How to Pack Records for Moving (Like a Pro)

How To Pack Records For Moving

I started collecting vinyl records about 8 years ago when I randomly picked a Styx Caught in the Act record at a used record store. Found a record player at a garage sale a week later and the record collection began.

When packing vinyl records, there are several factors that you need to keep in mind; first, you need to know how to set up and organize your records. Then, it’s important to choose the right box size. Lastly, you have to set up the right temperature.

Well, that doesn’t sound too scary, right? I’ll be going over each step in detail. By the time you finish reading, you’ll have a clear idea of what to do to pack your records safely inside a box and into the moving truck.

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Table of Contents

How to Pack Records for Moving

Now let’s discuss what you should do in each step to make sure that you end up with a nicely packed collection of vinyl records.

1- Set Your Records Up

You have to set your records up to be protected when they’re crammed inside the tight space of a box.

The most common method to prepare vinyl records for packing is to take them out of their covers and place them in poly sleeves.

Now, that may not make sense at first glance. Why take the records out of the covers? They can provide the records with extra protection inside the boxes, right?

You see, vinyl records can move, shift around if you will, inside the cardboard album covers when the moving truck is on the road. They’ll hit the covers repeatedly, and you’ll end up with a split seam.

A split seam is what happens when vinyl records move too much that they break through the covers.

You won’t only end up with a damaged album cover, but maybe even a damaged record. So it’s better to be safe and separate them both.

A poly sleeve should provide the records with enough protection. But, just to be safe, you can wrap your records in a thin layer of bubble wrap before storing them inside the sleeves.

If you to go the extra step, you could also put your covers in plastic outer sleeves. That way, they won’t get damaged from rubbing against each other inside the box.

2- Organize Your Records

There are two phases in which you should focus on organizing your record collection.

Before Packing

Organizing your entire collection can make the packing and unpacking process a lot easier.

I recommend organizing them by size first. This makes it easier to choose a box that each particular size of record can fit nicely into.

If possible, you should avoid packing records of different sizes in one box. This can create an imbalance between the records because of the empty space it creates. They won’t be steady inside the box, which is something to avoid at all costs.

Packing the Records

Vinyl Records Aligned Standing Up
Whether stored at home or in a moving box, always align your records standing up – not stacked on top of each other.

If this is your first time packing your vinyl collection, your first instinct might be to stack them on top of each other. Big mistake.

Remember, records aren’t exactly sturdy – they’re quite delicate. The ones at the bottom won’t be able to carry all that weight and could possibly break.

Instead, pack vinyl records vertically in the box. That way, they won’t put any weight on each other, making it much less likely that they’ll get damaged while in transit.

If you want to be more efficient with your packing, you can place the records next to their covers in the box. That way, they won’t damage each other, and unpacking them will be much quicker.

When you reach your new home, all you have to do is take your organized vinyl records out of the boxes, place them in their covers, then on the shelves.

3- Choose the Right Box Size

When you choose the packing boxes, keep in mind that size is a crucial element when it’s time to pack your vinyl records.

If the box is too small, your records will be pressed together in the box tightly. This places excessive pressure on the them which could potentially damage them. If they aren’t damaged, it’ll be at least difficult to get them out of the boxes.

If the box is too big, there’ll be too much space for the records to move and bounce. The constant movement could cause the records to crack. Having empty space in a box is something that should be avoided for all fragile items.

If you can’t find a box that’s the right size, you can buy a big box and fill the gaps with packing peanuts or bubble wrap. It won’t press the records too much and will tighten the space inside the box. But make that solution your last resort.

Ideally, you should pick a box that’s a few inches taller than the records. The lid needs to shut nicely without the records sticking out. Small U-Haul or Lowe’s boxes are both good options.

To easily find suitable boxes, take records of different sizes with you when shopping for boxes (or just measure them and take notes on your phone). Then you can measure yourself whether the records will fit nicely into the boxes or not.

Organizing your boxes inside the truck can also play a huge role in keeping your record collection safe while moving. The best way to pack your record boxes is on top of a stack and then make sure it is secured from sliding off.

If you can, avoid stacking any boxes (especially heavy boxes) on top of your vinyl record boxes. You never know what kind of damage that can cause.

4- Set the Temperature

Thermometer Showing Hot Temperature

Heat is your enemy, as it can cause the records to warp or melt. Always keep them in a cool environment.

If you’re using your car to move the records, just turn on the air conditioner, and they’ll be safe. If you’re using a moving truck, then request a truck with an AC (most moving trucks like U Haul have AC so it shouldn’t be much of an issue). Then you can keep your vinyl collection in the passenger cab with you where you can control the temperature.

If you’re hiring a moving company, check to see if it’s a climate controlled vehicle. If it’s not, and that’s not an option, then I highly recommend finding a way to take your precious collection in your personal vehicle with you.

Of course if you’re moving locally, you might not need an AC. After all, your vinyl records are only going to feel the heat for a short while. Having said that, having them in an air conditioned car will always be the safest option.

But if you’re unable to pack your vinyl records with you for a short trip, there are precautionary measures that you can take when packing them on the truck.

Make your records the last thing you load onto the truck and the first thing you unload. That’ll shorten the amount of time they’re combatting against the heat.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to pack vinyl records for moving probably couldn’t be more important for a true record lover.

After all, keeping your precious records in a small, hot space where you don’t know what’s happening to them is can be your worst nightmare.

That said, if you do everything right, as detailed in this post, rest assured that your vinyl records will have a safe trip.


I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

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