We interrupt our normally scheduled obscure record post to bring you this special record nerd bulletin.
I really don’t want to focus too much on physical storage of music because everyone has their own way of doing things and systems that work for them and whatever. I’m mostly posting this because I wish I had come across a post like this when I was trying to figure out how best to store my growing collection years ago. Sure, there are tons of threads on Vinyl Collective and pinterest showing people’s record collections, but one can only see so many shoe boxes and Expedits before clicking “close tab” out of boredom.
That said, please indulge me for a post while I vainly attempt to show the world The Best 7 Inch Record And CD Storage Solution Ever.
As I’ve said previously, I was never super impressed with the cardboard storage bins that places like Bags Unlimited sold. I got lucky and scored some strange-sized plastic milk crate-type bins early on in my record buying life that fit one row of LP’s or two rows of 7″s, with room to spare for flipping through.
That said, I never liked the fact that they took up so much floor space. As the collection grew/grows, continuing to add another milk crate just wasn’t an option.
I found a record nerd message board with an older user who had a collection of over 30,000 LP’s, and somewhere in the range of 5,000 45’s and other 7″ records. He happened upon a legal size (legal paper is 8″x14″) filing cabinet, and realized that each drawer will hold two rows of 7″ records perfectly.
I was on the lookout (heh) for several months before I found mine. It was at a thrift store, and seems to be built out of Soviet-era tank scrap metal or something. It’s heavy as can be empty, solid as granite, built to last and all the hardware and rollers are in excellent shape. I’m guessing it was in an office for a few decades before they went out of business or digitized or just downsized or something. It’s perfect. On top of all that, it was $10.
Each drawer holds a little over three hundred records.
With 5 drawers, this bohemoth will easily hold 1500 seven inch records:
At the back of each drawer is a little slider to adjust the capacity of the drawer. As the drawer fills up, you slide this back and the drawer can hold more. This allows for always keeping the records vertical or mostly vertical, regardless of how many records are in the drawer. As is the case with mine, it also allows some “bonus” storage back behind the slider for oddball things that don’t go or fit with the normal 7″s. I’ve got things like 8″ records and some oversized boxed sets back there.
A lot of newer filing cabinets have a safety feature that locks all drawers closed except for the open drawer. This keeps it from tipping over should you open two of the top full drawers by accident. This cabinet has no such feature. I was concerned at first that it could tip, especially with curious kids in the house. I loaded it up and checked it. To my surprise and relief, I can open three drawers full of vinyl all the way before it even gets close to tipping over. Luckily, the drawers do have a thumb latch button thing that makes it difficult/impossible for little hands to open the drawers. So far…
In my previous post about storage, I also mentioned my plan for using DVD bins for CD storage. This had the same issues I faced with storing 7″s in milk crates. Namely, as the collection grew over time, I’d have to keep adding bins and stacking them or having them take over all the floor space. Stacked bins aren’t ideal, obviously, as grabbing an album from a bottom bin means unstacking and restacking bins all the time. No good.
As it happens, storing CD’s the way I want to store them (out of jewel boxes, tray card, liner notes, and disc all tucked into a poly sleeve a la most 7″ records) requires similar dimensions as 7″ records. So, I used the bottom two drawers of the filing cabinet to hold about 900 CD’s. I’ve yet to invest in the poly bags, but I’m super happy with being able to browse CD’s like they’re 7″s, flipping from one to the next, looking at the artwork. Keeping them out of 4 year old prying eyes and hands, mostly out of the dust and high traffic is also a plus. They stay alphebetized, no more shifting CD’s in wallets when I get new/old ones, liner notes, discs, and tray cards all live together.
I also made some bin cards out of scrap paper and cardstock to help browse alphabetically a little faster. You can see these in action in both the 7″ and the CD drawers. I’ll go over those in a future post.