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How to Store Vinyl Records

Listening to music via your favorite streaming service is probably the most convenient way to listen to your favorite songs, but vinyl album sales have enjoyed constant growth for the past decade. Spurred on by events like Record Store Day, affordable turntables, and nostalgia, more people are getting into spinning records and digging through crates.

Like any physical medium, though, records take up space, and sometimes you need to downsize. If you don’t want to get rid of your record collection, self storage is an excellent option to keep them in preserved condition. So how do you prepare your records for storage so they’ll be ready to listen to the next time they become popular?

Handle Your Records with Care

Before you touch your records, make sure to wash and dry your hands thoroughly. Oils from your skin can react with the vinyl material and cause it to break down over time. Only touch the edges or the label areas of your records.

Before playing or storing any record, wipe it down with an anti-static cloth or brush to help remove any microscopic dust particles. This doesn’t just help protect your records. It helps prolong the life of the stylus (needle) on your turntable, which can often be expensive to replace.

Keep Records in Their Sleeves

When possible, don’t remove vinyl records from their protective sleeves. All albums should remain in the outer sleeve at the very least, but if you’re serious about protecting them, consider upgrading the inner sleeves from the sometimes-abrasive white paper dust sleeves to ones made of rice paper. They’re gentler on the vinyl. Place the inner sleeve inside the outer jacket with the inner sleeve’s opening facing a different direction.

For even more protection, buy outer sleeves made from polypropylene. The clear plastic will allow you to see the album art and protect the contents from possible moisture damage. If any of the sleeves has been damaged by moisture or mildew, consider replacing them. Replacement covers for older albums can easily be found at record stores, pawn shops, or even online.

Store Vinyl Albums Vertically

Stacking records on top of one another can cause them to warp throughout time. Make sure to store them vertically. Similarly to books, purchase boxes that are just large enough to accommodate a small grouping of records—13x13x13 is a great size, for example.

Think about Climate

Even if you use protective sleeves, store them vertically, and place them in boxes, the biggest thing to keep in mind about record storage is temperature and climate. Humid, hot conditions are a no-go for records, and drastic temperature swings can cause them to warp. That pretty much means basements and attics, which usually have the space available, aren’t great for records.

Use Climate Controlled Self Storage Units

In most cases, records can be stored safely in a first or second floor closet of your home. If space is tight, that doesn’t mean you have to sell your collection or subject it to subpar storage conditions.

At StorageMart, you can rent a climate controlled self storage unit as small as 25 square feet or so—which will offer more than enough room to store hundreds of albums, as well as your old record player.

The best part? There is no long-term contract. When you get a bigger place, you can easily move your records back in with you. Check out our storage unit guide or rent a unit online today.

Updated February 13, 2020