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How to Store a Record Collection
As we move further and further into the digital age, with music now coming in the form of CDs, MP3s and other digital formats, it may be time to pack up our old fashioned record collections and store them away.
Many of us probably collected good old fashioned vinyl records when we were kids and teenagers, and continued to grow the collection as we turned into adults. For a variety of reasons, we’ve hung onto these collections, not wanting to say good bye to them. For some, it’s simply a matter of sentimentality. For others, they know that one day, that record collection that’s merely taking up space at this point, will one day be worth a pretty penny. Either way, vinyl records should be cherished as keepsakes since it is unlikely that we will return to making records this way in the future.
So how does one go about storing a collection of vinyl records so that they lose neither their sentimental nor financial value, but no longer take up space in the home?
Proper Preparation and Handling Before You Store
In order to prolong the life of your vinyl records, no matter where you store them, the following steps should always be taken:
• Records should be cleaned after each use. Using distilled water and a soft lint free cloth, gently rub the records in a circular motion to remove dust and other particles. Alternately, you can place the record on the turntable and clean it using a disc cleaning brush. If you’re a serious vinyl aficionado, you can purchase a special little vacuum made just for cleaning records.
• Records should be stored in the original paper sleeve and/or cardboard covers. This will prevent scratching and warping. If you don’t have the original sleeve, you can probably purchase them online by simply searching Ebay or Amazon or your favorite online shopping site.
• Always keep the records in an upright position like you would books. Never stack records one on top of the other – even a small amount of heat will cause the entire stack to warp. Plastic milk cartons work as perfect storage for a record collection.
• Try to keep your record collection away from heat and moisture. Places like the basement or attic are no advisable as these areas of a home generally tent to have air that is either very warm or very cold and damp.
Choosing a Storage Facility
Before you prepare your record collection for storage, you’ll need to research and decide upon a local storage facility that meets your needs in terms of sizes, prices, location etc.
Important factors to consider when choosing a storage facility include the following:
• Is the facility close to home?
• Do they or have they had other customers who have successfully stored a vinyl record collection?
• Do they offer a unit that is will comfortably house your record collection, without having an excess of space?
• Is the facility climate controlled? You’ll want to store your record collection between 7 and 10 Celsius for optimum preservation.
• Does the facility have adequate security in place? This should include the following:
• A well-lit fenced facility
• A security gate that requires a keypad code to access
• Digital 24/7 video monitoring
• Onsite security guards
• Motion sensors
• Fire and smoke detectors and alarms
Prepare Your Collection
On the day you plan to move your record collection to storage, there are several things you should do to ensure they are packed and stored safely:
1. Contact the storage facility and have them set the temperature in the unit to between 7 and 10 Celsius. This will give the unit time to reach an optimal temperature before you place your record collection inside.
2. Check each record to ensure it is clean and dust free. If not, follow the steps listed above to clean each record before storage.
3. Ensure each record is in its paper and cardboard sleeve.
4. Place your records into the plastic milk crates or other boxes in an upright position. Ensure they are packed snugly (but not jammed in). A snug fit will ensure stability on both sides of each record.
5. Place the crates or boxes on metal shelves. Wooden shelves could possibly expand or contract which would lead to warping.
6. If there is no shelving available and the records are in plastic milk crates, it will be find to stack the crates one on top of another, however, if the records are stored in cardboard boxes, they should never be stacked.
Taking time to carefully pack and preserve your vinyl record collection can be a rewarding experience in many ways. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your much cherished collection is safe and secure. And should you decide to take your collection out of storage and sell it, perhaps on Ebay, you’ll know that your collection is in the best possible collection!
If you're also storing your record player, you should check out our other article about storing electronics and if we are lucky enough to earn your business, here's some tips for loading up a Big Box Storage unit