How to care for and store your vinyl LPs.
Cool + Dry
The temperature part is obvious. Vinyl records warp easily (five minutes in a car on a hot day and your new LP is cactus) and should never be stored in direct sunlight. Not only is buckling a risk, but too much sunlight will bleach colour out of record sleeves. Sure, it takes more than one or two summers, but it will happen. So stay cool.
The dry part might be obvious; who’d keep their records in the shower? But some houses are damp, some climates are wet, and some record collections get sweaty as a result. It’s horrible seeing damp LPs stuck together and kind of green-tinged.
…Not flat (over time, you get nasty ring-wear on the sleeve)
…Not at an angle (the cover provides only so much support)
…Not leaning against a wall (down at floor level is where dust gathers)
Those born into the CD or digital ages may not realise how fragile vinyl records are. It’s part of their charm, but it also requires a little effort if you want them to last. And they will last if you develop good habits. I have LPs purchased second-hand over forty years ago, that with sensible storage, careful handling and a few simple choices, still play perfectly.
So what are those choices?
* Clean ‘em! So important, we have a separate section on vinyl hygiene.
* Sleeve ‘em! Most record buffs agree that adding a plastic inner sleeve to hold the record (often placed inside the paper inner sleeve many new LPs come in) is an important protection. High quality inner sleeves are favoured by many collectors. Check out Discrepancy Records’ range of options.
* Cover ‘em! Album covers are a huge part of the romance and delight of vinyl. Placing your LPs in an outer plastic cover protects the sleeve from damage and the enclosed disc from dust. Make no mistake, dust is the enemy of vinyl (see below).
* A kind-of-warning: some people swear that outer sleeves can cause corruption of the vinyl, resulting in clouding and distorted playback. Although there is no hard research on this, people living in humid climates are advised to check out the debate.
We are certainly not going to venture into the murky waters of how your records should be filed (alphabetical? by style? chronological? randomly?)
We are, however, going to mention storage for the collection. Obviously, this is entirely governed by how many LPs you have… and how many you think you might acquire!
There are lots of options available on-line, from cheap plastic hobby crates to boutique wooden browsing racks. Record collectors the world over use IKEA ‘cubes’, their main advantages being the range of sizes and value for money. An image search using the brand name and ‘vinyl storage’ will produce lots of ideas. And if you add the word ‘collapse’, you’ll see a terrifying example of how not to do it.
The main thing we want to add is that your shelving should also minimise dust. For this purpose, we recommend having a back to whatever you use. Not being able to afford custom built joinery, I use the previously mentioned Swedish self-assembly units, but with mdf sheeting glued to the back for dust protection and extra strength. Why? Because records are heavy and a 4 x 4 cube holds over 800 LPs.
Vinyl records work by a tiny diamond stylus tracking over minuscule bumps in the record’s grooves and converting that movement back into sound. So it stands to reason that if those miniature canyons fill up with crap, the stylus won’t be able to read the music.
More on this in the cleaning section, of course, but here we want to let you know that avoiding finger prints on records is vital. The natural oil on skin sticks to the record surface and dust sticks to the oil. Always hold your records by the outer rim. And always return them to their inner and outer sleeves after use. The buzz at your vinyl party will not stall because of the fifteen second gap while you put The White Stripes safely away and extract Creedence Clearwater Revival.
By the way, always use the little lever on the turntable to lift the tonearm when lining up the track you want to play. Doing it by hand often results in dropping the stylus and damaging the record.
We hope you have found this brief introduction to storing and caring for records helpful. With a bit of care and planning, your vinyl will give pleasure for a long time. And don’t forget the section on Cleaning!
With every order we include one of our custome outer sleeves and a sample of the inner MOFI style sleeves. Below shows our suggestion for use and you can buy these products below.
this is how we recommend your store your records