How To Store Vinyl Records – 5 Simple Tips!

Most people think they know how to store vinyl records.

And it’s only fair to say that while a small percentage of people have absolutely no idea how to store their vinyl properly…

…most people have some idea.

But the reality is that if you want your vinyl to stay in tip-top condition for decades to come, you need to know all the tips and tricks for storing vinyl records.

Do you want to prolong the life of your beloved vinyl collection?

You Do! Great, let’s crack on…

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How To Store Vinyl Records

Storing vinyl records well is not particularly difficult.

But, there are some important practices that must be understood to store them for both the short and long term, without causing them any damage.

Here are the most crucial factors to consider when storing your records so that they continue to play well, every single time you listen to them.

TL;DL Summary: 

Vinyl records must be stored in a low-humidity and low-temperature environment, out of direct sunlight. Records should be stored vertically in stacks of no more than 15 to reduce the pressure on the records. Always store records in plastic, anti-static sleeves for the best protection.

Hopefully, you’ve got a little more time than to read only the ‘Too Long; Didn’t Read’ summary above.

If so, keep going…this whole post is only a quick three-minute read anyway!

#1. Keep the Temperature and Humidity Low

High temperature and humidity are enemies of vinyl records.

If records become too hot or too humid, they will warp, and the groove can become damaged or even collapse.

Try to keep your records in an area that experiences temperatures that are slightly below regular room temperature and with humidity no higher than 40%.

A temperature of somewhere between 65 and 75 degrees is best.

And around 30% humidity is ideal for your vinyl.

#2. Protect the Records from Sunlight

Sunlight and other sources of UV light, are seriously damaging to vinyl records over prolonged periods of time.

This type of light breaks down vinyl over time and can lead to your vinyl becoming brittle.

When storing your vinyl records, be sure to store them in a dark place, or at least out of direct sunlight as much as possible.

If you don’t have that kind of space available, use light-blocking sleeves and containers as these do the job really well.

#3. Limit the Pressure Put on the Records

Vinyl records are rigid, but the polyvinyl chloride they are made out of will deform and breakdown under pressure.

This means that if you store your records stacked on top of one another, or if you store other things on top of them (which would be completely crazy anyway)…

the vinyl will deform over time, the records will warp, the grooves will change, and the records will become totally unplayable.

Always store vinyl records upright, and be sure not to store them at an angle or tilting to one side, as this will also cause unnecessary pressure if there are multiple records stored together.

Even when records are stored upright, they must be kept in stacks of no more than about 15, with an air gap between each stack.

This will limit the pressure put on your records and help them last much longer.

#4. Use Record Storage Dividers

The best way to keep records safe when storing them upright is to use record storage dividers.

These dividers are available for dividing single records or batches of records and ensure that your records remain perfectly vertical and prevent them from leaning up against one another.

This is one of the simplest ways to keep your records in top condition and that will ensure your vinyl sounds better than music on other formats!

#5. Always Store Vinyl Records in Sleeves

The last tip we’ve got is to always keep your vinyl records in top-quality sleeves.

The best way to achieve this is to store your records in acid-free paper inner sleeves inside of their main record sleeve.

As well as this, you should then store the entire item within an outer plastic sleeve.

Okay, so that’s quite a lot of sleeve action going on, but…

…they will protect your records from humidity, light, dirt, dust, and even temperature, especially if the sleeves are anti-static.

So that’s a wrap for our tips on how to best store your vinyl records. But, if you want a few tips on caring for your vinyl more generally, keep reading…

Handling and Cleaning of Vinyl Records

How you handle and clean your records can significantly impact their longevity and the quality of sound they produce.

Here are some essential tips to ensure your vinyl collection stays in top-notch condition:

Handling Vinyl Records

  1. The Touch Technique: Always handle vinyl records by their edges and the label at the centre, avoiding any contact with the surface. The oils and dirt from your fingers can get into the grooves, affecting playback quality and potentially causing long-term damage.
  2. Mind the Placement: Be gentle and precise when placing a record on the turntable. After listening, return the record to its protective sleeve. This minimizes the exposure to airborne dust and dirt that can settle into the grooves.

Cleaning Vinyl Records

Dust, fingerprints, as well as other dirt can significantly degrade your listening experience.

Here’s how to keep your records sparklingly clean:

  1. Regular Dusting: Before and after playing a record, use a soft, anti-static brush to remove surface dust gently. Always brush in a circular motion, following the grooves.
  2. Deep Cleaning: Records that have accumulated grime or have not been cleaned in a while need deeper cleaning. You can use a specially formulated vinyl record cleaning solution and a soft, lint-free cloth. Apply the solution sparingly and wipe gently along the grooves. Professional-grade record-cleaning machines are also available for those who want spotlessly clean vinyl.
  3. Dry Properly: Ensure the record is completely dry before playing or storing it. Any remaining moisture can become a breeding ground for mould and mildew, which are bad for the record and the sleeve.
  4. Stylus Care: It’s not just the records that need cleaning; the stylus should also be kept clean to prevent it from transferring dirt back into the grooves of your clean records. Use a soft stylus cleaning brush and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.

By sticking to these handling and cleaning practices, you’ll preserve the physical condition of your records and maintain the integrity of their sound quality.

A well-cared-for record sounds better, lasts longer, and holds its value over time.

Organizing Your Vinyl Record Collection

A well-organized vinyl collection enhances the aesthetic appeal of your space and makes finding and selecting records a seamless experience.

And if you’ve got a bit of OCD going on, it’s the best thing ever!

Developing a system for organizing your records can significantly improve your enjoyment of your collection.

Here are some strategies to consider:

Cataloguing Your Collection

  1. Digital Tools: In the digital age, numerous apps and software options are available to catalogue your collection. Tools like Discogs allow you to catalogue, value, and manage your records online, offering features like wishlists and marketplace integration for buying and selling. These platforms can also help you track which editions or pressings you own, providing detailed information at your fingertips.
  2. Manual Systems: Creating a physical catalogue can be equally rewarding for those who prefer a hands-on approach. Use a notebook, index cards, or a spreadsheet to reference your collection. Include details such as artist, album title, genre, release year, and condition.

Arrangement Strategies

How you arrange your records can affect how easily you find and enjoy them.

Here are a few possible methods:

  1. Alphabetical: Sorting your records alphabetically by artist name or album title is straightforward and efficient. This method is ideal for collections of any size and ensures quick access.
  2. By Genre: Organizing by genre before alphabetizing within each genre can help you set the mood for pretty much any occasion, whether you’re in the mood for jazz, rock, Goa trance, or classical. This method works really well for very eclectic collections.
  3. Chronological: Great for those who enjoy seeing the evolution of music or a particular artist. This approach can be combined with other methods, such as sorting by artist and arranging their works in order of release.
  4. Personal Preferences: You can go your own way and organize your collection based on criteria such as colour, label, or even the emotional impact of the music.

Tips for Efficient Organization

  • Flexibility: Your organizational system should accommodate new additions, so leave some space in each category or section for growth.
  • Accessibility: Arrange your collection so that your favourites are easily accessible, maybe keeping records you play frequently in a special section for quick access.
  • Consistency: Consistency is critical to whichever method you choose. Apply your system uniformly across your collection to avoid confusion and ensure that any record is easy to find.

Organizing your vinyl collection is a personal thing and reflects your relationship with the music.

As your collection grows, so too might your organizational system.

The most important aspect is that it serves your needs, making each listening session as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible.

Wrapping it Up!

Storing your vinyl records correctly will significantly extend their lifespan and keep them perfectly playable indefinitely.

Take steps to store your records well, and they will last you a lifetime.

Take care of your records, and they will always be ready for you when you want to listen to them.

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