This has actually been quite difficult for me all my record life. I TRY to store them by labels, but only for the audiophile pressings - like Sheffield, RR, Chesky, etc. For jazz, I can still stick with labels groupings, but for pop that's where I go by male and female artists. Classical will be in a bunch too. But problem is with my newly acquired bunch. I have to group them as a separate category regardless of genre because when I shove them into their genre bunch, I tend to forget their existence. So definitely, I did not vote for the last choice. LOL.
Myles, can I suggest you re-title this thread because it's about cataloging and/or arranging a record collection, a very interesting topic. But it's definitely not about record storage, something that's been discussed ad nauseam anyway! I voted 'Good Memory' (NOT!) just to view the poll. In fact, my LP and CD collections are organized by content! Because, to me, that's what this whole thing is all about -- listening to music that you want to hear.
My primary motivation when selecting/retrieving something for playback is either, "What kind of music (including instrument and/or performance) am I in the mood to hear?" -- or, if I haven't got something in mind, then I just browse my (content-based) categories until something winks at me I've found that content-based LP/CD organization leads to less vacillating and much more music listening -- important these days when time always seem to be in short supply. For years, even before computers, I used to divide my collection between classical and everything else, then alphabetically by composer or writer/performer. And you know what? It took me forever to find something to play, and often as not, it wasn't what I really wanted to hear!
I guess one could also maintain a searchable computer database, if desired. What led to my rethinking all this though, was a few years back, when I became friends with a truly compulsive collector, as in: thousands of records! And yet, his 'thousands of records' were organized only by content. Not a slob by any means, yet he is the complete opposite of "anal retentive", whatever that is called. He had nothing written down or databased, and when I asked why he didn't maintain some kind of list, he said it would be a waste of time; that he knew where all the "special goodies" were; and if anyone had a request he wasn't sure about, he could find out if he had it in about ten seconds! And he could care less about having instant info about all his Toscaninis, or 1/2 speed masters, shaded dogs, or whatever. What's important to him is: What kind of music do I want to listen to right NOW!
I was defintely intrigued, but of course, resistant to change, especially change which meant dismantling everything I worked so hard to organize! But I slowly began creating little sections for certain content I listened to a lot, like Guitar, Jazz, Orchestral, Brass. Later these became Guitar:jazz, Guitar:classical. Or Jazz:instumentals, Jazz:vocals, Jazz:soloist, as my preferances became more defined. The result was a kind of confidence I could quickly find something I would enjoy right at that moment. I would no longer be intimidated by my own record collection -- and damn the Dewey Decimal System!!
Unfortunately, mine are in random order, with the exception of the rack of "heavy rotation" titles (<1,000), these are in bins arranged only by genre. Having well over 5K LPs makes life interesting this way. My reel to reel tapes are in reasonable order though. Somehow I know pretty much the neighborhood where things reside.
This surprises a lot of people given the fact that I am a Library Director. That is precisely why I do it. I am surrounded by cataloged, described, arranged information all day. I like a little disorder in my personal life