Record storage is important to consider if you want your records to have a long and healthy life. It’s all well and good cleaning your vinyl and making sure it’s dust-free, but this is only part of the process. What many forget is that improper storage of records can be detrimental to the lifespan of your vinyl.
We aim to remedy this by bringing you our top 7 tips for record storage that will see your favourite pieces of wax enjoy a long and fruitful life.
Keep Out Of Direct Sunlight
This goes for both records and your record player itself, if possible. I know not all of us have ‘man caves’ with no direct sunlight, but there’s usually a space in a room where the sun can’t get to. Too much sun can warp your records, especially if the sun moves over your collection gradually each day, so make sure any vinyl shelving or record storage racks are appropriately placed. It’s also worth noting here to keep your records cool and dry and at a nice room temperature that doesn’t fluctuate where possible. For an unwritten temperature guide as a basis for vinyl storage, don’t let the temperature go above 50 F (10 C). Records are usually fine at lower temperatures – as long as you’re not in the Antarctic!
Inner Sleeves Are Your Friend
Inner record sleeves provide the first port of call for protection to your vinyl records when in storage. Most new releases these days come with paper sleeves. Although these are OK, overtime they can scratch away at the record’s surface, so if you’re serious about record storage and protection it’s a good idea to invest in some plastic sleeves. You can find them relatively cheap on places like Amazon, or alternatively, visit your local record store where they might be a little more expensive, but likely to be high in quality. The staff will be able to give you advice about which ones will be right for you.
Outer Sleeves For Longer Listening Pleasure
Whereas the inner sleeves protect the actual vinyl itself, outer sleeves take into account the whole record package. Now, I completely understand many of you may be a little wary about using outer sleeves. There is the added hassle of getting quickly into your beloved records, and also the fact they don’t look as nice lined up on your shelf all covered in plastic. This is true on both accounts. If you’re adding your records to long-term storage, outer sleeves are a must, but if you’re using them often, the choice is yours. They will protect your records a lot more from dust and any accidents involving damp, heat or water, but they also look much prettier without the outer sleeves. Heavy plastic is the goto material for outer sleeves, and, once again, you can find these on Amazon or at your local record store.
One of the most important tips for LP storage: MAKE SURE YOU STORE YOUR VINYL UPRIGHT. Records lying flat or horizontal increase the chance of warping over time, especially if they are stacked on top of each other. Storing records upright allows your vinyl to breathe and will give you access to your favourite music in an easier way. Make sure your records don’t lean to the side where possible when in storage, and also don’t squash your records together tightly in your record shelf or crate otherwise they can be damaged. Speaking of shelves and crates…
Record Shelving And Crate Storage Options
The two best ways to actually store your records for frequent use is either shelving or crates. Shelving is probably best if you have a tonne of vinyl, whereas crates probably look more aesthetically pleasing if you only have a small amount. Record crates/cases are also needed if you carry them around a lot.
Most vinyl enthusiasts will already know about Ikea record storage. Swedish super chain Ikea has a fantastic shelving unit for vinyl records called ‘Kallax’. It’s very simple looking, pleasing to the eye and easy to put together. It also comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. The square compartments are perfect for your vinyl records and can fit around 50 records per cube, with the shelving pretty low cost compared to the other options. There are alternatives if you’re looking for a certain style to fit in with your room, so just shop around and see what you can find. Check out the Ikea Kallax range here.
Crates and vinyl storage racks are the other viable option. Crates and racks come in all shapes and sizes, with many people going for the ‘open’ retro wooden look if the records aren’t going to be moved around often and played mainly at home. You can also get plastic or metal ‘DJ’ crates that are fully covered, keeping your records completely locked away and perfect for moving around if necessary.
Easy Access and Organisation
Easy access to and organisation of your records is a point that is often missed. Being able to easily find the record you want to listen to means you won’t be needlessly moving and sifting through all your records which, over time, will lead to wear and tear. I don’t want to get into how you organise your records, whether it be by title, artist, genre, label (this could be opening a can of worms!), but however you do it, make sure that any record you want will be easily identifiable. It might also be worth investing in some lettered separators so it’s even easier to distinguish where the record is that you’re looking for.
Store Away From Radiators
This one seems pretty basic, but the number of times people don’t think about this can be surprising. As discussed earlier, heat can really damage your records through warping, so in the winter months, if you use a radiator, make sure your collection is nowhere near!
Record storage is simple when you think about it, but the tips above will make sure your records will last as long as they possibly can. A couple of other points before you go to remember:
- Make sure to clean your records before putting back into storage; you don’t want any stray fingerprints or dust particles clogging up your records for future use. Check out our guide to cleaning your records for more details on the different techniques you can use.
- Also, remember to think about some of the above tips when placing your actual record player. Make sure it’s not in direct sunlight, not next to any radiators, and have the dust cover on when not in use. Obviously, don’t store it vertically!