How to store your record albums safely

Storing your records right will make them easier to find, thus easier to play when you want to — it will also decrease the likelihood of damage so you can play them for years to come.

How to store your record albums safely

Think vertical

  • If you think the term "a stack of records" is to be taken literally, think again.
  • Stacking is the absolute worst way to stow your vinyl albums — and it's even worse for 78 phonograph records, which were cut on hard shellac.
  • In addition to being unsightly, stacking is a surefire way to cause distortion in the grooves, warping and other serious problems.
  • The only proper way to store records is to keep them standing upright on shelves, preferably not at floor level because they collect dust much faster there.

Use strong shelves

  • Bear in mind that that LPs have a substantial weight to them — and 78s weigh even more — so it's absolutely crucial to use sturdy shelving material, such as steel or oak, that won't sag or bend.
  • For extensive collections, it's also advisable to place full-length vertical dividers every 10 to 15 centimetres (4 to 6 inches) for additional support.
  • Don't use half- or partial-length dividers, which may cause the albums to warp.
  • You can keep smaller record collections in a sturdy cabinet or in sealed boxes to keep the records away from dust and light.

Protect from heat

  • Although vinyl and shellac records can be safely stored at room temperature, they are extremely vulnerable to heat and should never be placed in close proximity to heat sources such as heating-duct vents or radiators.
  • Also avoid putting records near bright lights or in the path of direct sunlight, due to the potential of built-up heat and damage caused by ultraviolet radiation, which will fade, discolour and dry out record jackets.

Keep albums dry

Water is another potential hazard to records. Even small amounts of dampness can cause mould to grow on record sleeves and covers — and eventually, on the records themselves.

Be cautious

Never keep your records where they could be exposed to smoke or cooking grease; both act as magnets for dust and mould on the records and can disfigure album covers.

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