Storing Vinyl Records: A Guide to Vinyl Record Storage
If you’re getting ready for a renovation, moving homes, downsizing, or just looking to free up some space, you will need somewhere to store your vinyl records. Not knowing how to store your vinyl records properly can leave them scratched, damaged, or warped. The following tips on how to store vinyl records should leave you well-prepared. When you are ready to use them again, your vinyl records will be in the same shape you left them. Storing vinyl records properly will ensure that they play smoothly and last for years to come.
Properly Clean Your Vinyl Records
Before storing your vinyl records, you will want to clean them properly. By cleaning the records before storing them, you will reduce the risk of damage from dust, dirt, and other debris that can scratch your records.
Start by washing your own hands to remove oil, dirt, and debris.
Then, use your preferred method of cleaning your vinyl records. Make sure to use distilled water when cleaning your records instead of water out of the tap.
To avoid getting the oils from your hands on the record, make sure only to handle it on the edges or the center label.
Replace the Protective Sleeve for your Vinyl Records
Most vinyl records come with their own paper sleeve, but they can get musty over time and collect dirt, dust, and mildew. When replacing your vinyl record sleeve, you will want to buy one that is acid-free and anti-static. These will help protect against dust and scratching. Although it might be a little bit of extra work, replacing the vinyl protective sleeve is essential to preserve your vinyl records.
Buy a Plastic Vinyl Record Sleeve
Should you keep records in plastic sleeves? The most important things to protect against are moisture and dust when storing records. In addition to the inner sleeve protecting the record itself, you will want to purchase a plastic vinyl record sleeve to protect the cover as well. It is recommended to buy an outer sleeve made of polyethylene or polyester. For costly records, purchase a 6-mil record cover. For all others, either a three or 4-mil density will do.
When buying your plastic vinyl record sleeve, keep in mind that they come in different sizes. Some will come in a snug fit, while others will be looser. These vinyl record sleeves vary in size based on what type of vinyl record you are storing. If you have a single, you can use the snug fit. If you are storing a double LP or a box set, go with the loose fit.
Make sure to purchase a vinyl record sleeve that comes with a flap. These flaps will allow you to fully protect your record and cover it from dust and moisture. This is essential for preserving and maintaining your vinyl records.
Boxes for Storing Vinyl Records
When storing vinyl records, you will want to choose the appropriate box. Many companies sell boxes specifically for storing records that look similar to banker boxes. These boxes are usually made of either plastic or cardboard and are fully enclosed. These boxes are typically the best way to avoid dust settling in your records. You can also buy vinyl record crates for your records or bookcases with small cubbies. If you are storing any 12″ vinyl records, book boxes are a great alternative to vinyl record box storage.
Storing Vinyl Records Vertically
Storing vinyl records horizontally can cause significant damage to the records. Any dirt, debris, or things trapped between the records can become embedded over time and cause the records to warp. Plus, the records at the bottom of the pile will take on extreme pressure and likely break or warp. Instead, store your vinyl records vertically.
Storing Vinyl Records at a Cool Temperature
When storing vinyl records, you will want to keep them in a cool, dry, and dark place. Storing vinyl records in heat can be highly detrimental to your records. Just like when you leave something plastic in your car on a hot day, a record left in a hot place can melt and warp. Avoid areas like a shed, garages, attics, or outdoor storage. Similarly, you will want to store your records somewhere that does not get direct sunlight. Sunlight can fade your album cover and cause your vinyl record to warp. Store your vinyl records in a room that does not have windows. Lastly, your records should be kept in a dry room. To keep your vinyl records safe from damage, you do not want the room they are stored in to exceed 50% humidity.
The best place to store vinyl records is in a climate-controlled storage unit. These units are designed to stay at a consistent temperature and humidity 365 days of the year. Units are completely dark when not in use, keeping your records safe from fading. If you choose to store in a unit, it is recommended that you use shelving or pallets to keep the records slightly off the ground.
How Not to Store Vinyl Records
So now that you know what to do when storing vinyl records, here is how not to store your vinyl records:
- don’t put your vinyl records away without cleaning them first
- don’t store your vinyl records without a sleeve or cover
- avoid storing vinyl records in heat – never store vinyl records in a garage or attic
- avoid storing vinyl records horizontally – store vinyl records vertically instead
Once you’ve chosen the perfect place to store your vinyl records, you will be all set! When you pull your records out of storage weeks, months, or years from now, they should be in the same condition you left them! Find a climate-controlled storage unit to store your records.
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