If you are ready to retire your record collections for new digital options but aren't quite ready to part with your collection, then placing them into a self-storage unit is a good compromise. As long as you follow these steps, your records won't suffer any damage and will still sound great when you retrieve them from the storage unit.
1. Clean Everything
Never store dirty records. Dust and fingerprints on the vinyl can cause damages and micro-scratches over time. Dust all the records with a soft-bristled record brush. If there are fingerprints or soil that can't be whisked away with the brush, then carefully wipe down each record using a microfiber cloth and record cleaning solution. Always wipe in a circular motion around the record to avoid scratches. Sleeves may also need to be carefully wiped down.
2. Protect the Sleeves
One issue in storage is that stacking records together will sometimes cause damage to affect the sleeves. The images may become worn or they may even stick together. Acid-free tissue paper or acid-free sleeve protectors can solve the problem. Either slip a piece of tissue between each record sleeve or place the sleeve into a protector, depending on which item you chose.
3. Choose the Right Container
Cardboard boxes provide one solution but keep in mind that cardboard can get wet or degrade over time. If you opt for cardboard, then make sure it is durable and the bottom is well taped. Milk crates make another good option, but they don't have lids. Plastic storage tubs provide plenty of protection, but sizing can be a challenge. Any box chosen should be only slightly larger than the dimensions of the record. Further, it only needs to be deep enough to store about 30-40 records, as you don't want to stack them too high. Containers with handles are a plus.
4. Stack Appropriately
Never stand records upright in the container. Always lay them flat so that the records don't warp during storage. When stacking multiple boxes, never stack more than two or three boxes deep as you want to minimize the stress on the bottom container.
5. Cushion Well
If your box is a little larger than the records or if it's not quite filled to the top, use plenty of acid-free tissue to fill any empty spots around the records. The last you want is for the records to shift in the box since this can lead to breakage.
Contact a self-storage facility in your area for more advice.
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