How to Pack and Store Vinyl Records in 6 Steps
If you’ve been a collector for several years, one thing’s for sure. Vinyl records take up a lot of space.
However, if your time has come to pack and store your LPs, there are a few things you should consider when storing vinyl records.
Storing Vinyl Records Checklist:
- Clean records
- Sleeve them up!
- Inventory your tunes
- Pack in specialty record boxes
- Store upright with room for airflow
- Place on shelving in storage with consistent temperature
Although vinyl is arguably the most authentic way to experience an album, it’s also fragile.
Over time, records can become warped, damaged, and unplayable. Moreover, the money you’ve put into collecting is wasted when your records aren’t stored correctly.
In this article, we’ll walk you through a handful of tips so you can learn how to pack and store vinyl records in six steps for long-term storage. Carry on my wayward son…
Preparing Vinyl Records for Storage
Choosing the Right Sleeves to Protect Your Investment
Before you start putting your records in boxes, prepare with our tips on how to pack vinyl records carefully.
If you’ve shopped the used market before, you may have worn, damaged, and discolored artwork in your collection. But the vinyl itself is immaculate.
Keep your albums in mint condition with favored three-millimeter-thick sleeves.
We love Big Fudge outer sleeves. They’re a snug fit and crystal clear. More so than a typical sleeve you’d find at a record shop. Give these plastic sleeves a try.
While outer sleeves are your absolute minimum, upgrade your inner sleeves for better protection. Replace generic paper sleeves with polypropylene inner sleeves to avoid dust and static build up.
If you want full protection, opt for seal-able vinyl bags instead of regular sleeves. We’ve also seen dual pocket sleeves for storing cardboard sleeve and record separately. These are true archival quality. And they’ll further help avoid impressions on your cardboard sleeves from the disc pressure inside.
Cleaning Records Can Improve Life in Storage
Once you’re prepped with sleeves, you’ll want to prolong your vinyl’s life with a good clean. Invest in a brush if you don’t have one already, and a record cleaning kit from your local record shop.
As you clean your oldest treasures, enjoy the nostalgia trip! Something you’ll never get from digital. And that’s why, you’re a physical music collector.
As you handle your vinyl, you know, edges only, right? The natural oils in your skin can get deep into vinyl grooves. Oil attracts dust and dirt over time. That can lead to lower-quality playback and permanently damage your record.
How to Inventory and Organize Vinyl Records for Storing
“Where’s my original British pressing of The Queen is Dead?!” When you’re unorganized, finding an album takes a while.
Before you’re ready to store your records, organize and inventory first.
Sort your record collection alphabetically by artist or album title. Or like most record collectors, get creative with your organization.
You could organize your vinyl by release year, purchase date, most played, genre, country, city. How would you do it? Join the conversation.
Once you’re all sorted, take it one step further with an inventory.
Why should you inventory your vinyl records? Sanity (like being able to find a record), selling (at a record fair or online), and insurance (especially for storing in self-storage). Record dividers can also help you stay organized.
In most insurance cases, you’ll want coverage for the value of your collection. Remember, some records have greatly increased in value, so do your research.
Start adding releases in your collection on Discogs, a music database and marketplace, and export a CSV file. Average prices are listed, so you’ll get accurate information for your insurance.
Now you know how to prepare, read on to learn how to properly store your vinyl records in storage, for a little while or even long-term.
How to Pack and Store Vinyl Records Long-Term
Store Your Vinyl in a Heavy-Duty Vinyl Box
Remember when all DJs had to carry a box of vinyl? High-quality, heavy-duty cases best protect your LPs, but they’re expensive.
If your record collection is in the hundreds, look for specialty archival vinyl record boxes for a cost-effective option. And if it’s in your budget, a single heavy-duty case could hold your most-prized tunes.
Air is important for preservation of your records. Therefore, when packing, give your vinyl some room and don’t overfill your boxes.
Also remember plastic totes are the worst for storing vinyl records. They create a seal so there’s no airflow. That’s not what you want, especially for your cardboard sleeves.
Keep Vinyl Records Upright, Never Flat or Horizontal
When using regular storage boxes, always store your vinyl records upright.
Stacking records flat can warp your albums with the weight, even for short periods. When you’re storing vinyl records long-term in self-storage, it’s important to never lay vinyl records flat or stacked.
Stack your boxes on shelving like a metal rack, and not directly on the ground, as another way to improve airflow. Also, consider this a risk-prevention measure when storing in self-storage or in a location that’s at risk of flooding.
Choose Climate-Controlled Self-Storage to Protect Vinyl Records
Now you know how to pack and store vinyl records, consider your storage options.
Vinyl can be greatly affected by unstable temperatures, especially high-heat and fluctuations. Your garage and attic are not ideal for your collection because temperatures can change drastically.
And if you’re thinking self-storage, a climate-controlled storage unit is an absolute must.
Climate-controlled self-storage units are kept at a consistent temperature year-round. Moreover, vinyl records are best stored at 65°F to 70°F (18°C to 21°C) and humidity levels of 45 to 50 percent.
There are too many stories of warped, unplayable vinyl from summer heat in Arkansas and fluctuations in Calgary’s winters. Don’t make the same mistake many have before you.
Learn more about Mini Mall Storage’s climate-controlled units and find one at a facility near you.
Why Climate-Controlled Self-Storage is Perfect for Storing Collections
Climate-Controlled Storage is Best for Books & Magazines
Should you choose a climate-controlled storage unit? You should protect your investments best with a consistent temperature. Like storing vinyl records, of course, but they’re also a must for other collections like books & magazines, important paper documents, and wooden furniture.
Why do book pages turn yellow? It’s a natural oxidation process due to the materials in paper. However, there are a few things you can do to slow down this process and keep your books in great condition.
When storing books in self-storage, like vinyl records, airflow helps preserve their life. And a consistent temperature, where climate-controlled self-storage can help, will equally prolong their crispness.
Avoid Heat with Disc-Based Collections like CDs and Video Games
Like books and magazines, your disc-based collections are also at risk when temperature is not controlled. The National Library of Canada recommends optical discs are stored between 15°C and 20°C. So, climate-controlled storage is a must to protect your disc-based collections like CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, and video games.
With attention to detail, learning how to pack and store vinyl records, as well as other collections like video games and books, is worth your time. Prolong the life of your records and protect the investment in your prized possessions. Consider climate-controlled storage to avoid the risk of hot summers and frigid winters ruining your belongings, and store safely and comfortably with Mini Mall Storage near you in Canada and the United States.