CD Sleeves

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Living with Music
CD-sleeves save space

As a collector it doesn’t take all that long to reach the point at which your marriage is in danger and your social life falls apart, and all of that just because you are running out of space or, to say it differently, because your spouse has to retreat to the kitchen or your guests are caught out in the hallway. In short, your place is full of music, top to bottom, left to right … and inbetween.

The first solution seems to be the easiest for people not in the know. Invariably they’ll tell you that you don’t need 5000 or however many CDs you have, simply because in their minds, you can’t really have listened to all of them and will never be able to. Of course, we know better and being real collectors, we have serious problems parting with anything we have, even the crummy jazz reissue from some defunct budget label, the old scratched up one-hit-wonder recording we played all too often and now can’t stand anymore, the original CD release of some 80s band that has since been reissued three times (of course we have all three issues, just to compare), or the 60s hits collection which we actually have covered by three other 60s hits collections. So, another solution is needed.

You can move to a larger apartment or build a larger house. Again, in most cases this is not an option because we’ve spent far too much money on CDs, LPs, DVDs and whatnot. In fact, we haven’t been on any serious holidays for ages and the weekly evenings out have also not been happening that often anymore, have they? Nope, not a solution either.

The last resort could be removing a part of your collection from sight and immediate access, to the basement, the garage or any other small room as yet unused in your house or apartment. From personal experience I know that this solution is one often chosen by collectors. “Jazz” is in the living room, plus the rare collectors’ boxed sets and the sensitive digipack releases. “Pop” and “Rock” are in the hallway and “Reggae” is in the bedroom, in IKEA boxes, beneath the bed. I kid you not – I’ve seen it. So, the rest of your life you find yourself running around your place agitatedly, trying to find that Bob Marley compilation because you simply can’t remember if you shelved it under “Pop” or stored it away beneath your bed. Hardly a life-saving situation.

That leaves only one way to go, shrinking your collection in physical size/dimensions.

Because you hang around shopping malls a lot, hunting around for more things to add to your collection, you’ve noticed all those binders on sale right and left. Not so long ago, Jared Christensen went that route. He writes:

I remembered a friend who had displayed her CD cases out on a shelf but stored the actual CDs and sleeves in binders. Binders!, I thought. Of course! A few bucks later, I had binders in which to transfer my CDs. Whereas my friend had been using each binder pocket to store both a CD and its sleeve/booklet, I chose to reserve the top pockets for sleeves and slip the associated CD in the bottom pocket below the sleeve. The reason for this was two-fold. Some CD booklets are rather thick, and this prevented sliding a CD behind them. Additionally, many of my CDs have great artwork screen printed on them, and I didn’t want that hidden.

This method naturally cuts the binder’s storage capacity in half, but I think it’s well worth the tradeoff in presentational value and consistency. In addition, I left an empty page every 5 pages for future expansion. […]

Jared was left with the jewelcases which he then stored in IKEA’s KASSETT storage boxes. From his post on this, A More Compact Disc Collection, he seems to be quite happy with that solution. I tried this route too, but wasn’t all too happy with it because I simply have too many of the darn CDs and whenever I bought a 10-disc collection, I had to redo the binders. In the end, I found myself spending too much time reorganizing things.

So, what then?
Sleeves!

I’m sure that if you have been in contact with these, they probably went through your mind at the outset of this post. Well, it took me longer to get to that point and although I still don’t have a single one of these, I’m seriously considering going down that path.

Wading through countless forum threads related to the various CD sleeves available, I have managed to narrow everything down to two reliable brands, Jazz Loft’s CD Sleeves and “The Jewelsleeve“, both of which seem to be favoured by serious collectors with lots of CDs.

Jazz Loft has been offering their CD sleeves for years now and because they are certainly affordable (a package of 100 CD Sleeves is available for $13.99), I might be shooting for these. They are 4mm thick sleeves which “… hold both the front cover and back graphics to create an LP-like gatefold. They take up 75% less space than the jewel box. The spine even shows, much like an LP.” Jazz Loft even offers detailed instructions on how to get all the stuff you removed from the jewelcase into one of their CD sleeves and for those who hate reading, a short video is available via their site, showing how it’s done. If you are the (overly) careful collector, you can also order paper inner sleeves for added protection available for $8 per 50 pieces.

“The Jewelsleeve” looks and works differently, but the system is basically the same: One sleeve is about one quarter the size and weight of a regular jewelcase, you can store every part of a CD (including tray card, booklet and CD) in it , it’s of course unbreakable and, unlike Jazz Loft’s sleeves above, “The Jewelcase” has indexes on both sides which can also be replaced by home-printed indexing labels; for that purpose, the sleeves come with sheets of perforated, laser-ready labels. “The Jewelsleeve” clocks in at around 40 cents a piece, but considering the indexing possibility, it’s still within range. Special offers are available regularly.

It basically comes down to how you want to store and access the sleeves. I favour Jazz Loft’s solution at the moment, simply because I can stick them into my long shelves and still pretty much see what’s in each sleeve from the side, but I also know that my father, who is looking for a sleeve solution as well, would favour “The Jewelsleeve”, simply because he can stick them into a long closed box and flip through the index labels easily from the top.

Whatever you choose, you can basically only win with this system. You gain lots (!) of extra space for even more CDs and who knows, maybe you can avoid one or t’other family crisis if you take the “sleeve” leap.

Tell ’em I sent you.

[Note: The only decent photo of CD sleevs I could find was over on “Image Shack. The one on the right was taken from muzorewi‘s images. The backdrop is a screenshot of the JazzLoft video on youtube.]

The Author

Volkher Hofmann has been blogging on and off since 1992. He loves music, drumming, horror fiction and lots of other things. He also works. When he returned to deus62.com, he buried most of his former other Internet activities and trimmed quite a bit of the fat. Hence the gaps in the timeline around here.

15 Comments

  1. check with Vint, he stores his stuffe like this. You may want to put your discs in paper bags for cleaner handling. I am thinking of going (rather make that forced to go) this route as well. Please let me know what you come up with and how it works out.

  2. Hi J., nice to see you around these parts!

    I’m going to be maxing out my shelf system first. I’m still somewhat reluctant because of all the digipacks, boxes, etc. I’m German, and I like the neatness of many meters of jewelcases. But the day will come, sooner than I’d like …

    I’ve been in touch with the usual suspects and will order some samples from the two sites mentioned above upon their suggestion. Have to give both the haptic and aesthetic test first. ;)

  3. Check out the CD storage at Light Impressions.

    It’s built for archival storage of CDs but I also use them for DVDs in combination with an Access database.

    [Note by Volkher Hofmann: Servlet links do not work well when posted on other sites, but the “empty” page you land on via the above link also shows an image of the system, “CD Box Filing System”, on the right. Click on that and you land on the correct page. Thanks for the link, CJ!]

  4. Thank you for mentioning my CD sleeves on your blog.  Any of your readers who mention this site will get $1.00 off per package of 100 sleeves until April 15th.

  5. Thank you, Alan! It’s a great product you have there. I have not yet taken the plunge, but if I do, I will go for the sleeves you offer. They fulfill my requirements best.

  6. Vip Shah says

    we produce plastic PP / PVC / CD / DVD / 8cm / Credir card / LP / 7” sleeves

    if you are intrested to receive samples / quotations, please worward us your inquiry

  7. Michael McNamara says

    I love the sleeves from JazzLoft. I ordered a huge crate of em to tame my obsessive and overwhelming CD collection and it really worked. I went from overflowing to a wealth of extra storage space (and a basement full of crates of empty jewelcases).  Thanks for this tip!

  8. Michael,

    great to hear it worked for you. If you don’t mind and if you have the time, I’d love to see a photo somewhere of how you got it all to work and what it looks like. You can send me one (bigwhig[squiggly thingy]livingwithmusic.com) or point me towards a Flickr link or any other online site where you might be keeping a photo.

    Presently, I’m still with my shelf systems, but it won’t take more than a year or two until every nook and cranny of my 160sqm are filled up … and then I have to go the sleeve way. No way I can avoid doing that … unless I build a new house just for my music.

    Cheers!

    Volkher

  9. Carlos Albert Lacaye says

    Hi, there!

    DiscSox CD Storage Sleeves from mmdesign.com are another option. They are similar but still a bit different as compared to those from JewelSleeve. (:

    Carlos Albert

  10. Lee Webb says

    Hi Volkher,

    I have just stumbled across your site and I have to say, I like it a lot!

    Was just going to add info about the DiscSox sleeves but I see someone already did that.

    My problem is, I can’t get them in the UK :(

  11. Lee Webb says

    What I don’t like about the jazzloft sleeves is that they fold out, gatefold style. This, to me, judging by the video, makes the whole package a bit, well, floppy. The sleeve even looks to tall for the inner sleeve notes to fit snugly.

    The non gatefold sleeves by Jewelsleeve and DiscSox look better to me. Shame I can’t get them in the UK like I said before.

  12. Welcome, Lee.

    I never went the sleeve route anyway. I just added more shelves to my system, so I can’t really weigh pros and cons of the various systems. It is a pity though that some are not available in your country.

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