How To | February 20, 2017
A copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band signed by all four members of The Beatles recently sold for $290,500. As if that price wasn’t crazy enough, someone paid two million dollars to purchase the only vinyl copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.
Now, obviously most of us don’t have records like these sitting around at home. But, plenty of people do have serious vinyl record collections that would be a huge pain to replace if lost or damaged. So, in this post, we’re going to tell you how to store vinyl records to keep them looking and sounding awesome!
Safely storing vinyl records starts with your sleeves. No, not your shirt sleeves– the inner paper sleeves that protect your records from scuffs and scratches when you slide them in and out of the LP jacket.
If you mostly buy brand new vinyl records, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about. But, if you also like to collect used, vintage LPs, you know how nasty those inner sleeves can sometimes get. Ripped, bent, covered in mysterious stains – sound like any of the records in your collection?
If so, it’s time to replace them with fresh, clean inner sleeves. On that note, you have several options to choose from. Here’s a quick run-down:
Standard Paper Inner Sleeves: You can find these online or at your local record shop. They’re inexpensive and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes for standard 12” LPs or your 7” singles.
Paper / Poly Inner Sleeves: These guys look like standard paper inner sleeves, but they’re lined with plastic on the inside to reduce surface scuffing. They’re slightly more expensive, but still an affordable option.
Archival Quality Inner Sleeves: These are three-ply, anti-static, premium sleeves (similar to rice paper) and work with both LPs and laser discs. You’ll pay considerably more for them, but they should last longer than standard paper sleeves.
Vinyl LP jackets take a ton of abuse. And, in a sense, that’s their main job. However, keeping your LP jackets in near-mint condition is important if you want to retain the value of your albums. That’s why we recommend using outer plastic sleeves to protect your record jackets when not in use. Outer sleeves can prevent wear and tear from normal handling and can also help reduce an effect called “ring wear.”
Again, these are super affordable and can be purchased in bulk online or from your neighborhood record store. Outer plastic sleeves are also great for keeping dust and debris away from your vinyl, which can help your records sound better and extend the life of your stylus.
Most vinyl record enthusiasts already know that you should never stack your records for a prolonged period of time. Not only can this accelerate the appearance of ring wear, but it can also lead to irreparable record warping. Instead, stand your records up tall on a shelf or bookcase and avoid packing them in too tightly. As a rule of thumb, if you can’t pull out a single record without disturbing the albums on either side, you’re probably packing them too tightly. Check out Ikea for a great record shelf that will fit your albums like a glove.
These three weather-related conditions are the mortal enemies of vinyl record collections everywhere. Exposure to extreme heat or even direct sunlight could lead to warping, so be careful where you place your record shelving. Take care to avoid vents, windows or other sources of heat. Humidity and moisture, on the other hand, can cause your LP jackets to swell, bubble and even mildew. In other words, don’t put them in your basement, unless you’ve taken steps to ensure a dry environment.
Unlike CDs, MP3s or streaming music services, storing vinyl records takes up lots of physical space. If you find that you’re running out of room for your LPs, you can always “thin the herd” and sell the albums you no longer listen to. Eventually, though, you may get to a point where you simply don’t have any more records you could possibly bear to part with. That’s when it’s time to find a self storage unit near you. But, you don’t want just any self storage unit. You’ll definitely want a climate controlled storage unit that can keep your collection at a constant, vinyl-friendly temperature.
Hey, we get it. You’re passionate about your record collection, and you want to make sure it’s stored properly. At ezStorage, we’re just as passionate about providing vinyl enthusiasts with convenient, affordable self storage units for their albums and other music memorabilia. For more information, contact a location near you. Otherwise, keeps those records spinning!