Digital music may hog the spotlight, but for many music aficionados, vinyl records remain all the rage. In fact, sales of vinyl records rose 52 percent in 2014, according to Nielsen.
“The best place for your records is on your turntable,” said Jim Kaplan, publisher of Record Collector News.
But if you must store your vinyl records, here are five tips for keeping them ready to rock ’n’ roll.
1. Be Careful With Handling.
The Library of Congress has one of the largest vinyl record collections in the world. It recommends that you not only wash and thoroughly dry your hands before packing and storing your collection, but make sure when handling vinyl records that you touch only the edges and the label areas.
2. Keep Them Vertical.
“If you’re putting records away in storage for months or years on end, you definitely want to store them vertically and never lay them on top of each other,” said Jon Meyers, publisher and founder of The Vinyl District.
In fact, if vinyl records are left lying flat and horizontal, that could warp the records over time, Meyers said.
3. Find the Right Container.
Since you’re going to be keeping your vinyl records vertical, you need the right kind of container to hold them. Look for record cases or crates that can hold your collection. Wine crates can work for vinyl albums if you’re in a pinch. Kaplan said book boxes are an option for 12-inch vinyl records.
Since record collecting is so popular among hobbyists, a number of storage products are available just for this purpose. If you have records of different sizes, say 12-inch and 7-inch (think 45s), keep them separate in storage boxes designed for that size.
4. Don’t Remove Them From Their Sleeves.
Sleeves give your vinyl records extra protection, keeping them free from dust and dirt. However, sleeves can become damaged over time, so if you notice that one of your sleeves has become mildew-infested or otherwise isn’t in good shape, replace it.
5. Keep Them Cool and Dry.
Store your records in a place where they’ll be kept away from the heat and direct light. In fact, a comfortable room temperature of 65 to 70 degrees would be ideal. Humidity also can harm your vinyl, so try to keep the humidity level between 45 percent and 50 percent. If you’re putting your vinyl records in self-storage, a climate-controlled unit will help ensure the ability to spin them for years to come.
If you are planning to move your collection to a new home, check out our tips for packing and transporting LPs here.