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Wear over time isn't an issue when you leave your sets built and on display :-)
Like you, punching holes in them was strictly off-limits as was anything else that would damage them or cause wear. My solution has been to put them in a page protector that has holes already in it and then put those in a large D ring binder. This allows me the freedom to organize instructions by set number and for fairly quick searching.
Page protectors must be PVC and vinyl free. I prefer mylar, but polypropylene is a close second. PVC and vinyl are not good materials to having contact with paper for long periods. They can cause's integration of the paper, lifting of printing or alteration of colors.
Having booklets from the verry small to the big A4 type?
How do the big ones (A4) stack over a couple (or more) of consecutive smaller type?
Or do you keep yout Binders vertically?
My ideal storing solution would be without my fingers having to touch them when brosing/looking, except when using it to build what`s described inside.
Also not having them bend because of staking of large booklets over small booklets.
Now I've gone back to the portable filing case I had previously. I still have them in the sleeves, but its so much more user-friendly to find the booklet you need without disturbing the other ones too much.
I think a filing cabinet would be the ideal storage if you have the space and don't need them portable.
Take #79003 An Unexpected Gathering and parts 4647546: Roof Tile 1X1X2/3, Abs and 4546705: Roof Tile 1X1X2/3, Abs.
Perhaps it's my eyesight, but I can't tell the difference between them in the PDF, whereas it's obvious on paper.
I'm sure that there are other, better examples, but that one sprung to mind, as it was annoying me the other day.
How do people store the #10188 instruction manual?
Fortunately, I buy enough large sets to have plenty of these baggies, but now that LEGO has started making the instruction manuals for larger sets "perfect-bound" I have a bit of a dilemma, since the perfect-bound instruction manuals come in sealed plastic bags that are much harder to open without tearing, and next to impossible to reuse. Not that I'm faulting LEGO for changing their bag design, which now looks a lot more professional — it just is a bit less convenient for me. And granted, I'm still looking for a more permanent solution. Perhaps by the time I run out of this style of bag, I'll have found one.
What do you do with sets that come with booklets in a myriad of sizes?
The photo represents about 2/3 of the my instructions, but is the bulk of my collection. The rest smaller or more limited themes that I have. Also this doesn't include any pre 1978 instructions. I'm planning on working on those early next year.Here's are some examples from one the of Ninjago binders.
Sorting them in terms of theme makes more sense (to me), but having a big booklet, followed by a smaller one, makes my hair rise on my spine. (Guess i have some form of OCD myself).
Damn TLG for not being consistent in booklet sizes....
Inside the binders the books are arranged by theme and in a theme by set number. Some small themes (or themes I barely ever bought) I put together as one, e.g. I've combined all the various racing themes into one and mixed those with City. I could be more rigorous about it but there've been dozens of themes over the years.
Sorting by set number doesn't help when I need to look up a set as I've stopped memorizing the set numbers now that every set has a name on the box (and the set numbers are long). However, having the set number lets me easily put it back where it goes after I remove it.
I also keep the unused stickers, lego catalogues, and other such papers in similar binders.
To keep it on topic, I sort by theme and then size, small to large. Yup it takes ages to find anything but I nearly always build from PDF so they only get touched for the original build and filing time.
They hold a relatively small number of booklets, are the right size, and protect them well.
I use these to store the modular instructions I have; I put them back in the polythene bag and then wrap the packaging around. I then label the outside and stack them. I've no idea how big the instruction book for the Death Star is but you can get pretty big versions of this.
But seriously, that's one of those I don't have a great solution for. Currently it just lays around where ever it covenant. Aleydita's idea might be a good one. I may have to look into it.
I was thinking more like the white one here:
Or even neater:
What about people without a 10179 to protect it though?!