This is something I've always been curious about, how do other people store their zine collections? Mine are in a plastic bag in a drawer and I'm convinced that there's got to be a better way to do this, without taking up too much space.
I've always stored them the same way I store comics -- in a box, upright and alphabetical. At this point I've got thousands so it's kind of important to be able to find something if I need to (not that I'm ever free of piles waiting to be filed away!).
For zines half-legal or smaller I always had to use boxes I scavenged from somewhere but I did find out along the way that those cheap sewing pattern boxes work pretty darn well for digests and half-legals. And they're short enough (lengthwise) that they could even sit face-out in most bookcases.
I've been collecting zines (as well as books and obscure magazines) for 30 years. There is an order to how I file them, but only I know that secret... and I sometimes get lost myself. Every zine gets read and then put in a mylar bag to be placed into a box. I break them down by size, catagory, and date. When a box gets full I take it to my storage to file away.
I have three storage units to hold all my zines, but I have notebooks listing every item in every box to keep track of where each zine is. It's not a perfect system though. If I forget one facet of the formula to find a specific zine or issue it can take hours to narrow it down. It's fun looking though...
i spent around a year organizing a collection of zine for a university special collections archive. I adopted many of their techniques when storing my own zines. Here's what I'd recommend:
First you go to Office Max or Depot or whatever and you buy two things (1) a pack of file crates (they are flat and need to be "assembled" in order to use - the top and the bottom are separate (2) get a bunch of manila folders (or better archival folders if you can find them / afford them) and make sure that they are the kind that has the tab that goes all the way across the top (the ones that go half-way or one third of the way are kind of annoying and will get in the way later).
Ok now assemble the file crates and get your single "full" tab folders out and get a pencil. From a stack of zines, take the first one and write the name of the zine in pencil in the middle of the tab (decide in advance what you will do about zines that start with the word "The" - if you are going to include at the beginning or if you will put it at the end of the name after a comma) - Now you have stored your first zine. Repeat this with each zine. This will work for all zine sizes except those bigger than 8.5"x11" - you can store the bigger ones in larger boxes (you probably will have much less of those anyway) when you have more than one issue of the same title, store them together in the same folder. If you have a whole bunch of issues from the same title, store them in consecutive folders.
Dont fill up the file folders all the way - its better to leave a little space in each one (or if you want you can use a shoe box to fill up the back so you always have extra room when more zines come in)
Another advantage to this system is that each file folder box should not become too heavy - this way each box is manageable.
You can store the file folder boxes however you want, but they sell metal shelves at Target or at the local hardware store for fairly cheap. Another thing is that you'll probably want to get renters or owners insurance and insure your collection. Keep a record of what zines you have in a database and back-up the list in google docs or whatever.
I have a shelf on one of my many bookcases dedicated to zines. They are not organized in any way, except 1/4 sized and smaller on one end, and 1/2 and bigger on the other. there's also a thesaurus that separates a dozen of my very very favorites. and I keep my master copies in a dictionary.
I am terribly unorganized, but I simply don't have the space right now to spread out. all my supplies and letters are in boxes under my bed... it's awful.
I wanted to get a fancy wall attached magazine rack but they are either expensive or hard to find. Instead I now use dish-drying racks (the metal, fold up type if that makes any sense?) which are perfect for flicking through them! Kept by my sofa so me and any guests can easily peruse. The only organisation method I use is one rack for all my favourite/recommended zines, and another rack for all others....
My collection is still very small, but now that it's growing I've rescued them from the mildewy utility room where I store my thrifted books and random junk, and started putting them in a cheap Ikea bookshelf. The top shelf is tiny for anything quarter size or smaller, the middle shelf fits half-size zines, and the bottom is adequate for full letter size. On top of the bookshelf I've got a plastic magazine holder full of zines I've checked out from the library.
My own zines are stacked neatly in a plastic milk crate in my workroom/office.
I use these too! About a dozen upstairs for distro zines, eight or nine downstairs for my personal collection. (I used to have way more, but slashed my collection in 2005.) It keeps them out in the open, but also looks tidy.
Since discovering this magazine storage crap from Ikea, I've used it ever since to store and organize my zines. they are like, $3 for a back of 5. I love 'em!