Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise

 I have a lot of CDs, probably more than ten thousand of them. To some, this may sound like a windfall, but it gets to be a bit of a problem after a while. When I moved from Brooklyn to the big city a few years ago and faced a drastic reduction of space, I decided to consign large numbers of the little silver wonders to a storage facility. I made draconian decisions about who was staying in the major leagues and who was going to be sent down. Elgar, for example, was condemned to storage en masse. Lately, I've been cocking an ear to Elgar again, and he's returned from exile. The question, of course, is where the collected Elgar will go when Eisler and Enesco have that shelf locked down.

A couple of years ago, I found the solution. It has almost literally saved my life, and I'd like to spread the word to any other suffering souls. It is a plastic CD sleeve put out by SPACESAVINGSLEEVES.COM. I'm sure other companies put out similar products, but my loyalty is to SPACESAVINGSLEEVES.COM, with whom I just placed another order. What you do is this: you crack open a jewel case, take out the CD, booklet, and paper liner, and transfer them to the plastic sleeve. The genius thing is that you can fold the liner in such a way that you can still read the "binding," though it's at an angle. It takes up about one-tenth the space of a jewel case. I've been able to squirrel away a thousand or more new CDs without needing an inch of extra space. The transfer process is tiresome, but you can make a festive occasion of it, as Pack can attest. I am not, by the way, in any way affiliated with the Space Saving Sleeves company. 


 How I Conquered Space

June 14, 2008 by

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 SPACE SAVING SLEEVES. 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
up 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 Space Saving Sleeves 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? 

Performer Magazine

April 23, 2013 by Benjamin Ricci

SPACESAVINGSLEEVES.COM is offering their newly re-designed Space-Saving CD sleeves this year, a slight tweak on their long-running product line. For a lot of musicians and collectors, the hassle of storing hundreds (sometimes thousands) of jewel cases of your favorite CDs and/or different mixes of recording projects can be a nightmare. Jewel cases are thick, they’re heavy when you’re dealing with that type of volume, and let’s face it: they almost always crack and break. A pain for fans and studio engineers alike. 

 These sleeves present an ingenious alternative to all that clutter and broken plastic. Simply remove your album artwork and back tray insert and pop the disc off its hub. Now toss that jewel case in the trash, because you’ll never need it again. Place the artwork into one of your new sleeves, slide the disc into the other side, and voilà! The Space-Saving sleeves, made of 4mm thick archival polyethylene, can easily reduce the shelf-space of your collection or recording projects by about 65-75%. Your CDs now lay almost perfectly flat when the sleeves are closed, and you can still (sort of) read the spines from the side. 

 Converting a large collection can take some time (I speak from experience; my entire personal collection of 1,200 CDs is now housed in Space-Saving sleeves – see ‘after’ photo above), but if you don’t care about the original jewel case, and you need to reclaim the massive space your music and mixes are taking up, these might just be the solution you’ve been searching for. With a per-unit cost of about 15 cents, it’s a relatively inexpensive solution, as well. And from an aesthetic standpoint, they open and look much like a gatefold record, which a lot of users may actually find far more pleasing than the bulky, busted jewel cases of yore. 


January 28, 2006 by Volkher Hofmann

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?


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, SPACESAVINGSLEEVES.COM CD Sleeves and “The Jewelsleeve“, both of which seem to be favoured by serious collectors with lots of CDs.

Space Saving Sleeves has been offering their CD sleeves for years now and because they are certainly affordable (a package of 100 CD Sleeves is available for $14.99 + Shipping), 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.” Space Saving Sleeves 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 Space Saving Sleeves’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 Space Saving Sleeves’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.