Very Best Ways to Store and Display Your Records, According to a Vinyl Expert

The best vinyl sleeves and storage tips for keeping your records happy.

We’re trying to be better vinyl daddies. After years of collecting everything from John Denver and The Muppets to rare Kate Bush albums, we realized we can no longer sit idly by while the bong bubbles and the sun melts our precious LPs, which are starting to become our only form of viable financial collateral in these recession-edging times. 

A lot of my friends collect vinyl on a spectrum of intensity. I noticed that my friend Scott (a musician, coder, and vintage electronics/film equipment enthusiast) stores his medium-sized record collection in a sturdy trunk; my pal Caleb (who founded the label Sacred Bones) is a bit more intense with the storage situation for his room-sized collection, and told me he stores his albums “with the record and inner sleeve outside of the jacket, housed in a plastic sleeve.” And to think I’ve been leaving my albums in their OG packaging on my dresser? Straight to jail.

In order to put an end to my foolishness, and start giving my humble record collection the TLC it deserves, VICE spoke to Chris Carmena, a bonafide vinyl laird and the general manager from one of the country’s most hallowed vinyl institutions, Amoeba Music in Los Angeles. Whether you’re trying to store 10 or 100 records, Carmena gave us his tips for the best storage and display solutions to keep the good times spinning (without scratches). 

Load up on protective plastic outer sleeves 

“Using a protective plastic outer sleeve on each record is a must,” Carmena says. “This protects the jacket from oils on your hands, dust, and other elements that can cause damage and wear.” Samsill and Claev make 50-packs of sleeves, and the former has amassed a 4.7-star average rating on Amazon from over 750 reviews. “Excellent value for the money,” one reviewer writes. “Think of these [as] card sleeves, if you’ve ever sleeved valuable trading cards. They’re thick enough to protect the album cover, which is all you need.”

Replace those inner paper sleeves

“I highly recommend replacing your paper inner sleeves with a premium, three-ply, anti-static inner sleeve like the ones made by Mobile Fidelity,” Carmena says. “Paper inner sleeves can tear, and when they do, they can scratch your records as they move in and out of them.” Mobile Fidelity’s 50-pack has an impressive 4.9-star average rating on Amazon from over 5,600 reviews. “This is what I was looking for,” one reviewer writes. “I still have an original Pink Floyd DSM Original Master Recording, which I purchased when it was released in 1979 by Mobile Fidelity Sound labs. It contained this same inner sleeve that you can now buy on Amazon.” 

The best record player stands for under $100 

Carmena also says that above all, you should store your records in a cool, dry place. “Keep them out of direct sunlight and away from drinks or other liquids,” he says, “[because] over time, sunlight can cause the artwork on the cover to fade, and heat can warp the vinyl.” You’ll also want to make sure that your records aren’t packed too tightly, because “too much pressure can warp your vinyl and create ring wear on the outside of the jacket.” 

If you’re storing a smaller collection, this sturdy bamboo stand-by Record-Happy has a 4.5-star average rating on Amazon and ample space for your record player thanks to its 25-inch-long top. 

The beauty of this cherry-coloured stand is that it comes with a few different compartments for your records, which will keep them all from potentially leaning against each other with too much weight—and at $79, it’s one of the most affordable options out there. 

Keep it secret, keep it safe. Our record collection is our most precious treasure, and it deserves a chest that can protect it from nasty rays of sunlight. 

If you’re not trying to load up on another clunky piece of furniture, this metal storage stand is $45 off at Urban Outfitters and a great option for the more casual collector. “It’s the perfect size for my room,” one reviewer writes, “and the colour is just like in the picture. [I’m] able to fit two vinyls in each slot, and the final result looks super full and cool!”

The more storage, the better. This olive green stand by Novogratz has earned a 4.6-star average rating on Amazon, where reviewers are saying the assembly is easy, the construction is sturdy, and that “it perfectly fit the specific size [needed] to also have our stereo thing go with it so we can play records through our speakers.” 

The best large record player stands

This walnut Modway media stand has the kind of mid-century modern flourishes—Googie legs forever—that will give your living room/bedroom/foyer a more elevated feel. 

There are three kinds of people who own this 4.5-star average-rated trunk on Amazon: vinyl snobs, Dexter, and members of the Magic Castle. Which one(s) will you be? 

Happy spinning.

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