Whether you’re moving from your parents’ house, heading off to college, or relocating across the country, moving your sacred vinyl collection is arguably the most painstaking part of your move. Because, let’s face it: family heirlooms don’t hold a candle to your priceless set of hand-curated vinyl records. Here are some tips and tricks on how to pack your precious vinyl record collection safely and securely.
How to Pack Your Vinyl Records Well
First, snag some poly sleeves for each record in your collection. Every record, no matter how beaten up, needs an acid-free paper liner, a sturdy jacket (aka the album cover or 12″ sleeve itself), and a poly sleeve to stand the test of time in your archive. The goal is to protect each record from dust, heat, and moisture, so make sure your records can’t fall or roll out from the cover.
Poly plastic sleeves will protect them from all types of outside wear. Use caution when packing boxes full of your most righteous LP’s. You want them to fit snugly together without being squeezed too tightly, which could cause warping. Pack some newspaper or bubble wrap in the space left in the box–this will give your records some shock absorption during the ride. Don’t stack your vinyl on top of one another when putting them in a box; stand them vertically next to each other.
Moving Your Records? Always Remove Jackets. Here’s why.
This may be counter-intuitive, but many experts recommend that you remove a record from its jacket (aka the cardboard album cover) to prevent the jacket from being imprinted with an ugly, discolored depressed ring from the vinyl itself.
Take the record out of its jacket and place it vertically next to the jacket (for which you should have a poly sleeve). ONLY DO THIS IF your record has an acid-free paper liner that protects it inside the jacket. (Definitely stock up on those liners) By placing the record in a liner and jacket inside of a poly sleeve, you are also protecting your jacket from bending on the edges of the sleeves along with ring wear and other superficial nicks and scrapes.
Always Use Sturdy Boxes
There are several options when choosing boxes to pack your collection. As long as the box dimensions are at least 14″ x 14″ x 14″, your records should fit. There shouldn’t be too much extra room for jostling around during the move. Try to find newish boxes if possible. A box that falls apart is no box at all–it’s a heap of cardboard. U-Haul, the Container Store, and reusable moving boxes from BungoBox all make boxes sized specifically for shipping vinyl records.*
*Insider tip: Used wine boxes fit 12″ LP’s perfectly.
Give the LP’s a Little Padding
Line the bottom and/or sides of your box with newspaper, bubble wrap or styrofoam to make sure that they have some protection against the jostle of a moving truck. Double-thick cardboard isn’t enough to keep your collection safe. Also be sure to indicate which side of your box is “up.” Though movers and service providers generally treat other people’s things with the utmost care (at least they should), a smooth ride is not guaranteed.
Get Where You’re Going
Be it on an 18-wheeler (check out LTL freight for huge collections), on a rental truck, or in the backseat of your car, your collection will need to take a ride. There is some debate about climate-controlled vs. non-climate-controlled moving trucks, but in reality, there is no need to spend the extra cheddar on a climate-controlled vehicle. If you pack your records correctly and stack them vertically, a hot move won’t bother them. The main concern is direct sunlight. As long as you don’t dawdle in Phoenix in mid-July and protect them from direct sunlight during pickup and delivery, your babies will be fine.
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