1990s, I had a large but manageable collection. Probably less than 1000 CDs, and they would all be in one place. But then it grew and life got in the way of keeping properly organised. I got married a few years later, moved house, had kids and there was a period where I boxed up a large part of my collection and put them in the loft, with ‘plans’ to bring them all down and display them somewhere or other. But while these other CDs were in the loft (I would semi-regularly go up there and bring things down when needed) I was still buying  CDs which were filling up new shelving that I had procured. I then had a situation where my home office – with about half my collection on display (the other half in the loft) – was redecorated and became a reception room. My wife ‘advised’ me that she didn’t envisage hundreds of CDs as an attractive part of the decor, so my shelves were dismantled and put in the loft for a while, along with some of the newer collection, which now joined boxes of CDs which had been in the loft for years, by this time.

My office moved upstairs and some CDs with them and meanwhile there were also CDs in a big closed storage unit downstairs and some in a cupboard with some DVDs near the TV. Additionally, there were also some random cardboard boxes of CDs lying around of discs that I’d ‘de-prioritised’. My thought process here was along the lines of does-some-slightly-generic-eighties-compilation-that-I-probably-bought-in-a-charity-shop-because-it-was-50p-and-might-have-a-rare-single-edit-on-it-deserve-the-same-space-as-‘Hunky Dory’?

In short, I got to a situation where there were compact discs virtually EVERYWHERE in the house and I never knew where anything was. I’d have to search in at least five places (including the loft) all of which weren’t alphabetised. A bit of a nightmare. If it was cheap, occasionally I was known to buy something again, that I knew I owned, rather than spent half a day hunting around the house for it! Crazy, I know.

In recent years, I’ve made an effort to try and get the collection logged in Discogs, largely so I know where everything is (“It’s in Loft Box #7”). This is certainly good at preserving sanity but it still doesn’t solve the fundamental problem.


Get rid of your jewel cases and store CDs, booklets and backing sheets in clear wallets

I have a wall in the SDE office with some art prints hanging up. The ‘Car’ Peter Gabriel album cover for example and a framed poster for Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Conversation’. I love looking at these and they give the room space to breathe. Now, I could choose to get rid of them and put wall-to-wall CD racking up, but the point is I don’t want to do that anymore. I love CDs and I love music, but not so much that I want to spend large parts of my day working with my laptop effectively in a CD warehouse.

My solution is to put on display the ‘core’ part of my collection in the office, and then have a secondary, overflow collection somewhere else. Granted, I haven’t worked out precisely where this overflow should be located and at this moment in time (it might have to be the loft) but that’s the general plan. The difficulty is of course working out what constitutes ‘core’ and what doesn’t. To give you an example, my Duran Duran CD collection is about 10-inches long (fnarr) but that’s albums only. If it also included all the various CD singles it would be easily double that, so they have to be sacrificed, to save space. It’s not perfect, because sometimes you want to hear a remix or a B-side from a single, but as politicians like to say, tough decisions have to be made. If I was sensible I’d digitise all the overflow CDs, but it’s a very time-consuming task.

I’ve mentioned this before on SDE, but the other thing I’ve done is chucked out all my jewel cases for space saving. CDs, booklets and the backing sheet thing are all safely stored in bespoke plastic sleeves. This saves an enormous amount of space and while people said a few years ago that I’d regret doing this, I have to say I haven’t at all. It felt quite positive chucking out all that plastic. The lack of spines on display isn’t an issue either as there’s plenty of digipaks in the mix to remind you ‘where you are’ in your A to Z.

If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that these situations are always a work-in-progress. You’ll never get to ‘the end’. You can invest fortunes in bespoke carpentry, and flashy shelving solutions, but nine times out of ten there will still be a messy pile of CDs nearby that you ‘haven’t sorted out yet’! It’s the nature of the beast.

I’d love to hear some of your storage challenges. Leave a comment! Also, if you fancy a closer look to that image at the top, click on this link.

SuperDeluxeEdition.com helps fans around the world discover physical music and discuss releases. To keep the site free, SDE participates in various affiliate programs, including Amazon and earns from qualifying purchases.

217 Comments

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RoyIskeen

I have about 6000 items in my collection. The albums proper are out on display in shelving, stored alphabetically. Compilations and Various are at the end of the alphabet, sorted into covers/tribute albums, soundtracks, and then other various genres e.g. dance music, reggae, ska, jazz, etc.

I separated out all of the cd singles as they took up too much room. I’ve removed all of their covers and put the discs and artwork into slim folders in CD storage cases, stored alphabetically. Everything has been ripped to iTunes – which poses another storage question regarding huge digital libraries and how to store them…

Quante

Hi Paul,

Whilst entering my cds into Discogs I’ve just come across three Eurythmics cd’s I have in plastic covers, which is how I bought them thirty odd years ago. Two of the covers have ‘sealed’ against the cd, which when peeled back has transferred an imprint of the cd details on to the plastic cover. Is this something you’ve come across with the ditching of your Jewel cases in favour of plastic wallets? It’s affected the playing side as well, although I’ve yet to try and play them. It might be something to keep an eye on to make sure your discs don’t deteriorate and degrade in the years to come.

Hotspot is getting repeated playing following your great piece on the PSB singles this week. It’s definitely a summer album – the timing of the release in January was all wrong. As a furloughed (non) worker, controlling the impulse to purchase new music, a good friend surprised me with the kind gift of PSB’s Annually book this week. In return I gifted a Hotspot signed (squiggled) print – it’s the age of exchange; which sounds like a title for a PSB single.

Regards,

Robert

Hi Paul,

I am a little bit curious. Have you finished sorting your CD’s out ? And are you going to post a few pictures after you have finished ?

Have a great weekend !

Robert

Hi Paul, I don’t know if you still read posts on ‘old topics’. I didn’t ‘do’ instagram, but now I do. dutch_music_collector is my instagram name.

gwynogue

I saw a comedy show on TV last night – there was a reference to hoarders/hoarding that made me think of this thread:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS_N_3ekrYs

:)

CakeSaint

Hi Paul, this is a topic near to my heart and it’s been interesting reading everyone’s problems and solutions. Here’s one that I haven’t seen mentioned yet: my work requires me to move every one to four years. I’ve moved eight times in the last 20 years, and am getting ready to move again in a couple of months.

I started collecting CDs when I got one (R.E.M.’s “Eponymous”) and a small CD player for my 15th birthday, so I’ve now been collecting for 30 years. According to my Excel spreadsheet, there are 7700 titles in the collection, with a “title” being anything from a 3″ CD single to a 20-album box set. I’ve kept all of the jewel cases and often use protective plastic sleeves for the entire CD & jewel case package, which I got into in Japan — the location of three of my moves. Keeping Japanese editions in pristine condition with the obi intact (tucked flat under the inner disc tray) has become an obsession in itself.

To store this music, I rely on IKEA’s shelving, though not the BILLY line as many have described. I use the tall, narrow GNEDBY shelves (which replaced the very similar BENNO), and periodically reorganize them while leaving an empty shelf every so often to allow new purchases to be inserted. They are designed to hold CDs perfectly and are modular enough that I can place some here and some there, around corners, broken up by a doorway, etc., although a long, windowless bit of wall space is a big factor when looking for a new place to live. People always say the same thing when they see the collection, which now fills 37 GNEDBYs and BENNOs: “Wow, that’s a lot of CDs.” When the movers come, they sometimes look apprehensive but usually manage to wrap each shelf without taking the CDs out. The times they’ve removed the CDs (and invariably jumbled up the order), it’s taken hours and hours of work to straighten things back out.

Box sets live in a 2 x 4 KALLAX from IKEA, turned on its side and with wheels attached to the bottom. It acts as a room separator with both sides accessible but could also function as a console table behind a sofa (again, multi-purpose furniture that could play a different role in the next home). While the GNEDBYs are filed alphabetically by artist, then chronologically within each artist, the box sets are filed by size — first, the ones that are roughly the size of a jewel box but thicker, then roughly DVD case-sized, then a bit taller, like a CD longbox, and finally LP-sized (and alphabetically by artist within each category). All except the largest boxes are half the depth of the KALLAX, so I file them down one side of the shelving, then around the end and continue on the opposite side (a bit hard to explain).

There are about 250 or so LPs in a four-shelf EXPEDIT (the precursor to KALLAX) and perhaps 150 7″ singles in plastic lidded boxes from Bags Unlimited.

I committed firmly to iTunes 15 years ago and everything is ripped in Apple Lossless format with good-quality artwork. This is the main way I listen, either when sitting in front of the computer, from an iPod on the go, or streamed from the computer to the stereo via Apple TV. It’s great for having everything at my fingertips and saves wear on the actual discs. To ensure everything get s a listen now and then, I rely on a shuffled iTunes playlist consisting of songs that haven’t been played in the last X number of weeks. With that as my “personal radio station,” I can cycle through my entire collection in about 3.5 years, also listening to new acquisitions and things I pick out by choice.

Again, it’s been enjoyable reading about everyone’s “collector angst” and knowing I’m not alone. Hope someone is aided in their own struggles by some of the ideas above.

Finally…great site, Paul — I check it daily and it has both cost and saved me more money than I care to count!

JR

I love the idea of downsizing my 2500+ CD collection and reclaiming some wall space, without actually getting rid of any discs. So you got rid of the jewel boxes for plastic sleeves? Sounds good, but what are you storing those in? How about a recommendation on the sleeve (as seen in the pic) that accommodates not only the disc and booklet but the backing sheet also. Thanks

Francis Maher

I have to say I’ve really enjoy all the comments about storage and associated problems . Great fun . Well done Paul .
By the way , what item/ discussion has got the most responses over the years ?

Norbert

… and of course all collected on discogs; what a task!

Norbert

In my very own private man-hole I now use to store only all vinyls (up to 2000 actually), a lot of my blu-ray and hd-dvd (sic!) – only my japan-cd-collection and the super deluxe editions (Tull, Marillion, Genesis, Simple Minds, Beatles, Police and so on) as well as the dts/blu-ray-audios are on display, rest of the “normal” stuff (european pressings) went down in special cardboardboxes in the basement.
My whole cd-collection is ripped as FLAC via EAC and stored on my NAS and several external hd-drives. The SACD’s of MoFi and Audio Fidelity and japanese non-hybrid SACD’s are stored in special wallets.
Rest of the room is filled with a lot of my hardcover comic-boox (I’m a real nerd, I know ;-) and of course my surround, stereo and PC. My woman don’t like it at all – but these are my treasures!
Well, I love to spend my time in here – even when there’s no pandemic crisis ;-)
P.S.: All furniture by that little furniture shop from Sweden… ah, well, what name was it… I forgot ;-)

SimonP

My storage woes were cured by a company called i-Cubes who’ve since gone under. Will be irritating if I ever need any more!

This pic on twitter gives you an idea of the sort of thing. Kinda modular stacking units. They did 12″, 7″, DVD and CD sizes.

https://mobile.twitter.com/Helene_Stokes/status/737666190961717249/photo/1

Carl Jacobs

Hi all read some of the comments.
So we are all narcissistic completeists. Obviously. But enough about you lot, moving to me.
For eons my collection had been upstairs in my bedroom then in spare bedroom when i got married. How many albums she asked? These albums were here long before you came on the scene and will be there long after you have departed was my response, now run along and do some woman things!
Eventually when we moved into our present house and our daughter left to set up with her then boy friend now husband, I invested in a now defunct vinyl storage stand alone wooden box system. The successor is Vinyl Blox. 12” single or double and same for 7” CDs and dvds / Blu-rays
So I have all CDs and vinyl in our sitting room. Room is double aspect, so my collection is shielded from sunlight by electric opaque blinds with an extra layer of full length curtains on both windows. During winter blinds are ok. During summer it’s the full monty.
Records are stored alphabetically by group then chronologically by release year, with solos kept within the group. U.K. first then foreign copies. So re releases are all in same place. Now bands such as Genesis would see Tony Banks first: alphabet by group then artist by surname etc.
Box sets are again alphabetically stored, but at bottom for weight distribution.
There is enough room away from direct heat to allow double and single boxes to be stored together in alternate layers like house bricks again for weight distribution. So 3 units wide. Each unit approx 300 odd mm wide.
All 7” is removed from pic sleeve or factory sleeve and stored in acid free white paper sleeves together with the insert / company sleeve and or pic sleeve at front and the disc side a at at rear, stored such that the text is perfectly horizontal. All above stored in individual proprietary 400g poly sleeves.
LPs / 12” are stored in poly lined acid free paper sleeves with valuable ones removed from outer and all stored in single 400 g poly sleeves. PVC not used generally as this can react with the vinyl record. Again label text is horizontal. So ones like FGTR mono is stored like this.
New sealed sets are almost all retained sealed but carefully stored in the poly sleeve outer, including Neil Young and Peter Gabriel Classic Records sets.
The poly sleeves are arranged such that opening is on top but inner is arranged such that opening is at 90 degrees to minimise dust and dirt ingress.
Pic discs are stored in their pvc sleeve but in an outer poly.
10” are agin removed from outer and stored in paper sleeves and all in a proprietary poly sleeve.
Poly sleeves by Covers 33 who also do box set sizes but not massive boxes like Sabbath ones.
CDs are stored in their jewel case but special ones are protected in poly comic poly sleeves cut to size do the trick and same for digipaks and box sets. Card sleeve disks are removed and stored in poly sleeves from USA to protect from scratching. I used to use plain white kitchen towel and cut to suit the outer sleeve but still surround the disc.
Yes it’s obsessive but so rewarding to see my babies neatly stored and some have commented that they are an art form.
CD singles and boxes are stored in Really Useful boxes until I save up for more storage display units. If you move house you can get boxes with higher lids for LPs and 7” FYI.
Then we get on to the cataloging. I used to use a large school book(s) but it was tiresome manually entering each one, so now I use a reputable web site originally set by hip hop DJs I believe and now hijacked by all collectors. At first it was a ball ache but once up to date each new addition is graded and entered in minutes. One must get the correct bar code / catalogue number. It’s great informing the team that there’s an orange vinyl release of IQs latest LP that you have from Germany and it’s not yet on there or all 6 different colour versions of Steve Hackett’s latest LP.
I’m starting to even bore myself.
So there you have it.
Remember to keep heat and importantly humidity to a constant, no direct sunlight as well. No pets and certainly no children anywhere near. Also nobody but you to even set eyes on the collection for more than a minute.
I know when someone removes a record to look at then replaces it instinctively. Each one holds special memory for me as well.
Happy collecting, cataloging and storing and stay safe.
Carl Jacobs

SimonP

I’ve never counted my CDs in case I ever let the number slip to the missus. If neither of us knows how many I have then surely she can’t moan about them?

Simon

What is the red The Cure boxset in the middle of the last shelf?

Ross Baker

The only way I manage mine is by keeping it as small as possible without getting rid of anything I actually care about. I only have multiple copies of an album if they are separate special editions (the 10th and 20th anniversary editions of Everything Must Go, with differing tracklists and DVDs, for example). When a special edition comes out, I get rid of the standard edition because, fundamentally, I’m never actually going to listen to it again so it can go.
I’m gradually replacing my jewel case albums with digipaks, digifiles and vinyl replica sleeves where possible – even the odd millimetres spared by a digipak add up over the course of a shelf. For artists who aren’t absolute favourites, I’m happy to own ‘Original Album Series’ type boxes which can cover five CDs in the space of one.

Other than a couple of all-time favourite bands, and a couple of singles with special memories (my first ever purchase, for example), I’ve got rid of all my singles. Ripped them to my computer, came up with some new artwork and burned them to CD as b-sides collections. Much more satisfying listening experiences, take up one CD’s space instead of six or seven.

Albums where I only like one or two tracks have gone. Some favourite songs are on my computer, the others are always available on YouTube or such on the odd occasion I want to listen to the song. Truth is, I have more CDs than I can listen to regularly, so losing these songs is no great loss in the grand scheme of things.

It’s a work in progress, but I currently own maybe 1,100 CDs worth of material, stored in the space of about 650 jewel cases without having to resort to plastic sleeves (could never do that: I frequently listen to music by browsing my shelves and seeing what leaps out at me and takes my fancy). I’ve gotten rid of over 2,000 CDs in the past ten years and maybe only bought back about 50: life’s too short to spend time and space on music I don’t absolutely love.

Simon Topping

I’ve been buying mainly vinyl the last couple of years, which takes up even more space to store! So I’ve taken the decision to downsize my CD collection and get rid of a lot of the multiple copies I’ve accumulated as a result of my habit of buying every available version of each release (you know – standard CD, deluxe edition, UK promo, US promo, promo CDR, any other available promo…). The question is what to do with them? I’m not really into selling on ebay (only buying!) but I’d like them to go to a good home, and many are quite collectable (to the right collector, of course). Any idea how I can recycle these to someone who’ll appreciate them (once we’re able to leave home)? I have big collections by many artists including Blur, Charlatans, Costello, Franz Ferdinand, Jesus & Mary Chain, Elton, Manics, Pulp, Patti Smith, Suede…

-SG-

Well… it sounds like we have some similar taste but geography is everything when it comes to finding things, depending on what you are getting rid of, if I don’t already have it, I might be interested in some of what you’ve got. I live in the USA but would be happy to pay for shipping.

Eibon

I share the same challenges and I solved by using Billy bookshelves, floor-to ceiling. The reason they worked for me at avoiding that “CD Warehouse” look is that I was able to fill the top half with books and knick knacks using the shelves at varying heights to break up the lines and just devote the lower shelves to CDs. I was able to pretty much halve the amount of number of visible CD spines because the Billy bookshelves are deep enough to hold all my doubles and CD-Singles in the back of the shelf. So, I was able to reserve the “secret” back of shelf for various editions I don’t need to hand and all the CD-Singles that are rarely played. The digibooks and box sets blend in pretty well with the books too so overall it just looks like a busy bookshelf and not a record store display. I keep the CD player in the room to take full advantage of the benefits of having all my CDs to hand in alphabetical order. Records are in another room.

Kris From Perth.

Wow!! and so it goes on …
A couple of days ago I found myself reading all those many posts from like minded collectors who have storage space problems … and (in many cases) wives who they are terrified of having them ‘catch’ the sneaking of the latest music acquisition into the already overflowing cd/lp/cassette (and it also appears in a lot of cases dvd) collections.
Roll on 2 days later and there is still a plethero of “collectors” happily confessing in print their universal angst of storage space and vigilant wives, just as I happily confessed in print back on April 12th. But what fabulous, fun, fantastic writing it is/has been courtesy of the worlds (many) angst ridden collectors.
I have so much loved reading all the posts; they are so close to my (and dare I say all of our ) hearts.
Reminds me “fellow collectors” of those famous words uttered everytime a UFO sighting is reported “We are not alone!!!”. Happy collecting everybody (and sorting). And keep writing!

RODOLFO MARTIN

Guys, you are a lot of fun and we are in this all together. All these entries are the best things that I read lately.
I am so lucky that my wife has not complained much about my record collection (her book are all over the house while my records are concentrated in one place). It takes a whole wall in my living room, from floor to ceiling and I am able to find every single CD in seconds. I estimate 7,000 CDs plus vinyls, plus DVDs and Blu-rays (even laserdiscs), many of them moved with me from Argentina to the USA in 2001. I honestly think that the shelves with CDs provide a lot of color to my living room and I like it. I am almost 60 years old and I know I have to start thinking of what I will do with them soon. My kids won’t care much about them. They may keep something jut to have a part of me the day I am not here.
In a separate piece of furniture, I have my music book collection. Does anybody know what the best way to sell a record collection is? I know I will not get even 10% of what I paid over the years but they were never purchased as an investment.

The part that makes me very proud is my collection of album cover design books, of which I have over 200, many of those books are totally discontinued and almost impossible to find. I know that there are many album cover lovers around.

There are several books about record collecting where you can see pictures of many awesome collections and very creative ways to store (all in houses with the room to do it).
Keep on posting, I will keep on reading.

Paul, can you tell what was your career/job before SDE? I am a humble architect, by the way.

J

The Storage Problem
Not enough room so the cassettes & 8 tracks are under daughter #1 bed, the 45s – laserdiscs, box sets under daughter #2 bed, hand-built shelving in living area #1 to hold 1/2 the LPs & a hand-built shelf in the master bedroom closet to hold 3,000 CDs. The problem is that daughters become teens & want their space back & master bedroom shelf collapses & now clothing sits amidst to 2 feet of CDs scattered throughout. The wife & teens are not amused, to say the least.

The Storage Solution
We have extra land on the side of the house so we will build a new room. It serves as office space, stores all music, instruments, other collections & has a stage so in-home performances can be recorded.

My Choices
Go vertical. I saw the comment by Paul about the room looking like a CD warehouse and I mightly agree. I got 4 eight-foot-high shelfs and 2 four foot shelves & put a print in between them & it looks really good.
Under the mounted TV, we built a sturdy shelf to hold the box sets although it is obscured by 4 very largeg JBL studio L monitors & but is very functional and now it is almost full but I will burn that bridge when I get there.
Cassette & else storage is also vertical with tall shelving that is staggered to allow framed LPS to sit in between
Best of Luck to those who share the same challenges
J

Robert

After I have read all of the post in this topic, I realize that my problem isn’t as big as most of you. I have about 1000 – 1500 CD’s (box-sets, albums and CD singles) in my collection. The only problem that I have is that my “music room” is rather small and I don’t have the space for a wall full of music. About half of my collection is on display in my music room, the other half in boxes in my bedroom and in the loft.

Due to the COVID19 virus, I have the time to reorganize my collection. The core part of my collection is on display in my music room. And with core part I mean box sets and favorite albums. I am sorting my CD’s in boxes out and I put them in alphabetical order. The only thing I have to sort out are my various artists CD’s and CD singles. But I will do this week.

At the end of this post I have a question for you Paul. On your top shelf on the left, is that a Disc Union Pink Floyd box ? I guess that this box contains all of your Japanese Mini LP sleeves. Where did you buy this box ? I also would like to know where you got the two Paul McCartney boxes.

Big Nige

Another solution to having an entire collection available at your fingertips, that’s every format, is to consider a Cocktail Audio “streamer”…. tho it’s more to play all your collection rather than to stream, easily ripped to whatever format you please, stored on it’s enormous hard drive (8Tb anyone?). Either one which has an internal high quality amp, or one that uses your choice of amp.

My 2 units contain all my collected media, CDs, mini discs, vinyl, Hi-Res…. cassettes (????)…. all then available in alpha order by whatever way you choose. Or play your ENTIRE collection at random. It’s not a toy!

The top end model is about 5 grand. I personally like the more affordable X35 at £1700 which includes it’s own amp, well 2 actually, one for each channel. Or the entry level machine at about £700.

You can still play your vinyl deck thru it, some models have their own pre amp (or rip LPs)… or whatever peripheral you choose. So if you want to select that rare alternative take on disc 4 of a 12 disc box set…. you can in seconds.

And one of my favourite features (being partially sighted), you can display the corresponding album art on a big telly. It’s like being in a record store. I had the first model, only available at one Hifi store in the UK at the time. The X10.

Check out the Novafidelity site for more info. And throw that Brennan in the bin

gwynogue

Oh my goodness…I can relate to your post so much Paul.

I’ve been a music lover for as long as I can remember – I was getting records and tapes for Chistmases/birthdays when my others my age were still getting toys. I’m nearly (level) 42 and have been collecting CDs for nearly 30 years.

Even though I live in a 3-bedroom house (4 if you include the small office-type room) I sleep on a mattress on the living-room floor, because my ‘official’ room, the ‘spare’ room and the ‘office’ are filled with boxes of CDs and DVDs and books. (the other room is my dad’s).

I have multiple copies of some CDs because – like you mentioned – it’s easier to buy a cheap second copy than spend hours or days looking for the copy I already have. I’ll sometimes buy boxes of bulk lots on eBay, just because there’s one obscure must-have CD in a pile of ones I already have or don’t want. And if it was originally in a fatbox, I want a fatbox copy – not a ‘reduced-to-a-jewel-case-copy’.

If I like an artist or group, I have to have EVERYTHING they’ve released.

It’s impossible to keep them in alphabetical order anymore.

I have loads that I’ve never listened to, some I may NEVER get to listen to.

So as much as I prefer having the ‘physical’ item, it just isn’t practical anymore. I’d fully embrace digital downloads if they were reasonably priced, flac and had hi-res digital booklets/artwork/videos. But they’re expensive (especially here in Australia), usually mp3 and usually just have a thumbnail of the cover.

If I just wanted the music, I could simply rip them then re-ell them. But I want the artwork as well (even though text is too small for my crap eyesight, LOL). I have a scanner, but that can squash and crease the booklet. I will eventually ‘rip’ my collection, but I’ll still have to find a way to physically store it. Plus I can never afford the computer/external drives for ripping and digital storing because – you guessed it! – all my money goes on *more* CDs, LOL.

Sometimes I look at my CDs and think, “I’d have so much more space if I’d just taken up drugs instead”. LOL.

I’d love to get some of those storage cabinets and binders that Gregg P and Jon M linked in their comments.

I watch those ‘Hoarders’-type shows and can see definitely myself in a lot of the people. I can just imagine Olivia Coleman narrating my life…

David Bly

to qwynogue…

You said “I watch those ‘Hoarders’-type shows and can see definitely myself in a lot of the people. I can just imagine Olivia Coleman narrating my life…”

I can’t help but say that in lieu of Olivia Coleman narrating my life, I’d prefer her coming by and helping me straighten up my collection, and I wouldn’t care if she had to be wearing a mask and a complete hazmat suit! Of course she might have to stay for longer than the virus continues to rage against us, but I would not complain!

Florentino Stabile

Hi Paul,
Hope all of you are doing well in the UK and at SDE. Same situation in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Yes, storage and the passion of collecting. I know it well how a passion can be a love and not so much love all at the same time. My passion has taken a lot of space and good part of my budget but that is a discussion for another. I have had to sell my vinyls for lack of space and as for CD’s yes, I have some on display and a lot in book shelves and closed glass covered cupboards plus the other issue that your partner does not totally support this passion. I am struggling with this as you but the price we pay for collecting I suppose.

R. Michael Cox

Wow! This one strikes a chord. I have maybe 3000 cds? 5 or 6 years ago I got the bright idea to put the cds in paper sleeves and keep them downstairs and the rest went into attic (cases and booklets)-stupid idea. I’ve reunited them and I’m now working on a music room. I’m trying to get someone to build me some nice shelving but getting someone to do that in North Carolina is not easy. I will go the IKEA route if I have to but we prefer to do it nice and right if I can.

Gareth Jones

When I moved in with my girlfriend (now my wife), she was aghast at the sheer number of CDs I still owned. She was quite happy with Spotify! So in an attempt to downsize, I did rip a good couple of hundred CDs to my hard drive which only contained 1-2 songs I really liked. This didn’t really reduce the numbers significantly though!

I also did this with many compilation albums I bought. I used to buy soundtrack albums just because it contained one exclusive new track by an artist I liked. Now I just have that one track ripped to my hard drive and have disposed of the whole soundtrack album.

Another downsizing method I tried was looking through every CD I owned and thinking to myself “When was the last time you played this album?” and “Do you think you’ll ever play it again?”. This elimination process then saw we take several 90’s albums to the charity shops including Dodgy and Catatonia.

But this criteria does not always work. If you really like a particular artist, you still want to own the complete set! For example, I love Blur, and I have no intention of ever getting rid of their albums, CD singles and box set. But I NEVER play their debut album ‘Leisure’. I just don’t like it. But I own it twice, once in its original form and also in their box set. Yet I can’t part with it, because it would make their album collection look incomplete on the shelf!

Likewise ‘Regeneration’ by The Divine Comedy. I’ve not played it since it was released in 2001 and I only liked ‘Bad Ambassador’, but it would be wrong to remove it and take it the charity shop, because I have all the other DC albums on the shelf which I love!

So it really is a mind field and I wish the best of luck to anyone with a nagging wife who is trying to whittle down their collection successfully!

johneffay

This has been an amazing thread. Thanks to everyone!

If there is one thing I have taken away from all this: I need to stop laughing at my daughter about her favourite furniture, & get down to Ikea to check out these Billy bookcases.

madman

I have nowhere near as many CD’s as you Paul, but my wife has been asking me to do something about winnowing down the collection. I’ve been going through them (not the box sets) and if it doesn’t have something “special” such as detailed liner notes, I put it to the side. As I’m able to make time, I digitize them and toss the whole package. I mean, the music is the whole point of buying these things, so as long as I have that I figure I’m good. If there are extras in the jewel case, then it stays for now.

I still have cassettes, but my car is old enough to have a tape deck, so that’s why I have most of them. I plan to digitize the favorites and again, toss the rest. Digitizing cassettes takes a lot more work and time, as I’m sure everyone knows, so they’re on the back burner for now.

I’m sure others have stated this as well, but I don’t have the time to scroll through all 150 or so posts to verify, lol.

Shane

Hey David Bly

I also kept those US stickers on top intact by opening the cases at the bottom and taking the front off the hinges: you are not alone!

David Bly

Shane…

I would say that great minds clearly think alike!

SimonP

I alphabeticised my CDs the other weekend and ended up with a large pile on the floor even though they were all on a shelf before I started! I have some overflow shelves over the other side of the room that have got loaded up with non music things like computer bits, camera lenses and the like, so I guess I’m gonna have to find a home for those now…

SimonP

Forgot to add that my media room (spare bedroom) was much fuller once, but I dumped all my cassettes, compact and VHS, a few years ago. I seem to recall it took two trips to the council tip to rid myself of them all and there were several blokes looking at me aghast as I tipped boxes and boxes of blank and pre-recorded tapes into the skip.

I often have clear outs to keep the room manageable, but now it’s all digital media it goes to charity shops. I once tried the second hand music shop route, but the price paid was so insulting I decided I may as well give them away!

David Bly

So, Paul, after responding to several posts here, it’s time for the big ‘reveal’…

I basically started collecting records when I saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan when I was 8. I know I am not unique in that, and it also inspired many people to become musicians. While I did take piano lessons and have had various instruments over the years, I am the quintessential jack of all trades, master of none.
And while I did play in a “joke” band, by no means should you look up “Embarrassing Pinworms”, and most certainly NOT look at the guy in the back playing keyboards with sunglasses and a cap designed after the ones The Wailers wore in the gatefold of “Burnin'”. You have been WARNED!
But I digress…

Over the years I have accumulated approximately 15,000-20,000 CDs and likely an equal number of LPs. At one point there were many more of the latter, but when LPs went away temporarily, the CDs gained in number, especially with the help of cheap used ones. When the LPs came back, they started getting more numerous, whilst stilling getting more CDs, often copies of both with come new releases. The disparity in the numbers is cause I’m not wholly sure at this point, as things have gone overboard in recent years.

As for singles, I would think that 7500 is likely accurate, and cassettes at maybe 5000, with about 100 8-tracks (some of them quad!), and a few 100 or so music DVDs and maybe 25 VHS tapes. Oh, anb about 5 Hip-Pocket discs, among other oddities.

Fortunately, over the years, and as a result of several record stores going out of business, and/or getting rid of record racks when CDs initially won the format wars, I have many LPs and singles in actual record store racks. In additions, I took a couple of 8-track racks, turned them on their sides and they became cassette racks. Also I have some regular cabinets made for books than contain CDs and/or DVDs.
An interesting anomaly is that I have an apothecary chest from Scotland that my mother bought and I mention this as part of it is exactly the same as one of the chests seen on the cover of Sandy Denny’s “The North Star Grassman and The Ravens” (of which I have an original UK LP). It now contains paperback books.
But I digress again…

I must say I am dismayed by your (and others’) non-use of the jewel cases on CDs. To me they are an integral part of the items, especially when you have unique designs as in coloured cases and trays (like the famous orange tray for R.E.M.’s “Monster”, and of course the white ones for “The Beatles” album), a few lenticular ones (think the plastic part of the Stones’ “…Satanic Majesties…” for those not knowing that word), and even some opaque cases with all the album info as stickers on the front and back.

In the same was that many can recognise particular pressings of LPs and CDs, I also am quite familiar with the various kind of CD cases made from all over the world. Of course it is made easier by the fact that there are almost always numbers in various spaces of the cases and trays.
I actually have some boxes of CDs with broken cases awaiting the correct replacement cases – more a problem with UK and European ones, and more so with Australian and Japanese ones.
Often I will buy used CDs at various places because I know it will have the correct case for something I need.
Fortunately, as CDs have started to fall out of favour in recent years, and with consolidation of record labels, there are many less variations in the cases on CDs made by the major. An one point you could find US cases that only appeared on Sony, WEA, PolyGram, MCA, and RCA cases (and distributed labels).

Also, and this may blow some people’s minds, I also keep the “top spines” that used to appear on US CDs – basically stickers with the album info and a (second) barcode on it that fold over to the front and back of the cases (similar stickers also used to appear on DVDs & Blu-rays). These were meant to be for anti-theft.
I learned very early on how to keep them completely intact by carefully loosening the hinges on the bottom and then carefully reattaching them when done (this does not work with DVDs or Blu-rays).
Yeah, I know this is a bit extreme, but I do have one collector friend who does the same.
I must say I’m glad they don’t do this anymore.

And semi-related are the “long boxes” which were an American idea so that record stores could use their LP sized bins to display 2 rows of long-boxed CDs in the same space. Many of these had unique art (but mostly related to the album art), although there were some with generic label designs. Many had flaps on the top and bottom, but as time went on, labels started gluing both the tops a bottoms, meaning that you had to slip one of the other just to get the discs out (ever notice that the US gets VERY concerned about shoplifting?). They also made sort of long cardboard sleeves for the few 3″ CD singles that were made, like all the Beatles ones.

A few nice things that I have from those are all The Beatles’ “Anthology” CD sets, and which they also made unique short long-boxes for the cassettes versions.

Of course there are many various other weird and unique kinds 0f packaging on items I have, but I’d have to put on some sort of brain cap to remember all of them.

Finally, as I have easily outnumbered my cabinets, I have many items in the cardboard boxes they were shipped in to stores and to homes. So I have boxes that originally contained 25 copies of a CD, that now hold 25 copies of different CDs.

I even have an autographed one. I went to see Canadian singer-songwriter (and excellent guitarist) Bruce Cockburn, and he was sitting at a table afterwards selling and signing his CDs, and I noticed that one of the boxes that formerly held 25 was empty. I asked him if I could have it as the information label was on the end of it (title, artists, catalogue number, etc.) . I asked him if he would sign in, and he did. So now all my Bruce Cockburn CDs, mostly also autographed, are in that CD manufacturers box signed by him. The only exception is a box set which won’t fit.

Okay, I guess that’s about it…………………… for now!

P.S.: I recognise many items on your shelves that I have also.
Why do those Paul Young sets looks so familiar???

David Bly

Thanks, Paul!

I normally don’t mention a lot of this cause I don’t want people to think I’m bragging about what I have.
Of course, quite a few of my friends are also collectors, so they understand totally.
I was just in the right time at the right place, and also being a studious type and being picked on by some as a result of that, music has always been my escape for any number of issues.

After writing these comments, I realised I missed mentioning two things…

Firstly, in regards to all of you with disapproving spouses, that was never really a big thing, as my (now ex-) wife was also a big music fan and had plenty of LPs, singles, and CDs (at least by ‘regulat’ people’s metrics). She had some things I didn’t, and I had way many things she didn’t, so there was never an issue of competing collections.
We met at a Billy Bragg show in NYC in 1985. I was on the guest list +1, and she was supposed to be, but someone had forgotten, so as I was alone she became my +1.
We saw each other the next week, also in The Smiths were playing, with Billy Bragg opening. She lived in Philadelphia at the time and regularly took the train to shows in NYC and DC, among other places.
I regularly drove to show in those places, and also places like Cleveland, Boston, Toronto, and other Northeastern US towns and nearby Canadian cities.

Eventually, we found out that we had 35 Elvis Costello shows in common! That is there were 35 shows we had both been at before we knew each. There were I had been to that she hadn’t, and vice versa as she had actually seen some shows in the UK (she had a friend who worked for an airline and she would be able to go places for free!).
Since then my Elvis total is 58, hers several shows lower. While we’re divorced we still get along and often she and her boyfriend sit near me at shows. I have friends in the local promoters office and almost always get front row seats to the theatres, and also am able to ‘sneak in’ to a local club so I can be at the front of the stage, usually just after sound checks, but occasionally before or during if a band is really late. That’s awful fun!

Related to this is that I am always very respectful of the musicians and don’t try to talk with them before a show, although some are happy too, plus I know people in various bands that have played before and they remember me. One of the more amusing things is that a couple of the guys in The New Pornographers know me as the guy with the Zumpano cassette (Zumpano was a band from Vancouver that Carl Newman of the NP was once in, and which he autographed for me).

The other thing I did not mention was the alphabetising/numerical scheme and lacks thereof.
I already mentioned that many things are in boxes – boxes that CDs were shipped in, boxes that LPs were shipped in and also 7″ singles in Taco Bell boxes. Yes – the have these special $5 boxes for some of the meals that box is exactly the right size for about 15-20 singles. When I get my food, I take it out of the boxes to make sure they are a clean as possible, and then clean them when home.
A little while back I happened to have one with my when I saw The Fleshtones, and ended up giving it to the bass player as he thought it was a great idea that they could use for transporting their singles merch.

But being a record trainspotter, all the initial LPs and singles, and later cassettes and CDs that were put on shelves and in cabinet were put in order by… get ready…

label and number. So my LPs started with A & M and ended with Zapple. Similar things were true of the other formats, although with no Zapple singles, my last ones were on the Zappa label.
As the trainspotter in me used to remember many catalogue numbers and even side numbers (how about all those YEX and upside-down XZAL prefixes!), it was very easy for me to find most things.

Over time, with just so many acquisitions, it became much harder to remember, and more so in recent years many catalogue numbers are just the barcode number or with one less digit.
It’s way easier to remember that the stereo LP of Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” is Columbia CS 9189, but to remember that the 18-CD, 7-single version of “The Cutting Edge” which includes every drop of CS 9189, and waaaaaaaay more, is Columbia/Legacy 8887512440218!? Too many numbers!

And then all the annoying numbers that Universal uses in the US now? They have no relation to the barcode number whatsoever, like they do in the UK and Europe, and they all start with the letter “B”.
A good example is one of the editions of The Who’s “Who”. Both the UK/Europe and the US have the same barcode – 60257740367. The former has the catalogue number 774036 (note that number is within the barcode). But the US catalogue number – B0031280-02 !? No logic whatsover.
This is where my trainspotting abilities have gone way off the rails.

So in finishing up (finally, I hear you all saying) many of my items get put in boxes next to similar things, of things I just got around the same time, and only occasionally by label.
The indie label Yep Roc has a “Completist” deal where you pay a certain amount and get every one of their releases in a calendar year in either CD or LP format (I did CD). Only special things and vinyl singles are not included. So I have these nice little bespoke YepRoc boxes, which have their CDs in them, but not in numerical order. Too much work at this point.

Oh Well (parts 1 & 2)…

Darren

Hey Paul. Do you have any suggestions for a good source of PVC sleeves that fit the whole back sleeve?

Carl Jacobs

Hi all again
Covers 33 for vinyl inner sleeves (various) and 200 / 400g poly outers (various). I use 400g. Don’t use pvc.
Bags Unlimited for cd / dvd / video disc / Blu Ray discs. They can take some days to arrive and don’t take PayPal and you have to contact them for postal charges; a bit last century.
For oversized digipaks and cd dvd BluRay box sets etc I use comic poly sleeves purchased via my local comic shop in Nottingham – Page 45 and laboriously cut to size.
I also use poly sleeves for inserts of box sets eg Pink Floyd releases Neil Young Archives.
Hope this helps everyone
Carl

Joachim Gunnarsson

I’m keeping the jewel cases and that’s why half of my flat is filled by IKEA Billy bookcases lol.
I guess 99 %, at least, of those jewel cases have no sentimental value, so to speak, but I do agree about the R.E.M. and White Album examples. I even bought a new copy of the XTC CD “Nonsuch” where the jewel case is part of the artwork, when I accidentally smashed the first copy. However I’m not replacing jewel cases with small scratches anymore lol. But I think it’s a pity that stickers I’d like to keep are placed on the plastic wrapping so you have to try to remove them from the wrapping and put them on the jewel case if possible. It’s very rarely I do this but I appreciate Rock Candy’s reissues where the stickers are under the the wrapping.

Carl Jacobs

Hi all
Re stickers or hype stickers.
It is very annoying that record companies wrap the items in stickered cellophane or shrink wrap, on many levels. Since time immemorial I fastidiously remove the wrap then carefully cut the sticker out of the wrap and store in the centre spread of the accompanying CD booklet or in the card wallet if in a card sleeve.
Same goes for LPs that are removed from their shrink wrap.
The item is catalogued as “hype sticker(s) retained”. If sealed then the item is catalogued as “hype sticker(s) intact”.
For the US versions with the title on the seal I really carefully slit the outer wrap leaving the top title slip intact. Neil Young Greendale 2 a case in point.
Japanese CDs with miniature LP style card sleeves and obi are stored in the resealable wrap but as previously in poly so as to prevent from shelf wear. Older ones with jewel cases that have been opened have the obi stored in the centre pages of the booklet.
Carl

matthew garner

I put everything on an external hard drive then hooked my PC up to my stereo,now when I want to hear any music just open up the folder.They are all in alphabetical order and split into official and bootlegs.

Paul Mogford

Hello Paul, love the site. Particularly feel the joy and pain of trying to control the collection, whilst keeping domestic happiness. I do love those Macca bootleg boxes. Where did you get those made, as I can see several options for duplicating this idea Across collectable bands to tidy up the collection.
Regards Paul
Stay Safe

Todd

Paul,
I have so many feelings on this. I moved into my house five years ago, and I’m still unpacking music.
Like you, I’m not complaining – but way to many times I’ve re-purchased an album that was stored in a box somewhere that I forgot about…. :)
On the other hand – My radio work has a huge library that to – went to a poly-sleeve alternative (in plastic aka “dollar store” shoeboxes) storage system that somehow used the same spaces as our vinyl – it’s been fun to see all that sync up again. Somebody please tell me there is a scanner program that can read the codes quickly for data base needs?!!! (discogs is ok, but otherwise?)

Ernest

My ambitious plan that I haven’t yet abandoned is to catalog all CDs by year of original release, rank the top 40-50 or so, shelve them, and store or sell the rest. Box sets, greatest hits albums, etc. (a not insignificant part of my collection) are just arranged alphabetically and shelved separately.

To avoid the monotony of proceeding in a straight chronology, I randomly jump from year to year: 1967, then 1985, 2010, 1973, etc. The only issue with this method (aside from, you know, taking forever) is to move around entire blocks of years as new ones are added. I have of course found it difficult to get rid of the “51st” greatest album for even a so-so music year. We’ll see how this goes. I’ve only made it through four years so far, but this is sort of the perfect activity for the collector during lockdown.

Eric Nielsen

I currently have in the neighborhood of approximately 12,000 CD’s, including ones in 30 CD box sets like King Crimson, Wishbone Ash, Pink Floyd, ELP, etc. (12,000 is my best guesstimate). I am currently re-organizing (and re-doing/finishing the Man Cave), and it is taking me a long time-like years. I have a 2000 CD “open” rack in the back right portion of the man cave and then 4 612 CD “closed” media cabinets surrounding the Man Cave-that 2,000 “open” rack plus the 4 612’s is what I call A-Z “classic rock”-Alice Cooper and Allman Brothers to Zappa and ZZ Top , Joan Jett nestled against Jethro Tull, the Kinks nestled against King Crimson etc. and I have LOTS of media furniture, including a huge entertainment center with an enormous amount of storage completely full at this point-most of the discs in the entertainment center are high end (Mo Fi, SACD, Audio Fidelity, Surround Sound SACD’s and DVD A’s, etc. Japanese SHM, Blu Spec, etc.) I have a huge center “coffee table that has a ton of storage-that is completely full of box sets and more high end discs. I have a bar with an enormous amount of storage. Given I don’t drink a lot-I keep alcohol and drink glasses in the back storage room (basement is split into two rooms-75% “Man Cave: and 25% “back room” storage, workbench, tools, and “stored stuff” as well as the hot water heater, inside HVAC cedar closet on a CIA desk (former owner left it) repurposed as a “working bar”, so all of the shelving underneath the bar in the Man Cave is filled with box sets. I have box sets neatly on display on top of all said Man Cave Media cabinets open and closed and some box sets “on display” leaning on my Bose Subwoofer. In the cedar closet in the back storage room is where 30 guitars are stored, I have 1080 CD rack filled with surf and instrumental music, including “best of’s” of older Jazz artists- (I like jazz and want some classics around but the focus of my collection is more rock based.) Another 1080 in the back is for “greatest hits” of artists that I don’t really collect a complete catalogue of their work-their hits are enough. and compilations (like Time Life Guitar Rock entire series, 60’s series, 70’s series, etc. etc….quite a few Time Life and various labels that put out great compilations)…..and then another 612 Media cabinet that houses some shred, more “obscure” artists-Hawkwind ,Tangerine Dream and split -offs, and solo careers of folks from bands that I like (e.g. drummers like Bruford, Ginger Baker, Bozzio ,bassists like Jack Bruce, Stu Hamm, Stanley Clarke, etc. guitarists like Martin Barre, Robert Fripp, Steve Howe, Hackett, Steve Morse, etc. I think that wraps up the basement….main floor is more or less a CD free zone by decree of the Queen Bee, although we have a Bose wave radio/6 CD changer in the living room and another little (tiny but loud) Sony stereo in the den/fireplace room, so if I’m working/spending on that level (chores etc. or reading by the fire or watching the TV mounted above the fireplace) some cd’s get brought there to listen to but those are immediately returned to the basement when done so they don’t “disappear” or get out of order in the basement. Either of those smaller stereos will pretty much carry the whole first floor, especially the Bose wave… Everything in the Man Cave section downstairs is (and this is a work in progress) arranged alphabetically by artist and then chronologically by original release date (“original LP release date if applicable)-most artists I go for either a complete collection of their work, or, if they had 7 or 8 albums by “the classic lineup” and then more or less split up and resurrected by one of the broke original members and devolved into a tribute band after that with one or no original members but they keep cranking out mediocre albums and tours…I don’t so much go for later work if that’s the case. On the top floor, in the “spare bedroom” (not the guest room, which is also decreed CD neutral), I have two 612’s cabinets (same model as the ones in the man cave and a 1200 taller version (same brand) surrounding the room along with a bed, a dresser etc. Fortunately it’s a sizable room so I can actually get around up there. The 1200 rack is dedicated to VERY complete collections of my 10 favorite guitarists and their various bands, one of the 612’s is dedicated to “DC artists and virtuoso Tele Twangers from around the world (most of these are NOT household names) and blues guys” (Ronnie Earl, Robert Cray and one 612 is is currently in the box and empty. There is also a large rattan wicker (lined in cedar) toy chest in the bottom of the closet (after my son grew up he left it behind and it was still in pristine condition) that is full of box sets.. And in my office, for when I telecommute I have two 612’s (same model as all the others) set up and empty. I have (and this is my issue) 5 Rubbermaid LARGE bins filled to the gills with CD’s that I have to go through and eliminate duplicates and crap I bought and didn’t end up liking. I hope to be able to do that this summer since, given the COVID-19 current outlook, I don’t think a vacation is likely to be in the cards….. I think that about covers it…for now. I keep listening to Deep Tracks and Classic Vinyl on Sirius XM and end up hearing bands I “missed” back in the day and then I get addicted to their music, and go “wow, how did I miss these guys?”-I’m big on “variety” in everything-food, music, sex, whatever). Whew!!! And yes, in case anyone is wondering I do have diagnosed OCD….but it’s not “hoarding looking”-most of the stuff is out of sight and organized, and the Man Cave is really cool with Phillips color Hue lights in track lighting and canister lighting completely surrounding the room, controllable by voice with an Alexa on an end table, or phone, or remote control. The front of the man cave is the listening/home theatre “pit”-in the entertainment centr a large 65 inch curved 4K HDTV and two entirely separate “systems” hooked up to the TV (two receivers-one 5.1 and stereo (I call this the “audio system) and 1 just 7.1…the audio side has a tape deck, turntable, six CD changer, CD recorder and an Oppo “universal” 4K UHD blu ray player that will play SACD’s, DVD-A’s etc. etc.. The “video” side (7.1) has the next up model “universal” Oppo blu ray player as the other side , as well as the cable box, a Sirius XM tabletop radio, and a Pioneer “universal” DVD player (but universal so plays SACD’s HQCD’s etc. the old 5.1 HDS surround sound discs that I think were the first surround sound discs) player with the region code chip removed so it will play DVD’s from any country/region in the. Might eventually have the Code chip removed form the Oppo so it will play all regions’ blu rays, but most things coming out new on blu ray these days are already region-free…well, at least if we’re all home-bound forever I’ve got enough to listen to “forever”, or I can hang out there in the Man Cave waiting for the A bombs to fall….

StanC

My grandfather always used to tell me “Stanley, we are not hoarders, we’re packrats. Hoarders are filthy and disorganized. We have shelves and aisles.” :)

Derek Cornish

I have a couple of thousand cds in 1 room. What I tend to do is to upload all of them to my ITunes. That’s step 1. Then occasionally I will go through my collection and see what some of these are worth on Amazon. Then I make the difficult decision of whether to list them or not. If a CD is worth $50.00 or more, I will usually list it….as the collection grows, the more I list

Pablo Mundell

Hello Paul, and everyone!! First, I hope you are all well within this difficult situation in which we are. I am Pablo and I live in Uruguay (S.America). I have been following Paul’s site for years without rest and without laziness…. And precisely this topic I really liked that it was addressed. The theme of space is quite an important theme. I thought the idea of putting the CD and all the content in clear wallets was very good. My CD collection, (Im 45, collecting cassettes from 9 years old), is approximately +3,500, several box sets and few vinyl. I’m proud to have every item that I got, from our country not only the dollar, the pound, euro and the yen are expensive currencies, so the love of music makes us have an extra value, sacrifice buy and send it to the country, directly or thru a PO box in the USA.
Well, I don’t want to bore you too much… I have the following question, for people who are already storing their cds in clear wallets. Above all, the great benefit is space, but is it a safe, clean system, do CDs get scratched?

Thank you very much and keep safe!!

Brad B.

Yet another great article about a familiar dilemna Paul! My current somewhat short-tem solution is ordering a couple of plastic shelving units then cutting cardboard into strips so I can stack all the same-size items like CD’s in jewel boxes on the bottom of a shelf then the odd-shaped items on top of the cardboard for the top portion of that shelf. Not glamorous but pretty functional. In recent years I haven’t liked the increasing lack of artwork & packaging on many CD’s (especially ones in a paper sleeve only) but right now it’s kind of handy! And something I’ve reminded people of recently with the entire world being dependent on cable and wi-fi connectivity, a CD plays stable from start to finish; no drop-outs, level fluctuations or waiting to load for streaming!

PdB

Personally I have a wall of CD’s…. and a 5×4 cubed room divider full of vinyl – and that is just perfect. My teenage dreams of displaying music never changed with age (currently 47). Which is why my apartment looks like a teenager lives in it. Good times : )

David Hannah

My records and CDs have spread out across my house. Like you, i’ve been sorting mine out but that’s only because i was strugging for space (and still am)

Throwing out the cases tho…sacrilege Some people will pay for original 80s CDs with patent pending and smooth edge cases

Fogarrach

Paul, you mention that your collection is logged on discogs.
Does that work as a database? Does it cost money? If so and if not, how does one go about doing it?

Matt

Hi
Its free, super simple ( download the app for the barcode scanner for even more ease)
Full data base of your own collection and will give you a low medium and high price for each release

Peter Muscutt

Here’s one for you – the stickers that come on the cellophane/shrink wrap (usually proclaiming it’s a 30th . What do readers do with them? Throw them away? Peel off and stick on the actual LP/CD/box set cover? Keep it on the shrink wrap but tuck inside the box/CD/LP?? It’s bloody minefield. For my sins I usually peel off really carefully and stick back on the cover….

Erik Nielsen

If they act like they will come off well and neatly, I peel them from the cellophane wrap stick them on the jewel case. If they act like they won’t I trim them from the cellophane and stick them inside the booklet, which is the same thing I do with concert tickets where a band or an artist is touring “behind” a specific album…..if it’s a digi-pak or any kind of cardboard sleeve, I trim and put them in the booklet as well. same with big box sets. The outer box is usually cardboard so I put them in the box inside of the books which are invariably in the huge box sets…

David Bly

Regarding the stickers and similar thingys, I always keep them and there are several ways I save them.

First of all I never stick them on the actual album/CD covers or the CD booklets as you are essentially ruining the covers. Mind you if those items come that way – actually on the covers or the front of jewel cases and not on the shrink warp, then of course they stay there as that is the way they were released.
I have noted that the stickers actually ON the covers and jewel cases tend to always be on non-US and Canadian items – the latter countries almost always being on the shrink wrap.

With LPs and singles I just carefully cut around the label and just insert it, still with shrink wrap underneath and just slip it inside the album or single cover.

With CDs there are different ways. With those that come in jewel cases, if the sticker is one that can easily be peeled off the shrink wrap, then I stick in on the tray. If the shrink wrap will not come off then I carefully cut around the label as above and either let it ‘sit’ on the tray or put in underneath on trays that are clear. The latter method is also done on Digipaks*. With CDs that have covers completely made of cardboard, I just slip the labels inside, either under the CD, or inside the booklet, if there is one.

For cassettes (yes) the labels are just placed between the jewel case and the cover, or inserted inside if the cover is completely cardboard (remember cassingles?).

For box sets of any kind, I will usually place the label underneath all of the various items in the box, or in similar places where it is likely to not fall out.

Similar rules apply to the DVDs and the few Blu-rays I have.

*By the way, I absolutely abhor Digipaks because if the plastic tray breaks you can’t replace it as they are glued to the cardboard. Especially annoying if you purchased something and it was already broken when you got it. I always returned these as defective.

This is particularly bad with items that get heavy use. Before I retired last fall I worked in a public library and I processed all the CDs, and guided by my knowledge of the horrendousness of Digipaks, made the decision to repackage them all for public usage. So I used a scanner to scan as much as the packaging as possible, and resized the covers for usage in jewel cases. I would then use my colour printer to print the new covers on card stock and put them in jewel cases.
And yes, I know that the trays could be broken, but they could be replaced for jewel cases, but not for the evil Digipaks.
Also I would scan and print new covers for all the CDs that came in only cardboard covers, as those would get worn out and fall apart if left to their own cheapness. And while I did not process DVDs and Blu-rays, I would often remake covers for those that similarly came in only cardboard covers.

Lastly, I will just mention that for regular CDs in jewel cases, the booklets are 718 x 718 pixels (or 1436 x 718 unfolded, or other factors of 718 pixels depending on the number of panels), and the back ‘covers’ under the tray (including spines) are 888 x 696 pixels.
A fun fact for all to enjoy!

Mathmandan

I always keep these “hype stickers.” I cut the cellophane around them and tuck them in the booklet/sleeve for posterity.

Christophe

Hi Peter like you when i succeed to peel them off without damage (not always unfortunately ) i put them on an inside of the box/booklet/gatefold . On the front cover it generally stick and torn.
Christophe from Nice France

Mike R

Paul – I can finally show my wife that I am not the only person to labor over organization of a massive CD collection. I am also at about 5,000 CDs and have most of them displayed but find that I just don’t really want to do that anymore as I’m 55 and heading close to retirement. I’ve moved this collection twice and don’t really want to do it again. I’ve tested the ditch the jewel case idea but didn’t like it at the time though that seems most feasible. I have spent the last year slowly re-ripping my collection to lossless files and backing them up multiple times. I am thinking of going with a core collection as you say and then trying to ‘sell off’ the rest but then the problem is I paid $15 for a CD that’s worth 50 cents now and I hate to give it away. So I’m at a work in progress phase too. Keep us posted on your decisions.

Derek

Having bought a streamer and taken delivery just before we went into lockdown in UK, I started ripping my CDs into lossless into my NAS. Without lockdown this would have taken me ages but am now 1600+ with 500-600 still to go. Once I realised how much space I can free up just keeping vinyl (about 1200), DVD, Blu Ray and box sets in the music room and boxing up the rest in the attic it seemed a great idea. I don’t yet know how things will be with digitised CD collection rather than discs but so far so good. Can’t bring myself to offload or sell anything as I sold a few records back in my teens and always regretted it and have since re bought most if not all that went back then. Collectors curse I think and nice to confirm we all struggle with it. Hope we all stay safe and can look forward to enjoying more music for many years.

Michael E.

No Place for “Seeds of Love” Paul :)

John McCann'

Yes and where is the best of the boomtown rats?

John McCann

Good man,

G B Hewitt

Hello all. Having a substantial collection of many thousand CDs and more vinyl to add to it I loved the CD reorganizing post. Only weeks ago I was considering selling off all my new vinyl but thought it would be better to reassess the situation in light of the lockdown sh*t. As such I began to look through my assets (non underpant related) and started the Coronavinyl Revival posts that you are welcome to sample on onstupidity.com I even mentioned this very fine site as it is tip top in every fashion, thank you Paul. When all this is done there will still be the music, and even better the music you can look at as well as listen to.

Joachim Gunnarsson

I still buy CD’s as if I was immortal or ifthere’s a price in heaven for how many and which CD’s I own when I go. But of course there are people with many more CD’s out there and with better taste than me lol. Some facts about my collection:
– About 6 000-7000 CD’s plus perhaps 200 music DVD’s/bluray’s sorted alphabetically in a dozen bookcases with extra shelves.
– In recent years I have only sold CD’s that I have more than version of, though I still have several versions of many albums. So I keep all guilty pleasures, “guilty unpleasures” (Matthew Wilder etc.) and albums I can’t stand made by favorite artists (like Todd Rundgren’s “No World Order”).
– I have thought about getting rid of all jewel cases but I’m to lazy… It won’t be cheap either.
– While groups and artists are sorted alphabetically each discography is sorted chronologically but I have some problems where to put “archive live albums” (released a long time after they were recorded), special reissues, tribute albums and so on. The present rule is to mix studio, live and compilation albums, then comes the archive stuff and then tribute albums. But I’m not always consistent following my rules.
– I also have spent too many hours thinking about where to place bands like A Camp (first on A, now on C), J. Geils Band, R.E.M., U2, .38 Special etc. etc.
– Like many others I got rid of my LP’s in the late 80’s which I have regretted immensely. I have bought some LP’s in recent years, predominantly albums I owned in the 70’s and 80’s but I haven’t really got time to put my heart in it. Maybe later…

Jules(Rules)

“To give you an example, my Duran Duran CD collection is about 10-inches long (fnarr)”

Why not 12 inches ;-)

Honestly, I’m having space issues too… but I would not get rid of my jewel boxes. For once, I’m still fascinated by how different they can be from each other. Also, because I lack space and furniture, I have to stack CDs as “towers”. Jewel cases are PERFECT for that – box sets too, but digipaks and book sets much less so.

Kris From Perth.

So I am not the only one on this earth that has the problem of an overflowing cd collection, and how to ‘hide’ new cd arrivals from your wife.
What I decided to do at the start of this year (and it was a ‘gutsy’ decision I might add) to help allieviate “cd overcrowding” was to every day take one cd out of my collection (i.e. get rid of it by throwing/giving away … the majority are thrown away as no one of my friends are into cd’s anymore). That equates to 366 cd’s GONE! Trust me to pick a damn leap year!!
It is like a ‘cleansing of the soul’ as each day you look at your 2000 plus cd’s and select todays’ sacrifice. And some days it is harder than others in selecting the days unwanted cd; and your fingers can wander over your cd collection for an inordinate amount of time before you hone in on your selection and sometimes gleefully and sometimes sadly remove it from your collection. But it is worth it, because you do come to realize that there are a hell of alot of cd’s that you bought that you have maybe played once (before it went into your collection) or a couple times at best over a 30/35 year timeline.
So far every day I can gladly report I have been successful in this years great cd purge. In fact as I type this I am 2 days in credit (till April 14)as some times you select 1 cd and that ‘opens’ the door to select others. It is not easy I have to admit, however, be brave and stick with it. I put it on a par with giving up a 40 year smoking habit 4 years ago i.e. just as hard, but just as satisfying.

Carl

When i first got married 27 yrs ago i got rid of 150 CD`s for £1 each , they were chosen as the ones i could live without.As years have gone on i have re bought about half of them and a couple of those were super deluxe sets.
With you 100% on the hiding purchases from the wife though , if she cops me too often it means a new handbag.

Rogerio

Now I’m really curious to know how you handle/store/display your vinyl collection!

andrea

Hi Paul,
i read you use Ikea Kallax for vinyl storage. But may I ask how you store cds in particular the one you posted with the Bowie boxes? Is that Ikea? i like that a lot with those thick shelves