If you’re old enough to have owned vinyl LPs—the serving platter-size discs, the oh-so-delicate cuing up of the needle, the novel-length write up and accompanying collection of photos on the back—then you’re old enough to know that you don’t just leave them lying around.
If you’re young enough that you’ve never had the pleasure of owning any vinyl records, well then you don’t know what you’re missing. There is a certain amount of reverence for the music when one wrong move could result in an unplayable record. In these days of mp3s and easy downloads, you can treat the medium as harshly as your mirror image on a bad hair day and still the music plays.
So if you’re still hanging on to your old albums in case the ‘70s ever comes back, a) you might want to look into behavioral therapy for that, and b) if that doesn’t work out, then here are a few tips to storing vinyl records properly:
Store Them Without Those Pesky Covers
The ‘60s and ‘70s were clearly times of wanton disdain for anything that resembled rules, authority, or combed hair, so it goes without saying that people back then just Frisbee-whipped their records across the room when they were done listening, right? Thus it makes sense to store your records in a way that pays homage to the era from which they came. Who needs all those pesky album covers when you’re paying by the square foot for a self-storage unit? In this age of collective ADD and drive-through caffeine dispensers, no one has time to admire cool album art or lengthy liner notes anyway.
Stack Your Vinyl Records
Now that you’ve gotten rid of those cardboard nuisances (a $525,000 nuisance if it’s John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy, mind you) and paper sleeves, here’s what you do. Drop one record on the floor, then another on top of it, and another, and so on until you have a stack as high as a bar stool. Now not only have you effectively “stored” your vinyl, but if you place a vase of flowers or a Jesus figurine on top then voila!—you get a nifty table top, too! If you’re worried about warping, cracking or other wear and tear, make like the ‘70s and take a “disco biscuit.” You’ll soon forget all about the damage to your precious “Boogie! Boogie! Boogie!” record.
Shun Climate-Controlled Storage Units
What are your record albums, the Queen of England’s offspring? Next thing you know you’ll be knitting them little booties and hiring a babysitter for when you go out. Pshaw. If you’re storing them at a storage facility, save a few bucks and eschew the climate-controlled units. Yes, heat will warp the vinyl, humidity will encourage mold growth, and cold will damage them—but you’ve been working with a therapist to let go of the past, right? However, if you want to get all fussy about your Mini Pops albums, then go ahead and store at room temperature or below and no more than 35-40% humidity. Now you’re just throwing away money on the shrink.
Dump Them In a Metal Storage Bin
Some alleged vinyl experts will tell you that the best position to store your records is vertically and in an air-tight container made of wood. Like the Library of Congress knows what they’re talking about. They store and take care of over 125,000 vinyl records, but they also call them “grooved discs” so what do they know? Why go to all the trouble of finding the right-sized wooden box lined with acid- and lignin-free paper when you can stash ‘em in an unused metal container? That way the static charge that sticks to the vinyl can contribute to some funky new sounds and you can wear sunglasses indoors and make people call you DJ.
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