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How To Store Your Vinyl Record Collection - 4 Simple Steps

How To Store Your Vinyl Record Collection - 4 Simple Steps

If you're reading this you are one of two people. Either you have just start collecting records and have hit the "more than I can put on the shelf" limit, or you are a seasoned collector who is looking to lengthen the life of their pride and joy.

To the newbies, I say welcome! Your job will be a lot easier than those with already established collections. To the veterans, be prepared for some pre-storage cleaning.

Step 1 - Cleaning

Before we even start to look at storing your records, we'll need to understand where they came from and how have they been stored until now. Any records which were bought new and have been in your possession for more than half a year without proper storage, will likely already have static charge build up and paper residue from the covers. These will have to be cleaned and have the static discharged before storage. There's a number of ways to do this, with cleaning brushes, washing machines (not your kitchen one!), fluids etc. Afterall, there's no point putting all the effort into storing dirty records!

Step 2 - Inner Sleeves

Now that you have your records clean and static neutral, you want to keep them that way. The best way to do this is to find some decent anti static inner sleeves which can stop any more charge building up. We recommend using polythene sleeves rather than PVC, this is due to the chemical structure of PVC which can breakdown over time and cling to your record. This can cause irreversible damage to your records, a risk that no collector is willing to take.

Step 3 - Outer Sleeves

As with many records, the cover can be just as (or even more) valuable as the vinyl it's self. Imagine the devastation, taking out your copy of Sgt Pepper to find that it had gone all mouldy from damp. This is why we advise covering your sleeves with as much protection as you do the record. There are two ways to go about this, blake outer sleeves or regular outer sleeves.

  • Blake Sleeves - These are reseable outer sleeves which completely encase the cover in a protective seal, cut off from the dangers of the outside world.
  • Regular Outer Sleeve - These work the same way that inner sleeves work, you just slide your cover in. Of course, this leaves one edge "exposed" as it were as these sleeves do not seal.

It's not a matter of which is better, its rather choosing which covers you care most about. If you have the wallet for it, you could cover your entire collection in blake sleeves for maximum protection. Although few of us are willing to drop such large amounts cash on storage. So, it's best to cover your most precious in blake and keep the rest in regular outer sleeves.

Step 4 - Storage

You would think it goes without saying to store your records carefully. But you'd be surprised just how many photos you can find on collectors’ groups where boxes are stacked ceiling high, causing the discerning collector to physically feel the pain of those records on the bottom of the pile. As long as your records are kept in a dry, safe and pet/child (same thing, right?) free zone they should be ok. How you go about that is entirely up to you really, some prefer the nifty shelving units from IKEA which fit records perfectly whilst others prefer hard case boxes. You can go the extra mile, equip your collection room with a dehumidifier, block out direct light, install barbed wire and lay mines. For some, you can never protect your collection enough.

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