Nostalgia. Value. Listening pleasure. No matter your reason for collecting vinyl records, you’ll need a way to store and maintain them. Doing it the right way will ensure that your records remain in good shape. Here are a few key strategies:
Keeping records clean is an essential part of making them last. But don’t use rough fabrics to clean your records. Instead, invest in record cleaning cloths and brushes, which aren’t expensive but do a great job safely removing dust and other irritants.
Record-cleaning solution (applied conservatively) is a good complement. Dust or oils on a record will slowly erode its sound quality, so be sure to keep an eye out, especially when you’re about to put a record away.
Store Vertically, Not Horizontally
Stacking records horizontally one on top of the other is a bad idea: The weight can damage records over time. Instead, store them vertically, so that they rest on the edges of their sleeves rather than on the fronts or backs.
Mind the Sleeves
Records’ original sleeves will help keep them safe, but you can add another line of defense with relatively inexpensive acid-free inner sleeves. Another option is higher-end inner sleeves which are specially designed to repel dust and scratches. You can even get sleeves which go over your records’ original packaging, helping protect both artwork and record alike.
Pick the Right Container
Though they may not the best for protection or organization, crates can provide a simple, efficient way to store records. Some container outlets sell boxes specially designed for records, which may be a particularly good solution if your collection needs to go into a closet or other small space for a time.
For record-storing furniture, countless options are available, from small shelving units to large media consoles that integrate a spot to hold a record player. When purchasing, either target something specifically designed to hold records, or take measurements and see if you can adjust a piece to do so. Also keep in mind your collection size versus what the piece can hold–you don’t want to try to stuff too many records into too small a space.
Aside from that, keep your records clean, vertical, and sleeved, and you’ll be able to enjoy them for years to come.