How to shelve & organize vinyl records

Written by isaiah david
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Shelving and organising your vinyl record collection is as personal and subjective an activity as building that collection in the first place. The size of your collection, your decorating style, and your own organizational preferences will play a decisive role in how you choose to lay out and display your vinyl.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Dehumidifier
  • Shelves
  • Boxes

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    Shelving Your Records

  1. 1

    Find a safe room to store your vinyl. Your records should be kept away from heat, humidity, direct sunlight and smoke. Ideally, you should keep your records at room temperature (15.5 to 21.1 degrees C) and 40 to 50% moisture. If your room is too humid, get a dehumidifier. Smoke won't damage your LP records, but it will discolour their sleeves.

  2. 2

    Set a budget for your record storage needs. Nice book or record shelves can run into the hundreds of dollars, whereas low-end solutions will cost little or nothing.

  3. 3

    Purchase book shelves or an LP rack that go with your decor if you can afford to. Bring a record with you to the store and place it onto the shelf to ensure it fits properly. Adjustable book shelves will allow you to create enough room to store your records.

  4. 4

    Get large milk crates if you have a small record collection, small budget or want a portable record collection. Plastic milk crates are very strong, easy to move and cost very little at thrift stores.

  5. 5

    For long-term storage, get heavy-duty boxes. Basic cardboard boxes will work well, but archival storage boxes are even more durable. For even more security, you may want to buy a metal or wooden LP storage case such as the one linked to below.

    Organising Your Records

  1. 1

    Organise your records into genres. Divide your records into rock, classical, jazz and so on.

  2. 2

    Create subcategories within each genre. You may want to subdivide music by era, region, subgenre, record label or some other category.

  3. 3

    Organise your records by artist or album title within each subcategory. In the case of bands or artists which cross multiple genres, you may want to put all their albums in one section to make them easier to find.

Tips and warnings

  • Clean and air out your records at least once a year using a record cleaning kit such as the one listed in the Resources. Follow the instructions included in the kit. Generally, you will have to apply record cleaning fluid to an applicator brush and rotate the record with the brush against the surface. When you are done, let your record sit out for an hour to air out any mildew that may have built up.
  • Some music collectors may prefer to skip the category and subcategory and simply organise their LPs by album title or band name.
  • Always stack your records on end inside their cases. Do not lay them flat.

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