If you’re a big music person, you know the best way to listen to your favorite tunes is on a crisp vinyl record. Keep your grooves in mint condition by following these dos & don’ts of vinyl record storage. Or watch our blog video to learn about it there!
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Do: Hold Vinyl Records by Their Edges
Here’s the thing about vinyl; the oil from your fingers can cause it to break down and degenerate. It might not change the sound of your vinyl records today; it’s true. But, over the years, oil buildup from your fingers can ruin their sound quality.
That’s why it is crucial to hold vinyl records by their edges when you handle them. That way, you won’t get any oils and other gunk from your fingers on the vinyl playing surface. You’ll protect your precious vinyl and the fantastic music on them, too! Below is a step-by-step guide to handling a vinyl record.
- Remove the record (and its inner sleeve) from the outer sleeve.
- Slide your hand into the inner sleeve, making sure not to touch the vinyl itself.
- Place your index, middle, and ring fingers on the center of the record’s label.
- Place your thumb on the outer edge of the record.
- Carefully slide the record out of the inner sleeve, making sure to avoid touching the surface.
- Place the record on your favorite player and enjoy.
Don’t: Store Dusty Vinyl Records
There are many reasons to clean your vinyl records, no doubt. One of the most crucial is to preserve the sound quality of your records. Dust and dirt are the banes of vinyl and your record player’s stylus, too. Playing them while they’re dusty can wear down the stylus and the record’s grooves. In short, when it comes to vinyl record storage, keeping dust off of them is critical. One of the best ways to do that is the simplest: never store your vinyl records if they’re dusty.
Do: Store Vinyl Records Standing Up
You’ve likely seen it a thousand times; vinyl records on a shelf leaning over at an angle. This position might not look like it’s doing any damage, but it can over months and years. Storing your records at a slant warps them due to uneven pressure on the vinyl. That’s why keeping vinyl records in a completely vertical, upright position is crucial.
STORAGE TIP: Use plastic milk crates to store your vinyl records upright.
Milk crates fit large vinyl records, allowing you to store them standing straight up. You can also purchase crate dividers if you don’t have enough records to fill the crate. It’s one of the best vinyl record storage solutions, especially if you store your vinyl records in a storage unit.
Don’t: Store Vinyl Records Without a Sleeve
A vinyl record’s dust sleeve serves a valuable purpose; to keep it from getting scratched. If you store your records directly in the outer jacket, you risk degradation in sound quality. It makes it difficult to pick up your records without touching them with your fingertips. (A no-no we covered already.) In short, always store your vinyl with the dust sleeve correctly in place.
Do: Use Shelving Made Specifically for Vinyl
There are many different ways to store vinyl records. However, vinyl experts recommend purchasing shelving made specifically for records. Below are a few of the reasons why:
- The shelves will be stronger to support the weight of the vinyl records.
- The shelves will fit your vinyl perfectly front to back and top to bottom.
- Shelves made specifically for records typically look and function the best.
- Vinyl records shelving units are typically safer, especially if kids are around.
STORAGE TIP: Use shelving designed for records in your storage unit to preserve the longevity of your vinyl. We suggest somewhere like Urban Outfitters for ultra cute units.
Are you planning to store your vinyl records in a storage unit? If yes, remember to store them upright while they’re in storage. A great way to do that is to use the previously mentioned shelving made for records. Easy to move around, record shelving also gives you quick access to your favorite records.
Don’t: Store Records Somewhere Above 80 F
Here’s the thing; vinyl melts, warps, and twists if the temperature gets too hot. That could be problematic if you need to store your vinyl records in a storage unit. If the temps get extremely hot, it could seriously damage your entire collection.
Temperature controlled units are, in our opinion, the best vinyl record storage solution. In a temperature controlled storage unit, the temperature never gets extremely hot. (It doesn’t get freezing, either.) That’s excellent news when storing vinyl records in a storage unit. It means your precious vinyl will stay in pristine condition, even over the long term.
Read more lifestyle tips on the SecurCare blog!
We originally published this post on 10/29/14. We updated it on 12/15/21.