All the Graphics
Space-Efficient CD Storage|
By Thiravudh Khoman
Many years ago, when the CD-ROM phenomena was just getting started, I subscribed to a magazine called "CD-ROM" which bundled a free CD full of goodies with every issue. Around that time, I also attended a few computer shows where demo CD's were being given away free at the drop of a hat. I was beginning to accumulate CD's very quickly and while my leftover 5.25" CD boxes were still able accommodate the CD's I was collecting, I realized that I would eventually need a better way to store my CD's. And hey, Panthip Plaza hadn't even started selling software on CD's yet.
While run-of-the-mill plastic CD cases are perfectly functional when you need to use/store a CD, they really are a waste of space given the thickness of a CD relative to its case. Fortunately, audio CD's had been out for a while already and a number of alternative storage systems were available.
I finally decided on Case Logic's (https://www.caselogic.com) "ProSleeves" system. These are thin plastic sleeves with front and back pouches (figure 1). In the earlier versions, the front pouch was for the CD (it had a special cloth backing to protect the CD's "read" surface), while the back pouch was for the CD booklet. In the newer versions, both the front and back pouches have the protective backing and can store any combination of two CD's or booklets.
At the time I bought my ProSleeves, they weren't available in Thailand yet. But they are now and can be found at better audio stores as well as computer superstores such as iMart and even department stores such as Zen. A set of 15 double-sided ProSleeves which can hold 30 CD's lists for $4.99 in the U.S. but costs about Baht 440 in Thailand.
My biggest problem in switching to the ProSleeves was resolving their cost versus the fact that I was throwing away perfectly good and already free CD cases. But I finally bit the bullet and decided that space-efficiency was more important and offloaded all of my CD cases to a friend (who still keeps them for me for ad hoc uses - there's something to be said for "offline" storage!).
Exactly how much space is saved? A standard plastic CD case is about 1 cm in height. 5 cases would thus be 5 cm high. In this space, I could store an average of 20 ProSleeves filled with CD's. If none of these had booklets, I could get more than 20; if all of them had booklets, perhaps a bit less. Still, 4 to 1 isn't bad.
Needless to say, the ProSleeves can be used to store CD-ROM's, audio CD's, video CD's and DVD's - anything with that form factor. You can stick a 3.5" diskette in the pouches as well (e.g. Linux CD's often come with a boot diskette).
After migrating my CD's to the ProSleeves, I started looking for an outer container to house these. Older 5.25" diskette boxes can hold the ProSleeves fine. Case Logic also offers storage boxes and cloth/leather carrying cases specially designed for the ProSleeves (their range of products is considerable). However, as I found myself too lazy to zip open an organizer case or flip open a diskette box, I opted for something else. Zen Department Store's "Back to the Origin" department and Central Chidlom's "Zeen Zone" sell some nice wooden mini-crates with rope handles (I cut these off) for about Baht 100 each. The ProSleeves fit into these crates perfectly and since they're "topless", the CD's are easy to access (figure 2). Incidentally, these weren't designed to hold CD's, so don't ask the salespeople; just look for something 8.5cm x 15.5cm x 2.0cm.
As with the proverbial square peg in a round hole, certain things don't fit well into the ProSleeves, such as double CD sets with booklets (practically all VCD's) as well as multiple CD sets (e.g. Mozart's Greatest Hits). In the case of VCD's, I just throw the booklet away and store the VCD's in a double-sided ProSleeve. When I want information on a movie, I look it up at Internet Movie Database (https://www.us.imdb.com/search). As for mega-multi-CD sets, I just leave well enough alone. Fortunately, I have very few of those.