As soon as this site went online, I was flooded with e-mails (please do use the comment function on the site if you have questions on a featured item or related issues). Enquiring minds wanted to know what I myself use to store my collection and what I could recommend. Well, despite my posts to the contrary, I use the ultimate budget system, a simple IKEA shelf system called “Ivar”, slightly “tweaked” to fit my needs. Before you read on: Ivar is not one of those Ikea products that you need an IQ of 200 and infinite patience for to put together. You don’t even need any tools besides a screwdriver, and the skills required to put it together tend towards zilch. Fact is, it doesn’t get much easier than Ivar (and I have lots of IKEA experience with other, err, less successful products in that regard).
I don’t know how many different systems I tried before, but one day my collection just outgrew the most recently purchased storage system and I turned to something that years before I had flung to the far corners of my basement, Ivar. I thought I’d give it a try because I didn’t want my limited budget eaten up by storage systems – I wanted to have enough money left over to purchase the contents, music.
Ivar is, next to Billy, IKEA’s most successful shelf system, and it has been around for ages. It is made of untreated solid pine and is virtually indestructible as well as infinitely “customizable”. The design was changed over the years (cabinet doors today look decidedly different from the ones sold in the 80s), but all in all everything you buy today fits to the parts your parents probably already bought.
Although Ivar can be painted and varnished to your heart’s desire, I always left mine untreated, and today the system has a classy-looking dark patina (from years of smoking, no less). The patina is a bit of a problem when new (pale) parts are purchased (especially since I don’t smoke anymore), but time usually takes care of that. To speed the process up a bit, I simply wash the shelf with brown soap once in a while, and newer parts “catch up” to their older mates relatively fast. On top of that, washing the shelves also protects the wood, and after a year or two, even spilled red wine won’t do any harm whatsoever.
Ivar comes in all shapes and sizes, both 30 and 50cm deep, and you can assemble just about any configuration you need. Because I live in an apartment beneath the roof of a larger house, with awkward low corners and impossible-to-furnish nooks and crannies, I usually go for the lowest side pieces (124 tall, 80 or 60 wide and 30 deep), and 5 shelves (which gives me four rows for CDs and one shelf at the top to place lamps or decorative objects) to use the available space wisely. One of those costs me 25 Euro all told , and that way I managed to put away approximately 27 meters of CDs in just one corner and along one wall of my living room – that’s several thousand CDs … stored for a mere 200 Euro altogether!
What is practical about Ivar is that the shelves can be moved up or down at short intervals, allowing you to store LPs, DVDs, bulky collector’s boxes, CDs, tapes … you get the picture. Because the 30cm deep Ivar is too deep for CDs, I simply nailed some longer straight pieces of wood (80 or 60 cm in length) to the shelves behind the CDs so they don’t slide backwards (see image 3 above). With that trick I got myself a rock-solid system which can, when filled, also hold those pesky little digipacks that have the knack for falling over or making a whole row tilt sideways when they are not supported by anything (*growl*).
Not pictured above, but coming in a later installment, I also have another wall along which I created a sideboard with Ivar cupboards (so that collectible LPs and books are behind doors), plus another wall with Ikea Benno shelves, so my music collection is entirely housed courtesy of that Swedish budget company.
Should I move one day, I can simply exchange the lower side pieces with taller ones to furnish a different room, or combine any element I have in new ways with new elements. I know there are lots of other flexible storage systems out there, but at the low price Ivar is sold, it is virtually impossible to beat. The sytem comes highly recommended (and heavily party-tested) by me. 5 stars, and then some.
When searching the Internet for other music-related sites mentioning the Ivar system, I only came up with one quote, and I couldn’t agree more … although I’m not as concerned about earthquakes as this writer::
I’m not trying to shill for the Swedes, but seriously, I feel bad for DJs who don’t live near an Ikea. How else can you buy a shelving system that can accomodate up to 1200 LPs in a single unit – and for less than $80? Sure, in an earthquake, this will probably collapse like a deck of cards, but other than that, Ivar is the no-frills solution to getting maximum vinyl into minimum spaces. Odds of purchase: 1 in 1 (I have at least 5K records. I have no choice, believe me). Source: PopLife
Note: Because the regional IKEAs offer differing product lines, no direct links were provided. You can reach your IKEA, which hopefully carries the full Ivar range, via ikea.com.