No matter how quickly technology moves on, it seems good old vinyl is well and truly here to stay. In 2021, vinyl sales in the U.S. increased by 108% on the previous year, these skyrocketing numbers proving that music-lovers across the generations just can’t get enough of this traditional format. As vinyl enjoys yet another revival, we explore the best ways to care for and store your expanding collection.
The listening experience has been through quite the evolution over the past 40 years. From a time when the plastic cassette tape felt like the ultimate in music tech, to the CDs stacked in their hundreds in homes across the globe, every decade presented a new way to get lost in music. Skip forward to the 2020s and we have access to every single release imaginable at the touch of a button, a universe of music stored in the cloud, available both on the go and in our homes. Enjoying our favourite artists has never been so easy.
However, for many, speed and ease are no competition for authenticity. While commercial vinyl first hit the market way back in 1930 via American company RCA Victor, with over 90 years to work with, no new technology has ever quite managed to capture the power and presence that old school vinyl offers. The feeling of placing the needle gently into the groove, the subtle crackles and imperfections in sound; vinyl’s appeal is undeniable for those seeking a real musical experience.
Whether you’ve been collecting all your life or are a newcomer to the scene, you’ll want to know how to best look after these precious keepsakes. For long-term enjoyment, nothing beats vinyl, kept well it can last for 100 years plus and will outlive its CD and cassette tape cousins by decades. With this in mind, we share our top tips for doing vinyl record storage right, a guide to help keep the tunes playing for years to come.
Keep them in shape: The art of vinyl record storage
As Kim Bruun of Berlin’s iconic Bikini Waxx record store reminds us, one of the biggest issues collectors face is warping. This is when vinyl records become bent, misshapen and as a result, unplayable. So, to avoid a warped record the most important mantra is never stack. The best way to store records is vertically, side by side rather than horizontally, as the weight of the pile can cause irreversible damage. This method of storing vinyl records should also ensure that your precious covers remain in top condition, torn artwork is every collector’s nightmare so keep a close eye on your collection to monitor for issues and slide out your records with care.
Keep them cool: Creating a happy environment
Temperature control is vital to avoid warping. Always keep your records in a cool, dry place, ventilated if possible. The ideal temperature for vinyl records is around 18°C – 21°C, with 35% to 40% relative humidity. However, for the amateur collectors, the key tips to protect your albums are to keep them well away from radiators, vents, damp (watering plants near vinyl is a no-no) and grease, so think about how you store your vinyl if you’re a keen cook with an open-plan kitchen/living space.
Keep them to hand: Vinyl record storage for everyday use
Accessibility is key with any good record collection. Vinyl is designed to be played and enjoyed so rather than hiding them away unloved and unused, treat them with care but make the most of them. Create a collection that’s easy to use and sort through, the kind of album storage that’s a joy to use.
Getting organised is essential. So, do you want to order your music by genre? Era? Or artist? The super-methodical among you may prefer a simple and straightforward alphabetical system, but for those who like a little spontaneity, genre ordering will encourage you to jump between musical moods and explore sounds you may have otherwise ignored. Whichever idea how to store your records works for you, stick to it and invest in some record dividers, card or plastic inserts that can be labelled forming your very own catalogue.
Keep them clean: Protect your record collection
To keep your vinyl sparkling, the first step is to handle with care. We’ve all seen DJs gently sliding records out of their inner sleeves, this is to avoid grease and dirt from our fingers working its way into the grooves and affecting the sound quality of your music. Remember, this is a physical format so whatever lands on the surface will be reflected in playback – too much surface noise will surely ruin your listening experience. Pick them up by their edges or the central label only to avoid a deadly scratched surface and keep a close eye on your vinyl record storage to make sure that it’s clear of any sharp items or edges that could cause damage.
For a more intensive clean, get hold of a record cleaning brush, preferably carbon fibre brush, and give your records a soft spring clean around the grooves. For most vinyl records, this kind of dry brushing every few months should suffice. However, should you find a vintage album in need of an overhaul, there are multiple cleaning liquids specially formulated to lift deeper dirt from vinyl when used with a microfibre cloth. Follow the instructions carefully and you may be able to bring that classic back to life.
Once your vinyl is clean and tidy, it’s time to dress your entire collection in protective inner and outer sleeves. Start with an inner sleeve, these usually come in paper form with your record sleeves and should never be thrown away. If you’re interested in an upgrade it’s worth spending a bit more on an antistatic inner sleeve to keep the dust away and reduce crackling. For that final layer, If your vinyl artwork is precious, consider investing in a poly outer sleeve, this will stop scratches and scuffs when removing and inserting your records. An absolute must for collectors.
Keep them cosy: How to store records like a pro
If you’ve just started your vinyl collection, be warned, one more is never enough. Very soon you’ll find yourself with more records than you ever expected. So be prepared and start planning storage that can accommodate a growing haul. What should you look for in vinyl storage options? What’s the key to keeping your LPs safe and secure? Firstly, dimensions of vinyl record storage cabinets. You want your library to be a perfect fit, enough room to easily remove and insert, but the correct height, depth and width to ensure they sit neatly on view. Tylko has become the go-to choice for audiophiles on the hunt for bespoke shelving. Thanks to our easy-to-use configurator, you can create a full-wall or a small vinyl record cabinet, each section the ideal size for your 12 and even 7 inch collectibles. The robust Type 01 storage unit is specifically designed to hold a heavyweight collection, no bending, no warping, just durable storage for years to come. No matter the size of your home, Tylko’s customisable shelf system will maximise your space, a range of colours and finishes ready to complement your aesthetic.
Keep them together: Creating your at-home DJ booth
For space-savers, keeping your decks and your vinyl side by side will save space and allow for quick and easy playback – all your audio needs kept in one place. Tylko’s system is designed to accommodate electronic equipment with its handy cable management grommets and its option to create a backless unit; a great feature for vinyl storage, allowing airflow around your precious collection to avoid dust and mildew. Take some time to design your very own DJ booth, a dedicated space to dive into your music fully. Storing records doesn’t need to be complicated. Head over to Tylko to find out more about creating the perfect home for your wax.