Best way to organize 6000 albums?

I currently have about 2000 albums arranged alphabetically. I purchased a collection that was randomly numbered ( each new album owner purchased received the next available number ) and came with a DBASE file as an index. I have a few thousand in boxes gathering dust. I am wondering if anyone has ingeneous ideas as to how to have access to all albums and make them easy to browse through. The least amount of space used the better. I guess I prefer parallel to the wall as it is easier to flip through them and see the covers ( for guests ). I'm thinking of a vertical rack shaped like the ride the zipper with rows of album storage trays, it can be rolled vertically through placing each row at the appropriate level ?? any ideas welcome...any diy out there in this vain.
I have at least that many albums, and all are stored with spines facing out, like books. In fact, they are all stored in a large book case that I designed and had built into my wall.

The cost of a bookcase is low compared to hi fi furniture, and provides floor to ceiling space for mixing LP's, CD's and books.

As for organizing music, I do not believe in a computer database system. Unless you are inclined to access it all the time it is pretty useless. I would especially hate referring to it to find a title for a guest who had come to listen.

I arrange all my music first by type, ( Jazz, Rock, Blues, Classical, Pop. ) Then by label or pressing type: ECM label, Fantasy label, 4AD label, Verve label, Electra label, Concord label, etc. Artists that are on more than one label such as Dave Brubeck, would be in Fantasy (earliest pressing) then to the right, the CBS labels. In every case, the earliest work is on the left and latest on the right. Just like the pages in a book.

This may sound confusing at first, but if you think about the style of music that a given label produces, and then think about the artists that label represents, it is easier to remember than by alphabet. For instance, with a Jazz album by "Ella and Louis, " do you put it in with the "A" for Armstrong, or the "F" for Fitzgerald (both are equally important artists). Instead, just look at the Jazz shelf, where the Verve labels are stored, and pick it out.

As for the importance of computer for inventory, listing all of these albums is terribly time consuming. Instead, use a camera and photograph a small group of album splines up close. Go down the shelf and cover them all, overlapping if necessary.

This will allow you to see the albums artist, title and number, and the images may then be stored in a safe deposit box. This is inexpensive, fast and better proof for insurance claims than just a list on paper or hard drive.

It is almost a joke around here on music night, where a visitor names a specific song, and I locate the group, the album, and the specific cut, in a single move over to the bookcase. I cannot do it that fast every time, but certainly faster than looking it up on a computer and then looking in the stacks.

Good luck and good listening to all that great vinyl!
When I was single I used to have dancing girls that took care of this drudgery for me. However my current plan of attack is to line a coat closet with shelves, install adequate lighting and then file the LP's alphabetically by the type of music. Since very few LP's are used in one sitting I have never found it necessary to locate them with the rest of the equipment. Having a "to be filed" bin is also a nice touch, with yourself being the only one who does the filing (anyone can pull them out of course). I have never cared for looking at walls of LP's/CD's in the home anyway, due to their repetative shapes, and much prefer to look @ books and art which have a cozy feeling about them. Perhaps I am a bit odd in this sense as I also tuck the electronics out of sight as well, but do draw the line @ in-wall speakers for stereo.
Wait a minute Dekay, didn't you once say that your electronics are in the closet too? I bet them there skeletons feel down right cramped.

I can't imagine 6000 LPs. Wow! When they are arranged on shelves, how wide are they, and how tall?

I think a nice deep wood stained bookcase or shelving system might look pretty nice exposed. I must be watching too much Trading Spaces.
I have about 5000 and they are first separated by genre as Albertporter does, but the genres are limited to Jazz, Rock and Classical, plus a catch-all catagory for those that don't really fit into those catagories, such as Walter Carlos, Tomito, etc. (I find it difficult to distinguish alot of Pop from Rock and visa-versa.) Then everything is alphabetized within each genre. In cases where there are multiple artists (ex. "Peterson and Pass"), I simply use the first one listed (Peterson). In cases where no artist is listed (ex. 'The Three", which is a one-time collaboration of Brown, Sample and Mann), those LPs are found at the beginning, before the "A"s. These exceptions to the rule are few and are easily remembered or reviewed if what one is looking for can't be found in the main catagory.

Also like Albert, I find that cataloging the collection is a waste of time- quicker and much more enjoyable to flip through the records and either come up with what is being searched for or stumbling across something that is appealing at the moment. However, each individual will find a way that works best for them depending on how their brain works to organize things- what works well for one may not work at all for another. (i.e.- I would have a difficult time finding an album by label at Albert's house and he probably wouldn't have a clue where to find the Shure test record at my house!)

As far as shelving, I am fortunate to have a utility room in which "bookshelves" were fashioned from 1x12's. (If you send an email, I'll give you the design details.) The utility room keeps everything out of sight. No paint, no stain, just $60 and a couple hours of work. I simply pull out a few albums and sit down to listen.

Good luck with the project-


I have always found spines facing out like books a neck
breaking orientation. We prefer to organize LPs the way that
record stores used to, flipping from front to back viewing
the face of the album. We use stacked bins which slide on
rolling hardware anchored to casework screwed to our wall
studs. Less elegant, but very inviting to peruse.
Have to agree that first breaking up by genre is critical, and then for me, alpha by artist name within each genre.
I use LP dividers I got from a supplier of accessories,bags,CD etc to sub divide.Like the idea of closet.My freind just built shelves into a big high ceiling closet and it's great but you need room.Ikea sells an inexpensive wall unit which is square broken down into 16 squares (I think) that I'd like to get.The one I saw a year or two ago will fit 12" LP's.Right now I am using a number of metal and particle board shelving units I got at K-Mart (where America shops).Wonder how Bin Laden has been keeping his collection together while on the move cave to cave?My sugesstion for him if he's reading this is plastic milk crates strapped on Donkey's.
Between CD's and LP's, I'm in the 10,000 plus. I store the media on shelves in another room. It is first divided by type of music. It is alphabetical by artist within type for non classical and by composer and subdivided by performer in classical.

I have a database system that I designed in MS Access. I use it personally to put in pieces that I don't own yet but want to buy and to prevent duplication, primarily in the case of classical reissues where the DB has recorded date.

I also print out several reports, used mostly by friends or guests who can "browse" much easier.
You need to watch the movie: High Fidelity. The lead character owns a record store and has several ideas of how to arrange his albums. Its a hoot.
I have 5000+ LPs, 1000+ CDs and hundreds of books, that I organize using 3x5 library cards (started in the '60s). I have my LPs on shelves I built using 3/4" plywood, the main unit is 9ft. tall by 6+ft wide on which I have approximately 2300 LPS. The rest are on similar shelves round the room (dedicated to music only!). I have the records spine out as books and filed alphabetically by record label and in the numerical sequence put on each record by the record company. I add nothing to the record. Each recorded work on each record is given one 3x5 card. If a record has only one work by one composer only one card is typed. If a record has several works by the same or by different composers, a separate card is typed for each work and/or by each composer. All 3x5 cards are filed alphabetically by composer, or in the case of Jazz or Popular/Rock by name or group. If someone asks me if I have a specific work I can find it in the card file and then go to the stacks and locate it immediately. Most of my recordings are classical and without this system I would, and have, "lost" recordings or I cannot remember if I have a particular recording. With my system I can tell within a very short time if I have it,who performed it, how long it is in minutes and seconds and the format (331/3rpm,Mono etc)My system works for me because I started when I had only a few recordings and I have kept it up to date adding a 3x5 card for new records, scores, CDs and books. I have thousands of 3x5 cardsnow but I can find anything and everything in my collection almost instantly but without it many items would be "lost" forever!
Happy listening.
What a great collection!!!!

I used to have a collection, but then again I used to own a Sota that made them sing. Anyway, I used to store my albums in shelving on wheels that was designed to store medical records. For some reason the shelves designed to hold medical records were perfect for my analog records. I purchased the shelving from a local hospital supplier. The structure was about 4 feet wide and 6 feet deep. It was three sided and cost less than $50. It was made of some sort of plastic and held all of my albums, around 1,000, and had room to store at least 2000 more.

I still see these structures at hospitals. I got the idea because I work in medical sales and at the time had no money because I spent every cent that I earned on my system and on albums.
Don't EVER bother to "organize"...leaves much more time for listening...anyway, new albums are arriving chez moi too quickly to even listen to ALL of them...y'know, 2 tracks and I don't like it so on with the next one.

More important to preserve the cover art and replace the liner with proper rice paper sleeves and the jacket with heavy vinyl dust covers.
Every organization I've tried has its pluses and minuses and takes time to maintain. I am currently using one like jwc37 which works especially well for classical except that I uses a palm handheld with handmark modiledb software rather than a cardfile. Also like pls1 I keep printed lists handy. The palm is great for the listening room, silent, instant on, simple to use with a lighted screen that makes updates when the room is dark easy. The software is not perfect, but its sorting, filtering, searching and data entry functions are pretty good. I keep entries organized by performer, composer, work, date, label, label number, media type and condition, and misc notes like personal rating, price, etc. For shelves check out at about $1 per LP.