How to Store Vinyl Records That Will Make Them Last Forever (Almost)
Vinyl records have outlasted time as evident in its recent resurgence in the music stores and our record shelves. But sadly, they’re not designed to last a lifetime. What you can do, however, is to extend its shelf life.
You don’t have to be an expert in chemistry to preserve your vinyls. All you have to do is to follow these simple steps on how to store vinyl records.
What You Need
- Vinyl record shelf/holder
- Vinyl record inner sleeves
- Your choice record cleaner
Step 1: Clean It
Every time we play our vinyl records, we are exposing them to dirt and dust, which leads to dust build up, which leads to skipped songs, which leads to more skipped songs, which lead to sending the vinyl to a garage sale priced at less than $1.
To preserve the life( and the market value) of your vinyl, add to your checklist the habit of cleaning them every time you take them for a spin.
For the more regular cleaning, you may simply use a static brush then dust off your vinyl carefully while they spin (but not playing). For a deeper cleaning, you may choose from other DIY methods I previously wrote.
And, oh, did I mention you can touch only the edges of the record? Yeah, trust me.
Step 2: Sleeve It
Once the vinyl record is clean and dry, it’s time to put them in an inner sleeve of your liking.
Inner sleeves with polyethylene inner lining are best for keeping our vinyl scratch and dust-free. Also, to keep them dust out, rotate the inner sleeve so that its opening is not the first one you see at the outer sleeves' aperture. You’re welcome.
One more thing, don’t just let your album drop and slide into the outer sleeve. Slowly push them into it until the other end reaches the bottom of the sleeve.
Step 3: Shelf It
Now that the vinyls are safely kept in an inner sleeve and protected by an outer sleeve, keep them in a vinyl record holder or vinyl record shelf to keep them organized.
When storing them, take note of the following tips to further extend your vinyls’ life.
- No stacking. Putting them on top of each other is a definite no-no. Vinyl records may seem to be light, but accumulated weight is bad for its form. Keeping them horizontally and atop each other will cause them to warp sooner or later.
- Give them space. A vinyl along with its sleeve may be as thin as your neighbor’s eyebrows, but that doesn’t give you the liberty to compress them in one vinyl record shelf.
If your shelf can store 20 albums but are pressed against each other, store only 15 to allow enough room for breathing.
- Avoid direct sunlight. Mr. Sun is good for the skin, but not for our vinyl records. Direct sunlight may cause the outer sleeves to fade fast and the vinyls to warp. No doubt. 45 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit should work well for this precious collection of yours.
Humidity wise, 30-40% should be enough.
Aside from direct sunlight, avoid other heat sources such as the stove and the microwave (who stores vinyl in the kitchen anyway?).
- Don’t avoid Mr. Sun altogether. Although the sun can definitely damage your vinyl records, it doesn’t mean you should avoid him utterly.
Storing it in a sun-free room such as the basement is also not a good idea as this place is usually moist and damp, which, as you guessed it, is not beneficial for your vinyls either. Unless you want a moldy album, then go ahead keep it there.
- Get the right shelf. The right vinyl storage should give your collection ample space to breathe. Also, it should not be prone to retaining static charge such as metal. Wood is always a good choice.
Two of my recommendations are Foremost 327806 Modular Large Divided Storage System for a vinyl record shelf and KAIU Vinyl Record Storage for a vinyl record holder.
The Foremost 327806 is 30” x 15” x 15, tall enough to handle 12” records and big enough to store about 150 albums in total. That’s a lot!
It also has a divider just in case you have LPs with different sizes or if you want to place vinyls on one side then books on the other.
I like this because it’s made of wood and it looks sturdy so you can probably place the record player on top of it. Also, it’s open so that makes finding your album easier.
If you want added protection, you can choose the one with the door, but it’s available for the square version only.
If your preference tells you to opt for a more open storage, the KAIU storage might work for you. It holds approx. 50 records and can accommodate all LP sizes.
One thing I like about it is the grooves in the base to make sure your albums are not placed too close to each other.
Its material—wood and acrylic—make up for modern design making this vinyl record holder a good décor at home.
Of course, it’s not only the vinyl records that need safe keeping. Our turntables should be well taken care of as well to make sure they last long.
It starts with getting them stable and durable tables, stands, or cabinets.
Record Player Table
The first one has hidden power port and a cup holder, which makes connecting to an electrical source convenient. The cup holder also makes listening to vinyl records even more entertaining as you can drink your favorite cup of joe while listening to your best-loved music.
The only downside to this table though is that a bit small, so it won’t work for all sizes of record players. Plus, at more than $100, it’s a bit pricey.
The Zinus table, on the other hand, is a bit bigger; hence you may place almost any size of a modern turntable. But design-wise, it is just a regular coffee table although it’s made of durable wood that can hold up to 100 lbs.
Record Player Stand
For a record player stand, I like Sanus Systems AFA Accurate Furniture Audio Stand although it can only accommodate record players that are less than 20” big.
This stand has four shelves and a dedicated wire management paths. This means that you can put your turntable on the topmost shelf while the rest of the shelves can be for speakers, amp, and receiver.
Record Player Stand and Storage
If you prefer a two-in-one where you can also store your vinyl records, you may check out Nexera 101012 Jasper Audio Tower. Although it’s really not made of wood medium density fiberboard, it can hold up to 80lbs. So your record player is safe.
The thing I like most about it is the adjustable shelves to accommodate different record sizes or speakers and other audio paraphernalia.
The open air design makes it easy for you to access the wires especially if you have different audio components to plug.
If you’re placing the stand on a plain, smooth floor, it may be a good idea to remove the wheels to avoid instability, especially when playing your vinyl records.
Record Player Cabinet
If using cabinets is more like you, try Crosley ST75-CH Bardstown Entertainment Cabinet. It’s 16 x 20 x 25, enough for standard record players.
There are two shelves inside, one for 12-inch LPs and the upper deck for the 7-inch ones. These shelves are protected a wood-and-glass door, which makes looking for your preferred album easier.
If you want a vintage record player cabinet, you have to find something that can hold heavier pieces. Check out Pinnacle 1-Door Audio Tower 101506. Its dimensions are also bigger than the Crosley one; hence, it can hold the older record players.
The inner shelves are adjustable so you can adjust them to accommodate your LPs’ sizes or the other components that you use along with the phonograph.
When to Choose a Suitcase Record Player
If your storage is a challenge for you, go the suitcase record player route. With their suitcase design, keeping them should not be much of a problem because all you need to do is close the case. Then you may put it anywhere safely.
Also, since these suitcase record players are only about 20 lbs, it can be put on top of any of the stands, tables, and cabinets mentioned above.
If you haven’t heard about it, try Electrohome Archer Vinyl Record Player Classic Turntable for starters. It is fully automatic, so you don’t have to worry if it’s your first time.
It can play all LP speeds, plus the ones from USB, MP3s, and smartphones or anything you can connect through the 3.5mm jack. It also comes with built-in speakers, so it's less bulk for you.
It also has a diamond tipped ceramic needle, which means it can track the grooves deeper resulting in more accurate sound.
Knowing how to store vinyl records properly is a must for us LP lovers. It’s like taking care of our daily hygiene. But since life is not always rainbows and butterflies, you have to prepare for the worst. For badly damaged records, try restoring them first before completely throwing in the towel.
But it doesn’t stop there. Maintaining a record player also means cleaning the stylus regularly and making sure the record players are kept in sturdy and durable places.