How I Conquered Space

Anyone with a large compact disc collection will understand the difficult choice I faced: get rid of several hundred CDs (at least), build a wing on the house to accommodate the collection or find a way to make the existing shelves hold more. The point of desperation was approaching, fast. Then a friend casually mentioned that he had found the solution to his own CD space problem. The answer was vinyl sleeves sold by a company called Jazz Loft. I told him that my concern was not being able to keep the booklets and tray cards with the discs. That is why transferring all of the music to an iPod was not a consideration. Look at the demonstration on the Jazz Loft web site, he said. I watched the demo video and ordered 100 of the sleeves to test the system. The test satisfied me. I ordered a thousand. I’ll no doubt order a thousand more.

As Alex Ross of The New Yorker points out in his testimonial on the site, one CD now takes
sleeve1.jpgup about a tenth of the shelf space it did in a conventional jewel box. The small downside is that in the sleeves the spines of the tray cards are not as easy to read as they were in the jewel boxes. Filing alphabetically, I have no trouble finding the CD I’m looking for. Random browsing is slightly more difficult that it was, but that is a small price to pay for the gain of space.

I have no connection with Jazz Loft other than as a consumer; no endorsement deal, no price cut. I’m sure that there are other companies in the vinyl sleeve game, but this is the one with which I’m happy. If passing along the information helps other Rifftiders who suffer from the effects of CD proliferation, I’m even happier.

My wife asks what I’ll do when all the shelf space is taken by the sleeves. I’ll face that problem when it comes. By then, Steve Jobs will probably have perfected a brain implant connected to all of the music in the world. There’s a scary thought.

Transferring the discs from hard plastic boxes to soft vinyl sleeves takes time. I use it to catch up on my listening.

Does anybody want to buy a thousand empty jewel boxes?

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  1. Ken Dryden says

    An additional downside of switching to the poly sleeves is the amount of money it would take to buy them for those of us with collections in the 15,000+ range. I think I’ll stick with buying more of the Leslie Dane 1500 CD shelf units, which also give me room to store boxed sets and DVD on the top shelf (not included in the official capacity given). They are easy to assemble and can be placed back to back. There are several suppliers that offer them (use a search engine of your choice) and the lowest price I’ve seen recently has been $225 including shipping via UPS.
    Besides, when I do the occasional massive shift to get everything in alphabetical order, I think CDs in poly sleeves will be even more slick to stack then jewel boxes.

  2. says

    Welcome to the club, Doug!
    RE: selling the jewel cases, I couldn’t find buyers for mine (really new ones go for peanuts), so I put them up in Freecycle, an internet list where people exchange stuff with no money involved, with the sole purpose of not throwing things away.
    The plastic sleeves have a downside (pun): they slide (a lot) when stacked horizontally.

  3. John Johansen says

    The folks at Cadence magazine have been selling these sleeves for what seems like forever. Oddly enough, they sell crew socks as well. Support a great jazz institution and buy some of each!

  4. Don Frese says

    On the CD sleeves from Jazz Loft, one small complaint: they tend to slip and slide around very easily, making them hard to stand up on the shelves, even with book ends, but it was either the sleeves at a cost of about 240 bucks, or new custom cabinets at several thousand, so it was an easy decision, and one that had to be made. I have three lawn and leaf bags of jewel cases to go out with Friday’s glass and plastic recycling and I am only up to June Christy! It’s a long way to Attilla Zoller!
    (I find that leaving a few jewel cases, particularly the two-and-three-CD sets, provides a bit of stability.– DR)