Once a vintage item from a bygone era, vinyl records have made a comeback. Many new artists regularly release vinyl records for their fans, and Record Store Day is a destination shopping day for many music enthusiasts.
No matter if you’ve been collecting for several years or several months, vinyl records are sensitive items that need to be properly handled and protected if you hope to enjoy them for many years to come. If your collection starts to take up too much space in your home or apartment, it may be time to dedicate some additional room in the form of a nearby self storage unit. Follow these steps to protect your vinyl records and store them properly in their home away from home.
Prepping Your Vinyl Records for Storage
Like anything you plan to store, records need to be prepped for storage, especially if you plan on keeping them in storage for an extended period of time. Making sure they are properly prepared for long-term storage will ensure that they will be in good playable condition whenever you decide to retrieve them.
Clean Your Records Before Storing Them
Cleaning your records prior to storage will ensure that your records won’t be stored with any debris that could scratch or damage your records over time. Clean your records using a special anti-static record cleaning brush. This is important as many other materials could scratch your records while cleaning them.
If that isn’t enough, you can also purchase a vinyl cleaning solution and wipe your records down with a microfiber cloth in a circular motion around the record, avoiding the artwork. For most records – especially new ones – these two methods will likely work just fine.
Protecting Your Records Properly
To protect your records, investing in the proper tools is just as important as keeping them clean. Whether you’re storing your records at home or in your storage unit, the following items can help keep them in great shape.
The number one way to keep records in great condition is to double-sleeve them. Double-sleeving your records means putting them in an inner sleeve, the original cardboard record sleeve, and slipping them in a light plastic bag that won’t stick to the record art and ultimately peel it off over time. Finding the right inner sleeve is crucial in this protection method since it adds a layer of protection between the record and the cardboard sleeve.
Putting your record in the cardboard sleeve alone will only cause scratches and an inner sleeve made of paper will only cause the same problem. Instead, look for an inner sleeve that has a smooth, silky feel on the inside. Many collectors like anti-static sleeves because they help repel dust inside the jacket.
For even more protection from dust, dirt, or moisture, place your double-sleeved record into a poly bag. Poly bags can come in a variety of styles, but most of them fit snugly over the outer sleeve of your record. You can even find resealable ones for maximum protection from dust.
Storing Your Vinyl Records in the Right Conditions
Now that your records have been thoroughly cleaned and protected for storage, it’s time to find the best position and place to store your collection to ensure your records last a lifetime:
What temperature should I store my records at?
In general, storing your records between 45 to 50°F is best for long-term storage. Records that see frequent or everyday use, can be stored at room temperature. All records should live in a space that has good airflow: that pretty much excludes basements and attics.
If you have a collection of older records, prior to many manufacturers changing how vinyl records were made, the colder temperatures can lead to your records getting brittle and cracking. However, if your collection is made up of newer records, your collection will be more durable in the cold, but could experience warping in warmer temperatures.
Whether your collection is made up of older records, newer records, or a combination of both, storing your records in a place where you can control the temperature is ideal. Climate controlled units are a perfect fit for your records as the temperature is kept at a constant temperature year-round.
When storing your vinyl records, it’s crucial to store your records vertically, with the spines facing out – not on their sides and not slanted. Stacking your vinyl on top of one another could be too heavy for your records at the bottom of the stack, which could lead to breaking. Storing your records at a slant could cause them to bend and warp, making them unplayable.
When packing, store your records vertically in a thick plastic crate or sturdy cardboard box that is just big enough to accommodate them. Don’t pack them in too tightly; a good rule of thumb is to give yourself enough space to flip through two records at a time. Place these crates or boxes up on a shelf or on a pallet to keep them off the floor.
Find a Climate Controlled Unit for Storing Your Vinyl Records
When it comes to your prized vinyl collection, don’t leave it to the elements. Choose a climate controlled unit from Prime Storage. Our climate controlled units can ensure your items are shielded from extreme heat and extreme cold. With an array of unit sizes to choose from, we have plenty of units that can accommodate nearly any sized collection. Ready to find a new home for your vinyl collection? Contact a location nearest you to find a unit today.