As much as any of us who have amassed substantial numbers of CDs might dislike them, there was a
method in developing the Jewel Case. It remains the best way to shelve a CD vertically with a
plainly visible and readable spine for quick recognition and access. Some of the laminated paper
with glued plastic "greener" CD packaging accomplishes the same goal, in roughly the same form
factor. CDs in sleeves are hard to deal with if access and content-recognition is the goal. My
experience has been that, when handled carefully, jewel cases protect CDs for the long term. In all
fairness, warnings about careful handling were placed in the earliest CD booklets, so people who
mishandled them were warned that they may become unplayable. Carefully handled CDs in paper or
plastic sleeves also hold up just fine, in my experience. But the jewel cases offer some extra
A single CD in a jewel case takes up about 6.875 cubic inches of space (5.75 x 5 x .25 inches). An
LP album in a standard (non-gatefold) sleeve takes up about 18 cubic inches (12 x 12 x .125 inches).
Considering a Red Book CD can hold 74 minutes of content -- anywhere from 1.5 to 2 times the content
of an LP record, there's substantial space requirement reduction for the CD collector.
But we still run out of space! And don't I know it as my shelves overflow and my downstairs fills to
the ceiling with music media.
The most space-efficient solutions I've seen for most rooms are the massive metal drawer-cabinet
systems sold (for hundreds or thousands of dollars) from library-supply place. I could not figure
out any better way to fit 5000 CDs in the same area as one of those cabinets, but I couldn't afford
it so I build less efficient plywood shelves. The shelves offer better up-front immediate visibility
of the spines, but the drawers cram more CDs per inch of wall space.
One other comment about commercial packaging. I had to cry uncle about the super-wasteful standard
DVD case. I put all my DVD's into archival looseleaf 4-per-page sleeves and put those into sturdy
3-ring binders. Yes, it cuts the shelf space requirement by almost 90%. But, I find I rarely open
the binders to watch movies and don't know or care what's in them. I probably didn't pay close
attention to DVDs before that, and I've stopped buying almost any of them since (turns out, once
through from Netflix is plenty for me with almost all movies). The DVD makers must know I'm not so
unique with this, and produce inefficient but visually stimulating packaging to grab our attention
in hopes we'll watch a movie more than once in a lifetime.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Smith, Allison" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 12:20 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Maximizing CD Storage Space
> You might try these - they mention also having cd storage kits and boxes they fit into.
> Allison A. Smith
> Archivist, Wisconsin Public Radio
> 821 University Avenue, Suite 7151
> Madison, WI 53706-1497
> P (608) 263-8806
> F (608) 263-9763
> [log in to unmask]
> It's not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on - Marilyn Monroe
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
> Of Martin Fisher
> Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 11:11 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Maximizing CD Storage Space
> Hi Guys,
> We currently have something on the order of 15,000 CDs are faced with space problems like the
> majority on this list. The issue is maximizing shelf space while keeping the physical objects
> easily accessible. We file CDs by label and catalogue number.
> Right now we have ours in the standard issue jewel cases, one deep on shelves vertically with the
> spine turned out like normal LP storage. This lends itself to easy incorporation of new product,
> with some shifting, but requires lots of shelf space.
> I've heard some have a preference for standing vertical in boxes placed on shelves with box ends
> labeled and facing outward which allows more product on the shelves. The big drawbacks are the
> lack of easy browsing and incorporation of new product without considerable attention to shifting.
> Your thoughts on these practices and other suggestions are welcome.
> The second issue would have to do with the physical packaging of the CD and related artwork. At
> this point, I'd like to get some thoughts on doing away with ONLY the standard, generic,
> nondescript single and multiple CD jewel cases while retaining and storing ALL related artwork in
> a nonmutilated state. Anything else including Box Sets and nonstandard packaging such as
> cardboard jacketed and digipack type housing would be kept in its original form with the addition
> of an inventory sticker.
> Standard jewel cases are fragile, bulky and take up loads of space. There are several available
> alternatives available including the Jewel Sleeve and Disc Sox.
> Jewel Sleeves are currently made exclusively from polyvinylchloride or PVC......
> PVC BAD!!
> Disc Sox are currently being manufactured using polypropylene......
> Polypropylene good??
> Again, any thoughts on these two products or alternatives would be welcome.
> Best! :-)
> Martin Fisher
> Center for Popular Music