Since the dawn of time, the awkward shut-in record collector has dreamed of a better way of filing their slabs of black wax. A single misplaced vinyl record set me down this path of endless cataloging and sorting. All this in hopes that one day I’d figure out a system that works. While I have not yet succeeded at this goal, I may have something that works this time.
The current common storage solution for many collectors is from a certain Swedish furniture retailer. I started moving my collection over to using those types of shelves sometime last year. I have now moved almost everything over and out of milk crates and plywood & cinderblock shelves. Now that my storage seems finally permanent, it’s nearing time for me to start the next start of the project: organization.
There are several schools of thought on sorting & organizing your records. The most intuitive and easy to follow is strict alphabetical by artist. There’s also sorting by genre, decade, mood…it’s endless. Your records need to be sorted for you and you alone. Choose something that works with your style of organization, or lack thereof.
It’s taken me sometime to realize, but I need a good deal of chaos and wiggle room for a sorting method to work for me. My rapid unstructured collection growth makes separate sections for each style or genre impractical. Strict alphabetical is out too. I can’t shift over a dozen crates because I have too many Bossa Nova records or too many records by artists that start with the letter R. The creation of sample-based music does not lend itself well to strict sorting methods either.
With my collection now in normal sized cubes, it hit me to assign each one an ID in grid style system. Rows are letters A through D (B for 2x high ones). Columns start at 00 and currently are running through 27. This way I can isolate something in my collection down to a more easy to dig through location without having to sacrifice organic chaos.
Check it out: I currently have one whole cube completely finished — D09. At this phase in my DB career, I want to make sure everything is completely documented with full images, companies, run out etchings, credits… I am also adding exhaustive notes and regrading everything. Custom fields like additional notes fields, custom grades and more fields can be added in settings, linked here. The system is rather flexible for different people’s styles and needs.
There are many more benefits beyond being able to determine collection value. The collection is one of the key features of discogs that doesn’t get much recognition. A well documented collection can save you thousands of dollars in accidental duplicate purchases and missed condition upgrade opportunities. It can also give you a chance to better connect with other collectors and make new friends and contacts. If you haven’t done so yet, go on and create your account and start plugging in your collection today!