How To Store Vinyl Records? 10 Top Tips

March 18, 2024

How To Store Vinyl Records? 10 Top Tips

2023 saw the highest vinyl sales since 1990, with artists such as Taylor Swift choosing to put out vinyl records helping with the vinyl revival. 5.9 million vinyl records were sold in 2023, which is an 11.7% rise from 2022. If you are a part of this surge in sales you may find yourself thinking about how to store your vinyl records.   

How to store Vinyl records? 10 Top tips. Close up of a woman hands choosing vinyl record in music record shop.

This cherished format needs to be stored in a way that keeps the records free from damage but as they are slightly bigger than a CD and take up much more space than a Spotify account, how best to store them can cause a conundrum. 

Within this article, we are going to talk you through our top ten tips on how to store vinyl records so you can preserve their sound and value.

The Art of Vinyl Preservation

There is a real artform to vinyl preservation as vinyl records are extremely sensitive to many environmental factors. 

They must be kept away from radiators and windows. Over time, high temperatures can lead to distortion of the record. UV radiation, present in sunlight, will fade and speed up the deterioration of the card outer sleeve. Also, radiators and windows can be sources of water leaks which could easily ruin a collection.

Cold is no better for vinyl as cold external walls are a haven for mould. Condensation, minimal light and minimal airflow will make mould growth inevitable, which in turn could encourage insect pests such as silverfish. Mould and mildew will stain your sleeves and grow in record grooves. 

This sensitivity to a variety of environmental factors leads to many storage areas not being suitable. Garages, sheds and lofts are not suitable spaces for vinyl because the temperature and humidity can fluctuate wildly. This will cause stress to the record and sleeve as it swells and contracts.

A stable cool, but not cold, temperature and humidity are vital for storing vinyl records but let’s delve deeper into the how to’s of storing vinyl records. 

#1: Keep Them Vertical

When it comes to storing vinyl records you must keep them vertical. Horizontal stacking could cause the records to warp and could cause pressure damage. Vertical storage prevents this and protects the record.

When it comes to storing them vertically though, you must not have them at an angle. This can also cause warping. To prevent them being at an angle you could purchase record storage boxes and, if your collection doesn’t (yet) fill it, stuff it with acid-free tissue paper.

#2: Stay Away from Direct Sunlight

We have already mentioned this but it bears repeating, keep your vinyl records away from windows and direct sunlight. High temperatures can lead to distortion and warping of the record and UV radiation, present in sunlight, will fade and speed up the deterioration of the card outer sleeve.

#3: Optimal Temperature and Humidity Levels

The ideal temperature for vinyl records is between 18°C and 21°C. As for humidity, the ideal climate for vinyl record storage is 45% to 50% humidity. 

There are many monitoring systems available on the market that allow you to monitor both temperature and humidity. A simple way to keep at the optimum temperature is to keep your records away from sources of heat such as radiators.

#4: Use Protective Sleeves

It is a good idea to change the inner sleeve that your vinyl record comes with. Although they offer protection from scratches when the record is removed/inserted into the outer sleeve, the original inner sleeve usually offers very little else in terms of protection. They are often made of low-grade paper and they could be a source of dirt, dust and acid. 

You can purchase protective inner sleeves which, made from acid-free paper, will better protect your record. 

You can also purchase protective outer sleeves for an extra layer of protection. 

#5: Handle with Care

When it comes to handling records, you must handle them with care to minimise damage. 

When holding a record it’s important not to allow oils from your hands to be pressed into the grooves. Trapped oils will trap dust and debris making it harder to clean and providing a breeding ground for mould, and cause noise when listening. 

It is important that you handle your records with very clean hands and that you hold the record around the edge and centre, keeping your fingers away from the grooves. 

#6: Clean Your Records Regularly

It is important to regularly clean your records as it preserves the quality of sound but you must do this in a careful way. A high quality lint-free cloth is a good way to remove surface marks. Using water poses risks and it is important to use de-ionised water for washing and you must make sure to dry it thoroughly.

#7: Invest in Quality Shelving

If you feel that your vinyl collection is going to continue to grow, modular furniture is a great way to store it. With modular furniture, you can easily add to or reconfigure it.

Whatever you choose, you will want to make sure that it is made from good quality material and that it will be able to withstand the weight of your record collection. You will also want to ensure there is enough space to easily remove a record from the box or shelf because this will prevent damage to the sleeve or record when removing or replacing.

#8: Keep an Organised Collection

As with anything, it is a good idea to keep your vinyl collection organised. This will help you to know where everything is which will make finding and listening to the record you want much easier. It will also help you to keep track of what records you have.

A great way to keep track is keep them in alphabetical order. You could also keep a list or spreadsheet of all the ones you own. A spreadsheet will be easier to edit as your collection grows.

#9: Utilise Self Storage

If your vinyl collection has gotten a little out of hand and you need extra storage space, self storage will be an excellent option. For a low price, you would be able to rent a storage unit in which you can store as much of your collection as you need to.

Our storage units come in a variety of sizes so we would be able to find one that best fits your needs. Your records will be safe and secure as each of our units is fitted with an intruder alarm and a smoke and fire detector. Please head to our website to find your local store.

#10: Consider Insurance for Valuable Collections

If your collection is worth a lot, you may want to consider insuring it. This will give you peace of mind that you have an extra layer of security if the worst should happen.

If you are storing it within self storage, you will have to look at separate insurance as most home insurance does not cover a storage unit. With our self storage, we are happy for you to place on our insurance policy for a small fee, which is dependent on the value of your collection. 

Securing the Sound: How to Store Your Vinyl Records

There is a definite art to storing vinyl records as they are very sensitive to many environmental factors. Make sure you do not store them near any source of a high temperature but, also, avoid anywhere that is cold or where the temperature fluctuates. You must handle them with care when getting them out to play or when cleaning, which should be done regularly. 

If you follow our tips you should be able to store your records in a way that preserves them, allowing them to keep their lasting value and for you to play them for years to come.

We hope you have found our guide on how to store vinyl records helpful. If you would like to know more about our self storage options, please click here to find your local store.

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