The main case in point is our burgeoning DVD collection which had a bit of a burst of fertility over the holiday and outgrew our current storage space. I knew this day would soon be upon me (living in such a small Japanese apartment makes it inevitable) and I wanted to find a way to store some of our nearly 300 disc collection more efficiently. Mainly, I wanted to do somethin about the full-size cases with a single-disc in them. I don't know who decided it'd be a good idea to store one disc in a space large enough for 4 discs, but a bit of a reduction diet was in order if I didn't want my limited shelf space to overflow.
I considered buying slim cases for all the discs but the cost would end up being 100 yen per 3 cases and it'd only save me about half the space. Neither the expense nor the space savings of this solution were particularly attractive. I researched some methods on the web and they mainly involved carefully cutting up the inserts and putting the discs into slim CD cases. While this would be quite space efficient, I didn't want to destroy the inserts in this way because they often have chapter listings on them. Also, slim cases stored on their sides are almost impossible to label such that you can read their contents from a side view and I didn't want to have to riffle through stacks of discs to find the one I wanted.
The search was on for a method that'd preserve the full contents, store in an easy to peruse fashion, and cost as little as possible. After searching the local 100 yen shop for ideas and supplies, I came up with an album method which would cost 300 yen for every 36 discs and would preserve everything. This will give me future flexibility should someone leave about a hundred or so slim cases on my doorstep for free as I'll still have all the paperwork to restore the discs to their original appearance.
I chose a 36-ring binder so there would be uniform and constant support of the weight of the pockets holding 6 DVDs each. Though I think this was the best choice, lining up pockets with the rings was a huge pain in the ass. I interspersed clear document-holding pockets between the discs with the inserts and labeled the spines by genre. I debated alphabetically arranging them, but then I might have to rearrange the entire book every time a new disc arrived. I also think that it'll reduce the amount of searching necessary to find what we want as well as making it more convenient to thumb through and album based on mood.
The garbage bags show the discarded cases from the DVDs I put in albums. You can see how the small stack of albums would be vastly preferable to the huge number of cases if one were moving or paying shipping fees!
I didn't repackage all my DVDs, mind you. Some of them are in packaging which is already space-efficient and others are in special packaging that I wouldn't want to throw away. However, this worked extremely well and cleared up all our storage problems (at least for the time being). If you're cramped for shelf space, this is definitely the way to go if you've got a lot of DVDs.