Off The Record: How to Store Vinyl
A vinyl record collection is a special thing. Unlike the music you download or stream, which is often background noise for your commute to the office or your workout at the gym, a vinyl record is meant to be savored. It’s something you listen to all the way through.
If you’re a vinyl collector, you know that by preserving the sound of your records, you can preserve the experience of listening to them. So how do you preserve your vinyl collection in a storage unit?
Vinyl records are made of materials that are compromised by heat, dust and other environmental factors. Storing them correctly in self storage not only allows them to be enjoyed for years to come, but it also helps maintain their value as collector’s items. Here’s how to store your records the right way.
Picture a stack of pancakes. That’s what you don’t want your records to look like. Records should be stored resting on their edges, not flat like the aforementioned flapjacks. Storing them on top of each other will create unnecessary pressure. Keep this in mind not only when placing your vinyl collection in a storage unit, but when transporting records to your storage facility.
Choose the Right Packaging
The first two things you’ll want to purchase before storing your records are boxes and sleeves. You can buy record storage boxes and record sleeves, but the latter is only really necessary if the existing sleeves are damaged. Boxes and record sleeves should always be acid-free.
Get Sturdy Shelving
Even if your records are in record storage boxes, you don’t want to place those boxes directly on the floor of your storage unit. Instead, invest in sturdy shelving. Specialized record storage cabinets are available, but you can easily find similar options that aren’t made specifically for record storage but are still able to do the job just fine.
When choosing vinyl storage shelving, make sure that it can hold 35 pounds per foot. Ideally, it will also have vertical dividers every few inches to disperse weight, but if it doesn’t, you can easily DIY your own.
Give Them Space
Have you ever had a bookshelf so jam-packed with novels that you practically needed the jaws of life to remove your favorite book? Avoid this scenario with your records. Packing them tightly puts too much pressure on them. Give them space, even if this means buying a bigger shelf than you planned on.
Records shouldn’t be exposed to harsh sunlight. Fortunately, this is one of the things that makes self storage awesome. You can guarantee that your vinyl collection will be in the dark inside your storage unit.
Climate Controlled Storage
Vinyl records, like most collectible items, require climate controlled storage. Vinyl records require a temperature of around 73 degrees or lower and humidity levels around 40%. In other words, they can’t be subjected to extreme cold, heat or humidity. Talk to your storage facility about the specifics of their climate controlled storage units and be clear about your needs.
There’s a reason you’re not storing your vinyl collection in a grimy frat house. So don’t choose a storage facility with the cleanliness of a grimy frat house either. Avoid storage facilities where evidence of pests is present (bugs, rodent droppings, etc.). Other signs of bad storage hygiene include overflowing dumpsters, trash and debris in drive aisles and any strange smells emanating from neighboring units.
If you’re not able to visit the storage facility before booking, read online reviews and keep an eye out for any mentions of pests, dirtiness or crime.
In addition to following the above tips to keep your vinyl collection safe in self storage, why not consider downsizing your collection? After all, the experience of acquiring records is all about quality of quantity. If you’re looking to lighten your load, consider selling unwanted records to your local record shop or online at a vinyl marketplace like Discogs. If you’re feeling especially generous, donate some of your records to a thrift store like Goodwill and give a budding music lover the gift of vinyl.