How to Store Vinyl Records

When it comes to vinyl record storage, a little love goes a long way.

It’s important to keep your vinyl records stored properly so that they don’t grow mold, gather dust, bend, warp or break.

If you don’t store your vinyl properly, your records will not only become unplayable but their value will plummet.

Another important reason to keep your vinyl records stored properly is to help conserve the environment.

A vinyl record in good shape can almost always find a loving home while a damaged record will almost always find its way to the dump.

Here are tips on how to store vinyl records properly as well as options for vinyl record storage to help you organize your albums.

Vinyl Records Storage Tips

Vinyl Record Storage Tips

These tips on vinyl record storage come from the Library of Congress in the United States of America. They store, care for and maintain a collection of over 125,000 vinyl records. If anyone knows about proper storage of audio visual materials, such as vinyl records, it’s them.

(Although in their literature on vinyl record storage, they refer to vinyl records as ‘grooved discs’ and I, for one, find that kinda cute.)

Why Is Proper Vinyl Record Storage so Important?

Proper storage for your vinyl records is absolutely critical to the preservation of the album. That’s because vinyl records (or ‘grooved discs’…cute) are made of materials that have inherent chemical instabilities.

In other words, the world is a giant melting pot of chemicals that will react with your album slowly over time and change the very molecular fabric of the vinyl record!

So the point of all vinyl record storage is to minimize the effects of the environment on the record.

Vinyl Record Storage Basics

First thing’s first, keep your records stacked vertically. That’s upright and on edge.

The picture on right demonstrates the proper way to stack records.

Never lay the vinyl records flat. And especially don’t stack your vinyl records one on top of the other. This can cause the vinyl record to warp over time.

Make sure that your shelving is sturdy enough to support the weight of the vinyl records.

Vinyl records get pretty heavy when they are stacked together. Vinyl records average over 35 pounds per foot of shelving. 78s are even heavier.

Remember that all formats including vinyl records concentrate their weight on the centreline of a shelf. This can cause some shelving to collapse. So don’t push it.

Collapsed shelving can damage a whole collection in the blink of an eye.

The records on your shelf should be accompanied by sturdy, immovable dividers placed every 4 to 6 inches. These dividers should support as much of the face of the record in its sleeve as possible.

Do not store vinyl records of different sizes together. Keep those 45s separate from those LPs and keep those separate from your 78s. And so on.

The Vinyl Record Storage Environment

Your vinyl records at home should be stored at room temperature or below. The room should be dry (about 35-40% relative humidity) and as clean as possible.

Avoid attics, basements and other locations in your home that tend to come with a higher risk of leaks and environmental extremes such as freezing temperatures or dampness.

Keep exposure to light at a minimum. The less light the better. Do not expose your records to direct sunlight or other sources of intense light.

Keep your records well away from radiators, vents and any other sources of heat.

Vinyl Record Storage – Temperature and Humidity

Now for some hard numbers for those who are fanatical about keeping their records in mint condition forever.

For institutional collections with materials having permanent value, the Library of Congress recommends to store your records at 46-50° F with 30-40% relative humidity.

Vinyl Record Packaging

Always use high density polyethylene sleeves. Any other covering will damage your vinyl record – chemically. That includes the paper sleeves that often come with the album!

Vinyl Record Storage Containers

Storage boxes for vinyl records should be made of acid- and lignin-free paper stock or cardboard.

Avoid storage containers that retain static charge. Wood over metal.

And finally, don’t stack your records too tightly together. Give them some room to breathe.

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