How to Store Vinyl Records and Protect Your Collection Like a Pro

How to Store Vinyl Records and Protect Your Collection Like a Pro

By: Nicholas Sollitto

 | 

February 17, 2022

Learning how to store vinyl records properly can increase the longevity of your collection. After all, vinyl albums are very delicate and sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. If you are a firm believer that music makes the world go around, its only natural that you feel a strange sense of responsibility to protect your records from these harmful changes.  

The following vinyl record storage guide will take a more in depth look at the main threats your collection will face while in storage. This guide will also explain how to mitigate these risks and will cover several tips you can incorporate into your vinyl record storage plan to ensure your collection remains playable through the years.  

vinyl record surface

The Factors Threating Your Collection 

There are several factors that can threaten the quality of a record collection in storage. However, the three main threats are high humidity, temperature and light. Let’s look more at each of these factors to learn how they can negatively affect a records condition.  

High Humidity 

Storing records in a room or storage unit prone to high humidity can permanently damage an album collection. As you already know, vinyl is a delicate medium. It is this delicacy that produces the vinyl sound we all know and love, but this delicacy is also a weakness in some ways.  

When subjected to high levels of humidity, a LP will begin to degrade faster. This degradation can cause the album to lose sound quality.  

Temperature  

Frequent and drastic changes in temperature can also cause a record collection to degrade faster. These frequent changes may cause a record collection to swell and contract as temperatures increase and decrease. Every time a record swells or contracts there is a risk it will not return to a pristine state. As the amount of swells and contractions increase, the risk of permanent damage also increases.  

Light 

Light is the third most common factor affecting a record collection. Prolonged exposure to bright lights, sunlight or UV lights can also be permanently damaging. For most people, light will not be problem. However, if you are attempting to store your album collection in a basement near an open window, you should think twice.  

How to Prevent Humidity, Temperature & Light Damage 

Climate-controlled storage options are your collection’s best defense against humidity, temperature and light damage. These units are regulated, meaning the room temperature of these units remains relatively constant throughout the year. These units are also protected from high humidity simply because the temperature inside the storage unit is regulated.  

Climate-controlled storage units are a record collectors’ best friend. There is no better solution when it comes to the long-term storage of a record collection.  

Best Way to Store Vinyl Records in a Storage Unit 

Now that you are set on renting a climate-controlled storage option (professional record storage finder), you are probably wondering how to best store your collection within the unit.  

If you are a typical record collector, chances are you are always growing your collection. Taking this into account, you will want to store your current collection as efficiently as possible to ensure you can continue to have room for new albums. To do this, you will want to implement several steps into your collection storage plan.  

Step 1: Shelving Unit or Storage Cabinets  

When it comes to storing a record collection, shelving units and storage cabinets are very helpful. These two pieces of equipment will allow you to safely store your records off the ground. 

If you decide to use a shelving unit, you will want to then store your records within a record storage box or container to protect them from light. However, by using a storage cabinet you will have more freedom to store your records how you see fit with the cabinet.  

Step 2: Cleaning Your Records  

Before you put your records in storage, you will want to clean all of them. This step certifies that your collection is well protected from dust, dirt and other pollutants.  

To clean your collection, you will want to start by using a microfiber cloth or record cleaning brush to gently wipe off all dust and dirt particles. A record cleaning brush will be more effective at removing dust from the grooves of a vinyl record.  

After wiping each record in your collection, you will then want to gently wipe each album with a damp cloth. After wiping each LP, make sure to dry each completely to ensure proper storage.  

Step 3: Vinyl Album Covers 

multiple vinyl records for storage

After completing the cleaning process for each record in your collection, you will want to purchase plastic sleeves or a paper sleeve for each LP. These covers will allow you to protect your collection even further.  

If you are still looking for protective sleeves, check out these inner and outer sleeves from sleevecityusa.com 

Final Step: Properly Store Collection 

Now that you have placed each record in a protective sleeve, its time to properly store your collection on or in your shelving unit or cabinet. If you are using a shelving unit to store your records, you will need to purchase a few storage boxes to keep your records protected. If you are using a storage cabinet, you can purchase a few record organizers.  

Either way, when storing your records, consider organizing your collection alphabetically or by genre. This storage idea will allow you to easily locate every record within your collection quickly when you need.

How to Store Records Without Protective Sleeves

If you need to store your albums quickly or do not have the budget to sleeve every record in your collection, you can use paper towels. Yes, that’s right, paper towels.  

When using paper towels to protect records, you will want to place one sheet between each record and the others within a box. You should also make sure to place a paper towel between the outermost records and the edge of the record storage box. This method will ensure you do not scrape and damage your collection when retrieving any one of the records from the box.  

Is it Ok to Store Records Flat?  

vinyl records should be stored upright

For the most part, records should never be stored flat. Storing records flat will place too much pressure on albums lower in the stack. This pressure could permanently damage your collection and forever change the sound quality of LP’s lower in the box or container.  

Wrapping Up: Record Collection Storage  

In review, the best storage method for a record collection is one that utilizes climate-controlled storage. These storage units are well regulated and the best defense against drastic changes in temperature and high humidity.  

When using a climate-controlled storage unit, you should also store your records on a shelving unit or within a record cabinet. In addition, you should also protect your records with plastic sleeves and clean each LP in your collection before putting them in storage.  

If you are looking for premium, climate-controlled storage near you, we can help. Store Space Self Storage is your go-to for all your storage needs–including vinyl record collection storage.  

Use our storage finder to locate the Store Space facility nearest to you and your record collection today! 

writer nicholas sollitto and his sweater

Nicholas Sollitto is a content writer for Store Space who also enjoys rooting for the Detroit Red Wings, reading Vonnegut, and hiking.

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