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What Are Vinyl Crates, and Why Should You Use Them?

If you’re the owner of a growing record collection, storage should be one of your highest priorities. The more records you get, the more necessary it becomes to have a system of safely and effectively storing each one when they’re not spinning on your turntable. 

In this post, we’ll be discussing vinyl crates, which are some of the best vessels for your records.

Why You Need High-Quality Storage for Your Record Collection

If you’re just getting started with record collecting, you probably still have room to easily store your LPs on a single shelf. However, a day is coming soon when your vinyl collection will take up a lot more space than it does now! That means you’ll need to find a storage system that keeps the records organized, protected, and looking their best. 

Here are three key reasons why proper record storage is so important.

Storing Records Properly Prevents Warping and Other Forms of Damage

Part of stewarding your growing record collection is keeping an eye out for cosmetic and mechanical damage to your LPs and your turntable. If you store your records improperly, they’re likely to become more vulnerable to warping, as well as other forms of damage that can render them unusable. 

Warping tends to occur when records are stored in a way that causes them to bear each other’s weight. In other words, your records may warp if they are packed or stacked so tightly that they start to crush each other. 

To avoid warping, it’s best to always store your records in horizontal rows, not vertical stacks. In addition, limit your rows to just a few dozen records to avoid the possibility of too much horizontal weight. 

Proper record storage methods, including vinyl crates, set your records up to have protection from warping. A crate can only hold a relatively small amount of LPs, which means you won’t end up with a massive stack of albums weighing each other down. However, the limited storage capacity of a vinyl crate also might mean that you need several crates to store all of your records.

Storing Records the Right Way Increases Their Resale Value

If you’re thinking about selling some or all of your records in the future, proper storage of your collection is a must. If your records are protected from warping, dust, scratches, and other forms of damage, they’re much more likely to bring in a pretty penny when you sell them online or locally. 

We highly recommend using some form of reliable storage even if you plan on never parting with your collection, but it’s imperative to do so if you want to sell.

Storage Can Contribute to the Aesthetic Value of Your Collection 

If you’re concerned about the way your record collection looks just as much as how it sounds, vinyl crates and other forms of record storage are definitely worth considering. A well-maintained record collection can level up the decor in your home or apartment – but cluttered stacks of mismanaged LPs can definitely do the opposite. 

When it comes to design and visual aesthetics, choosing the right storage method for your records depends on your personal preferences. You might like the look of crates better, or you might prefer shelves – or something else entirely. There are plenty of different ways to store and organize your records, so there’s no need to feel confined to just one option.

So, What Are Vinyl Crates?

Now that you know why your records need to be stored and organized properly, let’s discuss how to get there. 

Vinyl crates have been popular for record storage for decades, and it’s easy to see why. They’re specially made to fit dozens of LPs, they’re sturdy, and, best of all, they’re typically very affordable. Here’s everything you need to know about them.

Vinyl Crates Can Be Made From Many Materials

There are plenty of different types of vinyl crates out there, but these are the ones you’ll run into most often:

  • Plastic: Plastic “milk crates” are popular for record storage for one simple reason – they’re cheap. These crates have often been repurposed to hold records after being used to transport dairy products, which makes them easy to find if you’ve got a relationship with your local grocer. However, you can also find milk crates online and even buy them in bulk to hold larger quantities of records.

  • Wood: Wooden crates for vinyl record storage tend to be pricier than their plastic counterparts, but there are still plenty of budget-friendly options. Vinyl crates made of wood are relatively sturdy, and they’re often sanded down to give them a smooth finish. You can find crates with square or rectangular dimensions, but we recommend choosing square ones to minimize the number of records stored in each crate.

  • Heavy-Duty: Some record storage crates are made primarily from durable materials like rubber or metal and designed to withstand the elements. These crates often have latches or seals to keep them shut, and they tend to be significantly more expensive than your average wooden box or milk crate. However, these boxes will also offer you the most protection for your precious LPs, so they just might be worth the investment. 
  • Crates Are Cheaper in Bulk

    If you have large quantities of records to store, you’re likely to save a lot of money by buying crates in bulk. If quantity is your biggest concern and you’re not as interested in looks, plastic milk crates are by far the cheapest option. 

    You can purchase these crates online in massive sets and use them to store hundreds of records at a time, which can be especially helpful if you’re planning on moving anytime soon. 

    Which Type of Crate Is Best for Me?

    If you’re planning on storing your records in crates, we’re here to make choosing the best one as easy as possible. Here are a few pro tips to follow when choosing storage vessels for your albums. 

  • If you’re on a tight budget, go with plastic. As you now know, plastic crates are by far the cheapest storage option for your records, and they’re ideal for big collections. The next up on the price scale is wood, followed by heavy-duty materials. 

  • If you need a project, make your own crates. There are plenty of online tutorials for making your own vinyl storage crates – like this one. If you’ve got tools at home and love DIY projects, we highly recommend making your own crates out of scrap wood or cheap store-bought materials. 

  • Save the heavy-duty crates for rare records. Ultra-durable storage for records looks nice, and it’s the safest, most secure option. However, given the high price tag on metal carrying cases for records, we recommend reserving this type of storage for rare albums that need extra care and protection.
  • Want More Record Collecting Tips?

    If you’re always looking for helpful info about record collecting, make sure to check out the Sound of Vinyl blog. There, you’ll have access to a wealth of information about turntables, records, and much more.

    Sources:

    How Do Records Get Warped? (How To Fix Them) | Retro Only

    DIY Beautiful (& Free) Vintage Wood Crates from Pallets | A Piece of Rainbow

    Session 6: Media Collections | NEDCC 

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