I recently reorganised my Enid Blyton’s Magazines and thought I’d share the process and results for you.
As we know Enid Blyton wrote a lot of magazines. 250 issues of Sunny Stories for Little Folk, 552 of Enid Blyton’s Sunny Stories and 162 of Enid Blyton’s Magazine to be precise.
My current collection stands at 119 of Enid Blyton’s Magazine and 5 of Sunny Stories. And, up until March this year they were all stored in a big plastic box:
Given that these magazines are all over 60 years old this was not an ideal situation. The covers were getting damaged when the magazines were taken in and out, and even though they were in publication order it wasn’t easy to find a particular issue. Plus the box was crowded with various other Blyton bits and pieces. There are flyers, other magazines, booklets, books and even an envelope of badges in there. There were only about 95 of Enid Blyton’s Magazine in there at the time, so I wouldn’t have had space for many more.
So what are the possible solutions? These magazines are not sturdy enough to stand on shelves by themselves, and their age makes them quite fragile. Any storage has to be able to protect them from damage through removal or insertion, potentially from sunlight (mine go in a cupboard so that’s not such an issue for me), and store them in a way that doesn’t put undue pressure on bindings or pages.
I asked some other Blyton enthusiasts how they managed their collections and I got a few different responses.
Suggestion one: folders
One suggested was a pocket display presentation folder, the kind where the pockets are stitched in. Two magazines can fit in each pocket so a 40 pocket folder could hold up to 80 magazines. They are inexpensive, and you’d only need two.
I expect you could also use ring binder or lever arch folders but the weight of the magazines would probably pull the pockets out of shape if you tried to stand the folders upright.
I think this is a decent budget option but I was after something a little more attractive.
Suggestion two: binding
Binding is probably one of the best ways to protect magazines, though it may be too late if they are already in poor condition due to age. Lots of academic institutions and libraries bind magazines and journals into a book – a volume per month, quarter or year etc depending on the number of issues and size of each issue.
This could be a really nice way to protect and display a collection but I expect having it done professionally could be expensive (I found a lots of places offering a service but few had a price list). You’d want at least seven – one for each volume. I did find this handy guide to making your own binding which doesn’t look too difficult or expensive. All you need is some wood, fabric, glue, string and paper, plus something to cut the wood with.
As my collection is not yet complete professional binding isn’t a particularly viable method for me. If you’ve got a complete collection, though, and are willing to spend the money they could look great. I’m not going to attempt binding myself as I’m not at all confident I’d not destroy these vintage magazines in the process!
Suggestion three: boxes
Obviously I already had mine in a box which wasn’t working but boxes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
Cardboard magazine files were suggested – and seem an obvious solution. I just couldn’t find any in an A5 size and felt that using A4 ones would just lead to a lot of wasted space. I know you can make your own using cereal boxes, and these could look quite nice if decorated with wrapping paper etc, but knowing me I’d end up bashing or bending the thin cardboard. If you can find A5 ones (or have lots of space) this might work well, though it would probably be better if each magazine was already in a protective sleeve to protect the covers as they are slid in and out.
Traditional A5 box files were the suggestion that came the closest to meeting my needs. They are sturdy, the right size for the magazines and not overly expensive. The only problem was that the suggested ones (Ryman Selecta boxes) were also not in stock apart from in blue at £5.99 per box. I suspect this is very much a ‘middle of a pandemic’ issue and that come next year you’ll be able to choose a Selecta box in any colour and in multipacks.
So what did I end up with?
My personal favourite solution
Having looked online for Ryman-style A5 boxes I found a range of plastic boxes with a base and separate lid. Having measured 27 magazines in a pile (27 is the most magazines in any one volume) I determined that two of the plastic boxes would be enough to contain a volume.
The boxes were Weston Boxes’ A5 Plastic Storage Box. They come in packs of 5 or 10, so I bought a 10 pack of the multicoloured ones. (If you want to be grown up or match the boxes to your decor you can get packs of a single colour, including clear!)
Obviously ten wasn’t enough to have two per volume for a full collection, but I had few enough of volumes four and five that everything fitted in ten boxes.As you can see these boxes are just about see-through enough to be able to identify the contents.
After that, I kept on buying magazines and soon they were not fitting into those ten boxes as well as they once had.
I wanted to be able to identify different volumes at a glance so this time I bought the neon set of ten. I worked out that would give me seven different colours so each volume could use a different colour – and as a bonus I could create a rainbow with them which I absolutely love.
The neon ones are more opaque and as I figured I’d probably be storing them all with the front out of sight I decided to label the sides with the contents. I didn’t actually have any labels so I use masking tape as a temporary measure, I will get proper labels soon though. (I apologise for the terrible photo, I took these in the evening and it was difficult to get enough light without it all reflecting back off the boxes. I will try to take some in daylight soon).
First two columns –
Red: Vol 1 part 1 and 2
Orange: Vol 2 part 1 and 2
Yellow: Vol 3 part 1 and 2
Green: Vol 4 part 1 and 2
Blue: Vol 5 part 1 and 2
Purple: Vol 6 part 1 and 2
Pink: Vol 7 and duplicate issues
Third column –
Blue: Green Hedges/Sunny Stories
Green: Scrap Noddy books (duplicate copies with pages/covers missing)
Green: Flyers etc
Eagle-eyed readers might notice there are three darker blue ones there and that’s because one was slightly cracked when it arrived and Weston Boxes sent a replacement. I have one bright blue one on my bookshelf holding my Mary Mouse strip books and a few other bits that too small to fit on the shelf well, and two neon pink ones yet to be filled.
The finished arrangement
Here you can see the back row of boxes and then the front (plus a couple of mugs which hold bits and pieces, and yes that’s a Spice Girls one at the back, it must be a good 25 years old!). I wish I had enough space to display them as a full rainbow but it’s just not to be.
And a wider view. The grey hearts box now holds all my Enid Blyton Society Journals, and above you can see both my Noddy fuzzy felt sets (one from the 50s and one from the 90s), my Famous Five jigsaw and the By Jove! Entertainment For Kids – Five Go Parenting card game. Plus some of my other jigsaws, board games and half of my Lego.
And here’s some ideas of the things that fit inside the boxes:
Enid Blyton’s Magazines, both alone and in card-backed slips, Sunny Stories with or without card-backings, Enid Blyton Society journals, Noddy books, A5 flyers and leaflets, Pepys party games, Green Hedges Magazines.
Just to be clear I have no affiliation with Weston Boxes, I just happened to buy some and think they are great. I’d definitely recommend them for storage of magazines. The boxes themselves are perfect; both functional and attractive and they arrived quickly wherever I ordered them from. Weston Boxes also have a policy of refunding or replacing any box that is damaged upon delivery and I certainly had no trouble when one of my boxes had a small crack.
A note on prices: The RRP for ten boxes is £24.99, though I got my first set for £19.99 on Amazon, and received a 10% off voucher for use on the Weston Boxes website. By the time I was looking to order more the Amazon listing was back up to full price so I ordered through the WB site at £22.50. Both times I got free postage, so in all it was £47.50, which is a lot less than I have spent on magazines so far!