Record Collecting: Everything You Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Ask….Part 3: Looking After My Vinyl Record Collection

Whether you’ve dedicated your whole life to the pursuit of records or whether you’re a relative newcomer you still need to be able to know how to look after your collection and how to store them properly. Here’s a quick guide to how to care for you records (thanks to the US library of National Congress) followed up with some of the different storage solutions that are out there…

Very nicely done, records upright and not packed too tightly, btw the oh-so-hipster it hurts Eames chair is optional!

Looking After Your Vinyl Records

Vinyl records are not high maintenance but do require looking after, storing them properly takes a little effort but it’s worth it in the long run.

Why Is It Important To Look After My Records?

Records are manufactured from materials that can sometimes be chemically unstable, don’t panic too much over this but records left in a damp place for example for a long period can cause the inner bag to react with the vinyl rendering the record unplayable.

The mottled effect that appears on the playing surface is due to the ‘de-gassing’ of the inner sleeve in addition PVC outer sleeves can also cause this effect, not nice….

Vinyl Record Storage Basics

Always stack your records vertically

Never lay them flat as excessive weight can warp (bend) the vinyl

Ensure that your shelving/storage solution is able to support the weight (vinyl records are heavy)

Collapsed shelving can damage a whole collection, it can also damage YOU

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.

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That’s how to do it, mmm Nick Drake and Can, N-I-C-E!

Vinyl Record Storage: The Environment

Your vinyl record collection should always be kept at room temperature, ensure that the room is dry as damp is the enemy of records.

Don’t store them in direct sunlight/bright lights as this fades the sleeves/covers and excessive heat can warp the vinyl

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

Vinyl Record Storage – Temperature and Humidity

The US 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.

IKEA Expedit range (RIP) had for years been the default setting for the vinyl record collector, however, this has now been replaced with the Kallax, these are cheap, sturdy (relatively) easy to assemble and come in a range of colours.

….you can probably get around 600 LPs/12″s on here….

If you want to try something different, why not try these?

Drop that screwdriver! Built from sturdy Baltic birch wood, these crates snap together without tools or hardware. No more worrying about missing screws or bolts, or that damn allen key. And no need for horror show wordless instructions. Just slot the five panels together to build a crate, then stack individual crates in whatever configuration you like. They ship flat and are easily portable. Piece of cake. Available from Wax Stacks
Like Wax Stacks, the advantage of these solid oak shelves is that they’re expandable as your collection grows. Each shelf holds 150 LPs and you simply add extra units using the sturdy interlocking mechanism. You can stack up to 6 units in total, that’s 900 LPs in little more than 2.5 square feet of valuable floor space. There’s also a shelf designed for CDs, DVDs and books for the multi-format freaks, available from Maple Shade
If you find flicking therapeutic (who doesn’t?) then the LP Bin might be for you. You do risk your bedroom looking like a record shop, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Three colours on offer and a record capacity of 560, available here
Are you one of those people who like to keep things minimal? Do you organise your record collection like you might a folder of bank statements? Then the Can-Am is most definitely for you. More audio-file than audiophile it may be, but with 560-record capacity and a huge choice of colours from (questionable) Chocolate Brown to (regal) Plum, the Can-Am is surprisingly versatile. Sleek and utilitarian, there are 38 modules and accessories available in the range to accommodate your collection as it grows, available here
Hey there’s Roll’s Royce solutions for record storage too you know…and here it is, from DJ stands to jazzy cocktail tables to leather LP slings, Atocha have you covered. But if it’s a boring old record shelf you’re after then look no further their Record Cabinet. Run close by the beautiful Open/Close series (keep an eye out for our console feature to come), we’ve gone for this for its classic design, the ‘culmination of form and function’ and a shelf that finally finds the perfect balance between LPs and 45s. Designed with that dream NYC loft in mind, each cabinet is hand-made, with a number of modular options available, each LP drawer holding up to 95 records, more info here – the world’s best online store for rare, collectable and out of print Vinyl Records, CDs & Music memorabilia since 1987


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  1. Guys, I’ve just found this blog and am delighted with the postings. One thing I think is missing is how to professionally CLEAN your records. I’ve gone from simple dust brushes (no results) to washing them with running water and mild detergent (incredibly, the best solution so far). The so-called “vinyl record cleaning solution” doesn’t seem to be much different than detergent. My problem is that dirt penetrates the grooves and water can take it out but the LP takes some time to dry out. I use a stand the protects the labels and they don’t get wet at all. Suggestion: an article on how YOU clean the records you buy, of course, if that’s not a commercial secret. Thank you! Fernando

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