How to store in best conditions your vinyl record collection

Vinyl records have been considered a precious collectible item not only because they store the music of our favorite artists but also because they could be worth a painting or any precious work of art. And like any collection, money isn’t the only investment, you also need to spend some effort and time to make sure your records will last longer.

Collecting vinyl records can be such a joy but also such a hassle. You’ll have to consider the fragility of the vinyl records, the preservation of the artworks, which are mostly on gatefold vinyl jackets now, and the cleaning you’ll have to do to keep the vinyl records dust-free.

Read on to know some tips on how to store your vinyl records better and to know some commonly used terms and their basic differences, like the difference between vinyl record inner and outer sleeves, for example. Here are some of the storage hacks for vinyl records:

#1 Never forget to buy inner sleeves

Inner sleeves are the key component to vinyl records protection. Vinyl record inner sleeves are the ones housing the vinyl record itself so it keeps the records from the dust and the scratching. It also keeps the record in place without moving around the vinyl jacket and ruining the insides in the process. 

When you buy albums with more than one vinyl record and you have one last inner sleeve doesn’t mean you can stack them above one another in that last one. You will have to buy another one because one inner sleeve is enough for just one vinyl record. It’s a one-to-one ratio, so don’t forget.

Another thing you need to know about inner sleeves is that it has different kinds. Different kinds of inner sleeves are made of different materials. There’s one made with paper, which is the inner sleeve I advise you to never buy for your collection because it causes paper dust, scratches, and static affecting the record’s sound quality.

Some bands use this for their album releases to cut costs from the expensive custom vinyl record pressing, so I suggest you change that after receiving your copy. To avoid such bad effects, you can choose inner sleeves made from thin rice paper or polypropylene or those antistatic ones.

#2 Add either vinyl record outer sleeves or vinyl bag too

Outer sleeves and vinyl bags do what vinyl record inner sleeves do. What’s different is that both house the whole album, the jacket, the inner sleeves, the vinyl record, and the other inclusions of the album. With having either of these two, you can protect and preserve your album copy’s artworks and jacket.

The difference between outer sleeves and vinyl bags is that the latter has a zip at the top, so it completely seals your vinyl records away from dust. This becomes a problem when you use outer sleeves because it’s open on one side.

Another common problem is that the outer sleeves might fall off when you put them back on your shelf, which is quite a hassle. An advice I can give you is to have the opening of the outer sleeve perpendicular to the album jacket’s opening. This will solve your fall off outer sleeve problem, I guarantee you,

#3 Place vinyl records in inner sleeves behind the jacket

This is really not necessary, but if you want to really preserve your jacket well, then do it. When you have an outer sleeve or vinyl jacket for your album, you can place the records outside or behind the jacket.

Putting your records behind the jacket can help avoid having what they call “ringwears” on your jackets. These ringwears are those vinyl record impressions on the jacket when you keep your record inside the jacket for a long time.

An added benefit to this is that you can easily pullout vinyl records even when you have your outer sleeve opening perpendicular to the jacket opening or if you’re using vinyl bags.

#4 Do not stack them

When storing vinyl records, you should understand that stacking them is the worst thing you are going to ever do to those poor babies. They should never ever be stacked because the weight of the vinyl albums can warp the records.

All that’s left for you to do is to obviously place them in a standing position, just like how books are shelved in library bookshelves. But remember to always set them up straight and not in an angle, like some books are.

#5 Choose a goldilocks zone

A space in your house can be considered a goldilocks zone if the temperature is 46 to 50°F. It should also be a place that is not too humid and not too hot.

Why do you need to consider the temperature? Well, you’ll have to remember that these things you’ve collected, these vinyl records, are made of vinyl pellets. In short, plastic. And we all know what happens to plastic when under high temperature, right? They melt! And we surely don’t want that.

Another thing to consider is the humidity and that’s because it greatly affects the vinyl jacket which is as equally important when collecting vinyl records.

#6 No cloth wiping, please

As much as it’s easier to use your own shirt or clothing to wipe your vinyl records clean, I strongly suggest you don’t. Wiping them down with a cloth will surely leave some fiber behind, scratches on the vinyl record, and may even create static at some point and that’s what we want to avoid.

Use record cleaning brushes instead, this is a much easier and much safer way to clean your records. If you think it’s not enough, then you can buy vinyl cleaning solutions and use a microfiber cloth to wipe the record in a circular motion.

#7 Hold them at the edges

Even with the care you’ve put your vinyl records into, with all the protective sleeves and the right orientation and location, what’s most important is the way you handle those records. What’s the point of all the other tips if you can’t even hold them properly?

So here’s the tip, hold them at their edges because touching the surface frequently can transfer oil from your hands to your records.

These are just some basic tips to make sure your babies are safe and sound on the shelf. If you do all of these things, rest assured you’ll have your records in good condition until the year 3000. Happy collecting!!!