Vinyl records are a great way to experience both retro and modern music. Typically preferred by audiophiles for their lossless analog sound, these records provide big, beautiful covers of albums in all genres, from classic rock and jazz to modern hip-hop and electronic music. Due to their size and build quality, vinyl records require specific storage to keep them in perfect condition. So knowing how and where to store your vinyl records will keep them looking good, and more importantly, they'll keep sounding good for decades.
Part 1 of 3: Wear protective covers
Step 1. Buy inner and outer covers
To store a vinyl record properly, you will need sleeves for the record itself and for the cover that it comes with. Covers are typically available at used record and music stores, as well as online stores such as Amazon, Sleeve City USA, and Bags Unlimited. Most vinyl records will require 7-inch (18-cm), 10-inch (25-cm), or 12-inch (30-cm) sleeves.
- Avoid buying cheap inner sleeves as they will wear out easily and will not provide adequate protection for the disc.
- Inexpensive outer covers, such as polypropylene, will generally not affect the quality of protection, but they may fade over time.
Step 2. Place each record in an inner sleeve and each cover in an outer sleeve
Remove the disc from its original case and slip it into an inner sleeve. If your disc came with a protective foil from the factory, feel free to leave it on. Carefully put the disc back in its original case and then the case in an outer sleeve. Make sure the groove on the outer case lines up with the groove on the original case.
Step 3. Replace damaged covers when necessary
Over time, disc covers are susceptible to general wear and tear and in some cases to mold and mildew infections. To protect your records, replace any covers that are damaged or rotten.
Step 4. Don't touch the grooves on the record when you pull them out to listen to them
The best storage in the world can't compete with careless handling. When you take out the records to listen to them, do not touch the grooves. Instead, hold the puck by the edges and the center circle. This will prevent grease and dirt from seeping into the grooves.
Part 2 of 3: Storage in boxes and shelves
Step 1. Purchase a display shelf for easy access to the discs
A display shelf can be the perfect solution for general music lovers and collectors who want to show off their collection. Look for shelves with long horizontal rows and short columns 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) larger than albums, allowing you to store more records.
For large collections, invest in blank pre-labeled disc dividers to speed up ordering and navigation
Step 2. Buy a storage box to store the vinyls
If you're short on space, plan to travel, or want to store your discs for a long time without using them, try buying some storage boxes. For quick and cheap solutions, wooden and plastic boxes work great. For something safer, but also more expensive, look for plastic filing boxes and moving vinyl boxes. Look for square containers that are 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) taller than the largest disk in the collection.
Step 3. Store the discs vertically
When the discs are stacked on top of each other, the weight distribution will cause the discs at the bottom to deform over time. To prevent this, store the discs vertically, preventing them from bearing weight. Do not place heavy objects on top of the discs.
To avoid exposure to dust, store discs with the slot facing inward
Step 4. Minimize the air exposure of the discs
When it comes to vinyl, the best protection usually comes from simply keeping your records sealed and covered. When not in use make sure the discs are inside their sleeves, away from the wind and the elements. To avoid dust accumulation, do not leave any disc in the player for long periods of time.
Part 3 of 3: Create a Good Storage Environment
Step 1. Keep the discs out of sunlight
Like pictures, vinyl covers that are kept in the sun will fade and crack over time. To keep the cover vibrant and beautiful, store your records in a shady room away from windows and direct sunlight. Remember: even if your vinyls are not facing the sunlight, it can damage the edges of the record sleeves.
Step 2. Avoid extreme hot or cold areas
When exposed to extreme heat, vinyl records can melt and wrinkle around the edges, rendering them unusable. If exposed to extreme cold the discs will become brittle. If possible, keep the discs just below room temperature, or 10 ° C (50 ° F) for best results.
If the discs are exposed to extreme cold, the temperature slowly increases over a period of several hours. Suddenly switching from cold to hot can cause unwanted condensation, ruining your album covers
Step 3. Keep discs away from rooms that are too humid
Avoid areas of extreme humidity or prone to leaks as these can cause mold and mildew. If they are not sealed and well insulated, avoid storing them in basements, attics, garages, and similar areas. If possible store your discs in a room with 35% humidity, the amount recommended by professional archivists.
Step 4. Avoid open and dusty areas
Dust is the main culprit behind dirty and ruined discs. Likewise, don't store your vinyls in infrequent outdoor areas. Instead, make sure the albums are loosely packed together so only the edges are exposed to the air. For best results consider dusting the edges of the discs once a week.
If necessary, gently run a carbon fiber brush over the disc to clean it
- When not in use, store your vinyls to prevent air and dust from touching the grooves of the record.
- When storing vinyl, avoid areas with exposure to sunlight and extreme temperatures, as well as extreme humidity, dust, and outdoor areas.
- When playing vinyl, avoid touching the grooves of the record with anything other than the turntable needle.