This is a topic that is approached often, and everyone has their favorite storage method and their preferences. However, we aim to guide you through the definitive methods around storing your vinyl records the proper way. As long as we follow some general guidelines your records will be kept safely regardless of what brand shelf or sleeves you buy. Let’s talk a little about it.
How to store vinyl records? The truth is storing records correctly is important. Here are some definitive ways to store your vinyl records.
- Your records should be stored straight and upright.
- Your records should be kept in an outer poly sleeve.
- Your records should be stored in a climate and humidity-controlled environment.
That is a summarized list of 3 definitive methods of storage and the minimum you can do when storing your vinyl records. However, we need to go a little deeper into why and how to achieve these things. We will go over a few methods and the pros and cons of each storage method and our final recommendations.
How To Store Records
Storing records properly is an important part of collecting vinyl records. If this is done wrong you could end up destroying your very valuable collection. There are many ways to do this properly and there are some steps you should take to ensure they are treated correctly.
We have already gone over which is best storing your records flat or upright. In that article, we explain why you should not store your records flat. In this article, we hope to go deeper into why and the other things you need to know about record storage.
Storing Your Vinyl Records Upright
The best method of storing your records is upright in the supplied sleeves and outer jacket, preferably in a poly sleeve. If you do not store them upright, you run the risk of warping or damaging your vinyl records. Storing them upright in a poly sleeve also helps prevent ring wear to the outer sleeve. Ring wear is when you see a white outline of the record on the outer jacket from where the album has been sitting.
Why Store Your Records Upright
We want to take the time to dive into the reasons why this matters as most people glance over it or worse disregard it altogether.
As someone who has a collection of well over a thousand records, I have spent a lot of time researching and making sure I have the proper place and space to put my records. A part of the space equation is making sure that you can store them upright. There are several reasons why this is the case. Here are a few:
- Keeps records from warping over time
- Ensures better airflow for the records
- Reduces temperature between records as heat rises
- Reduces moisture build-up
- Reduces and helps prevent ring wear on outer jackets
- Lowers risk of outer sleeve corners bending
How To Keep Vinyl Records Upright
The best method for keeping your vinyl records upright is dependent on your situation and the number of records you have. There are great bookshelves for larger collections, Turntable stands with storage for smaller collections, and even record storage containers for very small collections. We plan to go over how to keep your vinyl records upright using all of these methods. We also plan to go over different options you may have for purchasing items that can help keep your vinyl records upright.
Storage Containers For Vinyl Records
If you have a smaller collection or want a more travel-friendly method of storage then a storage container for your vinyl records may be what you’re looking for. If you do a Google search for vinyl record storage containers or cases you’re likely to stumble across hundreds of different products.
Somethings keep in mind or you were generally looking for a smaller container that would fit your records. Preferably this would be a square similar to a milk crate and actually, a milk crate makes a great storage container for vinyl records. Another option you could look at is there are specific storage cases for traveling with vinyl records. We have experience with these as well and actually enjoy them for some of our more collectible records. They’re great for keeping your more collectible records out of arm’s reach.
Keeping Vinyl Records Upright In Your Storage Container
It’s important to keep your records stored straight upright. By this we mean the records need to be stored as straight as possible, preferably the straighter the better. Some storage containers like the Victrola storage case are thin enough that even a small amount of records will be stored upright without much effort. If you’re using a milk crate or a wood storage crate this may be a little bit more difficult. You can always just add more records or add something heavy inside the crate to help keep your records upright.
Pro’s And Con’s Of Storing Records In Storage Containers
There are several pros and cons of using storage containers to store your records. Some of this really depends on what type of storage container you purchase. For instance, if you just buy a milk crate or a crate-style container you get a larger size for larger collections however there’s less protection there than a storage case with a lid. Some of the pros and cons of storing vinyl records in storage containers can be found below.
|Easy way to store fragile or expensive records||Restricted on amount of records|
|Inexpensive||In some cases, you don’t get to see your collection|
|Great for small collections||Expensive for large collections|
|Easy to move around|
Turntable Stands With Storage
One option we like is a turntable stand that includes storage for your vinyl records as well as your cleaning supplies etc. We think this is great if you have a smaller home or space to store them in. These are also really great for aesthetics. Being able to display your turntable as well as your collection in one space is really nice. There are some great ones out there that we would encourage you to check out like the Bardstown Entertainment Cabinet or the Manchester Entertainment Center.
Keeping Vinyl Records Upright On Your Turntable Stand
One of the really great perks of using a turntable stand for storing your collection is that it already comes with methods of keeping your records upright and straight. Generally speaking, there are dividers inside most of these to help keep your records upright and straight. There are some however that do not have dividers or shelving to hold your records upright. If your stand does not come with dividers that help you keep your records upright we would suggest finding bookends or even a stack of books laid on their side to help hold your records upright.
Pro’s And Con’s Of Storing Records On Your Turntable Stand
|Keeps Records Upright||Not large enough for a large collection|
|Great for small spaces|
Bookshelves For Vinyl Records
There are several options of bookshelves that you can use for your vinyl record collection. The best ones that you can use are the ones that have square shelves. Most people recommend IKEA’s Kallax shelf which is a thinned down version of IKEA’s popular Expedit shelf. We personally loved IKEA’s Expedit shelf and share the same opinion for the new Kallax.
There are other options for these types of shelves at several stores including Target, Walmart, and Amazon. The shelves at Walmart, in our experience, have been far too weak for a large collection. Some of the ones at target seem to be a better quality much like IKEA shelves and should not be a problem.
The thing to look for when you’re looking at bookshelves is that the square shelves are at least 12 1/2 inches x 12 1/2 inches. This will allow for you to have a little room to select which record you would like to pull out and allow for air circulation.
The main reason why you want the square shelves is that it provides much more structure for the heavyweight of the number of records you will be storing. The square shape provides much more strength to the shelf. The other thing to consider is you don’t want a shelf that’s too large. One of the squares can hold up to 80 or so single LP records and 80 records is a considerable amount of weight. We would not recommend going over a unit that has four squares by two squares. The larger sizes such as the four squares by four squares if completely full of records would be way too much weight for the structure of the shelves.
Keeping Vinyl Records Upright On A Bookshelf
There are some great affordable ways to store your records upright. We know that sometimes the space on your shelf may be too large for your collection to stand straight up. You may just have a few records, and you really do not want to warp them, so you do not want to tilt or lean them. Here are some of our suggestions:
- The first and best option is… Buy more records! As if you needed another excuse. We believe the more you have, the better off you are. The more you have the more can fill the space to keep them upright
- Tall bookends such as these could be a great option for a bookshelf
- A tall book followed by other books of any size is also a great option
Pro’s And Con’s Of Storing Records On A Bookshelf
|Lots of storage space||Takes up more space than other options|
|Store your whole collection in one place|
|Doubles as storage space for more than records|
|Keeps records upright|
Storing Your Vinyl Records In Outer Poly Sleeves
Plastic sleeves you place your record and are commonly referred to as poly sleeves. We firmly believe that at a minimum you should have all of your records and an outer poly sleeve like these. These offer protection against spills, floods, scratches, dust, contaminants, and other external damage. These are really an expensive way to protect your outer jackets which will also protect the value of your records. This will also help protect records from rubbing against one another potentially causing ring wear.
The great part about poly sleeves is that they’re very inexpensive and they make them for all sizes of records. This means that everything from your 7 inches to 12 inches is covered. They also make them a little bit larger than your records which helps with double LPs. When they only cost a few cents each why would you not have these at a minimum. For this very reason, we put all of our records in poly sleeves.
Storing Your Vinyl Record In A Climate Controlled Environment
There are many things to consider when storing your records to keep them in a climate-controlled environment. You want to watch for heat, humidity, light, and other external elements. We’re going to go over these and how to properly store your records. Hopefully, this will be helpful and will answer all of your questions.
Storing Vinyl Records Temperature
For many collectors, this is not something they consider. Heat, however, is one of the biggest enemies of your vinyl record collection. For most collectors, you should keep your records at room temperature or below or between 59°F to 77°F. Make sure that your records are not on, or near vents, or radiators in your home.
The main reason you want to avoid vents is to avoid rapid changes in temperature and humidity. If your records are close to vents or radiators they will be subjected to too much heat which can cause your records to warp. The whole reason we want to avoid heat is to keep records from warping. Making sure your records are stored upright and in appropriate temperatures should help prevent warping.
Humidity And Storing Your Records
Another enemy of your vinyl record collection is mold and humidity. If the humidity is wrong and your records are stored with high moisture you likely will grow mold on your vinyl records which can wreak havoc on your collection. Mold can be difficult to remove from the records and impossible to remove from sleeves and jackets. For this reason, we want to make sure that we are storing them in the proper humidity levels. Generally speaking, you don’t wanna have them in an environment that is more than 40% relative humidity. Records like dry environments.
Storing Your Vinyl Records In The Right Light
The biggest thing to look out for with light in your records if you don’t want your records stored in direct sunlight. This is another reason why a shelf dedicated to your records is better than a storage container. You’re able to keep shade on your records keeping them cooler and keeping the sunlight off of them. Sunlight can cause sun damage to your records jackets as well as warp your vinyl records. Ultraviolet light can damage records in as little as a few minutes so make sure not to destroy your records in direct sunlight.
Storing Your Vinyl Records With Air Circulation
Air circulation is something else you want to be sure of as this can help remove temperatures and humidity build-up. That is why we really like the Kallax or retired Expedit. These offer great room for breathing as the squares are 13 inches by 13 inches giving an extra inch above the records for airflow. You also do not want to overstuff the shelf so there is a little room to move through them well.
Storing Records Upright To Reduce Pressure And Weight
We’ve already gone over why you should store your records upright both in this article and this related article. However to go over it one more time you do not want to store your records flat and stacked on top of one another because this will add weight and pressure to your records. This will result in warping your records especially if stored flat and in the heat or sunlight. If you do you store them stacked on top of one another you will guarantee that your records will be warped as well as ring wear will appear on your sleeves and outer jackets. If you have more questions about this directly feel free to read this related article.
Best Way To Store Vinyl Records
As you can see there are several methods for storing your vinyl records. We feel that the best method is to store all of your vinyl records in poly sleeves, on a bookshelf with square shelves like the IKEA Kallax, and in a climate-controlled out of direct sunlight area in your home. This method would ensure the best results for the least expensive price. This would also allow you to have plenty of room to grow your collection without worrying about space.
How To Store Vinyl Records: Conclusion
As you can see storing your vinyl records doesn’t have to be very difficult. We’ve gone over several inexpensive but very effective methods of storing your vinyl records to keep them lasting a long time. Proper upkeep of your records and storage of your records will extend the life of your vinyl record collection. With as expensive of a hobby as vinyl record collecting is why not invest in protecting them properly and storing them properly? We hope this definitive guide answered all of your questions about properly storing your vinyl records.
Happy listening, and we hope you enjoyed the read.