In today’s article, we’ll be going over how you can store your vinyl records without covers. Maybe you’ve found that whatever album cover your record came with has started to decay, or maybe it got damaged; forcing you to part with what must have been a very beautiful piece of cover art. Perhaps you might have even bought a record album that you really wanted to get that unfortunately didn’t come with a sleeve. Whatever the case may be, we’ve got a few suggestions to help you make sure that your records are stored as safe as can be.
However, we do want to start this off by advising that you do your best to avoid storing your records without their sleeves. The majority of cardboard sleeves that vinyl records ship with are great at keeping them safe and protected from any scratches or potential damage. However, if you’ve fallen victim to the unfortunate mould or mildew infestation or gotten these sleeves wet, you’ll be forced to cut your losses and figure out alternative accommodations.
And even then, the best solution we, and many other vinyl collectors, recommend is to get replacement sleeve covers for your records. These can either be in the form of cardboard jackets similar to standard record packaging, to plastic sleeves that are clear and transparent. We’ve got some recommended ways to store your vinyls in the interim till you get these replacement sleeves, and some other tips on how to keep your vinyls and what to look out for when storing them so they stay in good condition.
Check out this video to learn more about why sleeves are important to keeping your records safe:
First off, if you’re in a pinch due to any of the aforementioned mishaps ruining the original sleeves for your records, you’ll have to make sure you keep your records safely for now. Place cloths or soft paper towels between your records for the time being to ensure they aren’t rubbing against each other as this might lead to damage like scratches and even gauges that’ll mess up your record’s sound quality forever. We also recommend that you store your records vertically if you aren’t already. Keeping them stacked on each other increases the risk of warping them, thereby distorting the sound of your records too.
Aside from just positioning, the environmental conditions that you expose your records too are important as well. Moisture needs to be avoided, since it encourages the growth of mold that may be very difficult to remove unless you have something as thorough as an ultrasonic cleaner or even a vacuum cleaner.
Heat and sunlight are another thing to avoid allowing your records to come into direct contact with. These can also warp your record, and are especially quick to warp black records since they absorb heat so much faster.
Long Term Storage
Now, on to the more long term side of record storage without covers. The typical replacement sleeves you can buy on the market are the plastic polybags or cardboard sleeves. Both do their jobs fairly well, protecting your records from moisture and heat. Some good plastic sleeves are the Big Fudge 7” 100x set or the 12” 50x set. If cardboard is more your speed, the Kraft Brown 12’’ jackets come in sets of 25.
Frankly, I like to think that getting these replacement sleeves opens up some room for creative projects. You could just leave papers or sticker labels to indicate what the record stored in each sleeve is, or you could even print out the original album art yourself and paste them onto the sleeves. It helps with organising which sleeve holds which record, and helps to emulate the feeling of having the original album cover art. If you bought the record as a gift without a sleeve, you might even have some fun and make a fun collage sleeve if it’s an album that you and your friend might have some history with!
However, while we’re here talking about storing your records well in the absence of its original sleeve, we do have other recommendations to help make sure that you’re treating your records right!
A good shelf will go a long wait in keeping your records both organised and properly stored, and the first of the two we’d like to recommend is the KRONNDORF Premium Vinyl Record Stand. This stand is stylish and elegant, and keeps your records arranged in a more diagonal vertical position. I find this to be a more ideal way of storing records, especially in hotter climates. If you’re in a place that just gets too hot at some parts of the year, I think keeping records resting on two points of contact helps avoid warping as opposed to on just one side. Plus, you can show off a bit of your album art since it’s a little more exposed. Fair warning, I wouldn’t get this if you’re going to be using plastic sleeves and storing it in a sunny room, due to the aforementioned concerns about sunlight. If it’s a humid room too, you’ll also have to go through great lengths to ensure that the whole room is kept dry to avoid mould growing in the grooves.
Another solid shelf is the simpler Way Basics 2-Shelf Cube Book Case. There’s not much to write home about in terms of design, but the sheltered top ensures that the records you keep inside should be fairly well protected. You’ll just need to store a moisture absorber in the back of the shelf (Vacplus Moisture Absorber works fine) to keep the records dry and safe!
For more tips on keeping records safe, check out this video here:
And that’s all you need to know about storing your vinyl records without sleeves! The short of it is that we advise that you don’t. Sleeves work the best in keeping records safe. In fact, there’s a reason why they’re the main mode of packaging when shipping records all over the world! Getting a replacement is always preferred where possible, and making sure that you take the steps to avoid getting either the sleeve and record damaged will ensure that your records continue to sound nice and fine for years to come!
If you’ve got any of your own thoughts about storing records, leave a comment down below!