There are two kinds of people in 2021: those who don’t own vinyl, and those whose vinyl collections are one of their most prized possessions. If you’re the latter (which we assume you are, since you’re reading this) and getting ready to move, then you’ve come to the right place!
We’ll help you figure out how to pack your records so that they’re totally safe for your upcoming move.
- Small but sturdy boxes (at least 14” x 14” x 14”)
- Acid-free paper inner sleeves
- Polypropylene outer sleeves
- Bubble wrap and/or other packing material
- Packing tape
For more packing supply needs, check out our Complete Moving Supplies Guide.
Organize Your Collection
Moving is always a good time to organize collections. Your record collection is probably somewhat organized already, but take this as an opportunity to sort and catalogue your records. Whether you prefer to sort by genre, by artist, or even chronologically, you’ll be relieved to arrive at your new home with your albums organized in a way that makes sense to you.
Your records might be analog, but your discography doesn’t have to be; use a vinyl management app or online program to keep track of things without having to keep a physical copy. That gives you one less thing to worry about as you move.
Get your records, boxes, and other materials ready before you start packing.
First, remove records from their cardboard album covers (but keep them together). This seems like a bad idea at first, but there’s a good reason behind it. Packing and moving records in their jackets can end up damaging the jacket and leaving an imprint of the record’s shape in the cardboard, so removing the jackets before packing helps to protect them.
Put the records in acid-free paper sleeves and the jackets in polypropylene sleeves. Don’t let them get separated (or else you’ll undo all that great organizing), and when you pack them, keep records next to their jackets.
Your box should be at least 14” on all sides in order to fit one row of vinyl records plus necessary padding. Any box bigger than this will also be able to fit your records, of course, but keep weight in mind as well.
It might seem convenient to fit 100 albums into one box, until you struggle to lift it! Similar to packing books, the combined weight of dozens of records can add up fast.
Smaller, lighter boxes are easier to pack and move around precisely, without bumping or dropping them, so don’t go overboard trying to use just one box for a massive collection.
Line the bottom and sides of your small boxes with bubble wrap, and you’ll finally be ready to start packing!
Pack Your Records
This probably goes without saying, but records and jackets should be packed standing up, not stacked on top of each other. You can use foam sheets or more bubble wrap in between records for extra protection.
When the box is fully packed, there shouldn’t be any extra space, so fill gaps with packing material if you notice them. Packing paper, foam peanuts, and even cloth can be used to fill empty space, depending on the size of the gap.
Test the packing job by gently shaking the box. If you’re comfortable with how secure it looks, tape it up with packing tape and label the box. Be sure to label all the vinyl boxes as fragile and indicate which way is “up”.
Move Your Vinyl
You’re not quite out of the woods yet!
Heat warps vinyl and can damage or significantly reduce the lifespan of your records, so you need to think about the temperature they’ll be transported in. If you and your boxes are moving by plane, then temperature isn’t likely to be an issue, but we know this isn’t as common as moving by truck or trailer.
If you’re hiring a moving truck, you may want to consider getting one that’s climate-controlled.
Keep the boxes with your records out of the sunlight no matter what, and if you don’t get an air-conditioned truck or if you are pulling a trailer yourself, consider bringing the records with you (in the cabin or your personal vehicle) so that they, at least, can be kept cool.
When you finally arrive at your destination, your vinyl will be in the same excellent condition it was packed in, and hopefully, you’ll have a collection that is organized even better than it was before you started this process. Keep all the paper and polypropylene sleeves, even if you don’t keep them on all the time, so that you’re ready to protect your vinyl the next time you move.