Tips for storing vinyl records

Tips for storing vinyl records

Vinyl records have had something of a renaissance over recent years, going from being thought of as unwieldy and old hat in the wake of the rise of the Compact Disc (and more recently, the growth of internet streaming) to becoming desirable items for collectors and enthusiasts.

The reasons leading to vinyl becoming a less favoured medium at the expense of CD in the first place were probably a combination of size and durability, with vinyl records being much more sensitive to damage and environmental factors. CDs were hailed as virtually unbreakable whereas vinyl records are prone to scratching and warping, and the compact size of the compact disc, as well as the clarity of sound were certainly seen as an advantage by most. However, there are many music lovers who still prefer the depth of sound you get from a vinyl album – not to mention the art form of the record cover itself, which never had the same impact on a CD. This resurgence of appreciation of vinyl records can lead to large collection. Collecting comes at a price though, in terms of the need for storage.

So, if you have run out of room at home for your record collection, you may well be considering other spaces.

How and where to store your vinyl

First the don’ts…

  • Don’t store vinyl in garages and attics - As we mentioned above, vinyl records are sensitive to environmental factors and as such, keeping them in a place which lacks a stable environment like a garage or attic is not recommended. Extremes of heat and cold as well as atmospheric moisture could damage your records and make them un-playable. Record sleeves are generally made of card which again, will be susceptible to damage due to atmospheric moisture.
  • Don’t store vinyl lying flat or stacked – you should not store your vinyl flat or stacked in piles. This would case warping and damage to them.
  • Don’t store records in a bright or sunny place – Heat and brightness from direct sunlight can be pretty intense. As well as running the risk of warping and damage from excess heat, bright light could also bleach and fade your album covers.
  • Don’t pack your vinyl tightly together – Avoid packing your records to tightly to make sure that there is reasonable airflow around them and to avoid warping. You should be able to easily pull a record out.
  • Don’t store records directly on the floor of a storage unit - use racks which keep your collection off the floor or if boxed, elevate the boxes onto a pallet or similar to create an airflow underneath
  • Don’t have too many records in one box or crate as they will become very heavy and you run the risk of box failure which could be very damaging.

Do…

  • Store your vinyl records in special record crates or boxes (which are the right size), upright on their edges or in special vinyl storage racks.
  • Make sure that your storage space is well ventilated.
  • Make sure that your storage space has a stable temperature.
  • Use protective exterior sleeves if possible
  • Make sure you understand the value of your record collection for insurance purposes
  • Keep an indexed catalogue of your collection. This is especially useful to make sure you can find what you want when you want it.
  • Check on your stored items regularly to make sure they are not being affected by long term storage.

Consider self-storage

If you are running out of room at home for your vinyl – a climate controlled, inside storage unit can be a great place to store a record collection to keep it in great condition. Self-storage offers a good deal of flexibility in terms of space, so you should be able to get more storage as your collection grows.

If you have old or rare records in your collection, they could be worth a good deal of money. For this reason, make sure that you have up to date information on what your collection, (and any individual high value items) are worth. Insurance for items in storage should always be for the full replacement value of your items. With collectible items like vinyl, this may change over time so be sure to update your insurance accordingly to make sure you always have adequate cover.

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