The Right Way to Store All of Your Vinyl Records, According to the Experts
For some collectors, finding a long sought-after record can feel like hitting the lottery. And if that record also happens to be worth a pretty penny? Well, that can make the feeling all that better. If you have a robust collection, however, you need a designated place to put these treasures. Unlike modern music mediums—you don't need to worry about storing your virtual music library—vinyl can be particular when it comes to storage. Ahead, two experts share how to keep your records in the best possible shape, which requires cleaning and storing them properly.
Store records vertically.
If you're lucky enough to have records you're proud to own, or simply enjoy listening to, you're going to want to keep them in playing condition. "Always store your records vertically," explains Don Inmon, the head of product and brand at Victrola. This is the most important storage takeaway, he says, since this method keeps your vinyls safe; stacking them, on the other hand, leads to a build up of pressure that can damage your collection. It's just as important, he adds, to wipe your records (on both sides!) before you play them. "Make certain you also take the time to gently place the stylus on the record, using the tone arm lever," Inmon notes.
Take your vinyls out of storage and clean them regularly.
Whether you want to clean an old record you just sourced or keep your current pieces in tip-top shape, A.J. Hall, a producer, drummer, and vinyl DJ, says to invest in a kit to use when your collection needs a little care. "Almost any record store or shop that has vinyl will sell a small vinyl care kit with a brush and cleaning solution," he explains, noting that while a thorough cleanse is not a must every time you pull out a record, it can extend the longevity of your collection—or, you may come across a worn-out gem or two that needs some extra help. He suggests applying between two to three drops of the cleaning solution onto a brush and working in circular motions on each side of the record.
Turn your collection into an art display.
Your music can stimulate both your eyes and ears if you play your cards right—which is why Hall says to turn your favorite musical masterpieces into works of art through thoughtful storage. "If you only have a few records—maybe 10 to 12—then your basic home design or big-box stores will have some sleek options," he explains, noting that he likes to mount these "vintage goodies" on the wall. If you have an extensive collection, however, you might need to double down on storage solutions. He suggests a centerpiece shelf, which can hold about 40 to 80 records; add these pieces to the walls of your living room or listening space, he notes. As for some other options? Consider a record cabinet or turntable stands—we like this mid-century modern-inspired iteration from Novogratz Collection ($109, macys.com), which is on the affordable side.
Don't forget to enjoy your collection
A major step towards keeping your vinyls in working order—beyond storing them safely—is to periodically play them, says Hall. "If you walk into a record shop and and experience that smell that inhibits almost every record store, it's because of one thing: Those records haven't been moved around in a while," he explains. "Vinyl in your home is as much of a décor statement as it is an experience. Fire up the turntable and get to it!"