It's easy, as long as you follow the rules.
Everything old is new again, and that includes our love of vinyl.
According to the British Phonographic Industry, people purchased more than 5 million vinyl records in 2021. That means vinyl records made up 23 percent of all albums sold last year. According to NME, the biggest-selling vinyl album of 2021 included ABBA's latest album "Voyage," Adele's "30," and Sam Fender's "Seventeen Going Under." So yes, we all love vinyl again, but with these new, physical music collections comes a new challenge: just how do we store it? Do we even remember how to store music that's not in the cloud?
Vinyl record storage is a bit more complicated than simply organizing and alphabetizing your catalogue. You have to think about several factors if you want to ensure your collection lasts. Here's everything you need to know about vinyl record storage to keep your collection fresh for generations to come.
Be Conscious of Temperature
Your vinyl likes a nice, temperature climate. According to Top Record Players, any records that are in regular rotation can be kept in higher temperatures that hover between 5 to 70°F (18 to 21°C). However, if you're looking to store records for a longer period of time, the website suggests you keep your vinyl in cooler temperatures. That's because records that are left in temperatures above 50°F (10°C) could be in danger of warping. So, for the long haul, it's best to find a spot where your records can safely sit between 45 to 50°F (7 to 10°C).
Check the Humidity in Your Space
Sorry to tell you, but it's a bad idea to just chuck your vinyl in a box and toss it into the basement or garage. That's because these two areas are prime spots for humidity and condensation, which can cause damage to the records. Instead, find a cool, dry spot for your collection where the temperatures remain steady and where the humidity sits between 30 to 40 percent. The Sound of Vinyl notes that a finished basement could work as it tends to be less humid than a non-finished basement. However, if that's not an option, it recommends finding a different room in the house where you can keep things as chill as your music.
Find the Right Light
It's not just the heat and humidity that can cause damage to your records. The Sound of Vinyl adds, direct and excessive exposure to light can harm vinyl over time. And, it notes, this is "especially true with ultraviolet light." Thus, it's best to avoid leaving your records out near a big picture window or under any lamps.
Make Sure to Keep Things Tidy
If you've gone as far as finding the right temperature, humidity, and light for your vinyl, then this step should be a piece of cake. Proper vinyl storage means also ensuring each record is cleaned before it's put away. That does not mean blowing off the dust before putting it back in its sleeve either. Top Record Players suggests investing in a record cleaning brush, which can quickly remove any dirt or dust that accumulates. It truly is a key step as even the smallest speck of dust can scratch your precious record and leave it ruined. For those looking to take it a step further, the site suggests buying vinyl cleaning solutionand wiping in a circular motion to keep records sparkling.
Don't Forget About Weight
There's one more vital point to remember when thinking about vinyl storage. Never — we repeat: never — store your records horizontally. According to Preservation Equipment, vinyl should always be stored vertically to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the records sitting at the bottom of the pile. Instead, opt for vertical storage solutions and always try to store records of the same size together, and do not lean your vinyl at an angle, as this can also cause the record to warp. If possible, also try to avoid storing records in wood or plastic containers, as they could contain acids that will leach into the records and — you guessed it – warp them over time.