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You’ve gone through the adventure of building a world-class record collection, and kept it in excellent condition for years or decades — now it’s time to properly store it for easy access, aesthetics, and protection.
There are some general rules about where to keep your music (especially records), which boil down to: Don’t store them in any room with a lot of moisture or smoke to avoid mold or unpleasant odors. But that doesn’t matter if you have little piles of music strewn throughout your house collecting dust, or getting knocked over by your robot vacuum.
If you’re ready to get more serious about keeping your records or CDs organized, we can help. We’ve gathered a couple of storage options for both types of media that can accommodate collections of various sizes. These shelving units are designed to look really nice right next to each other, so you can get another one as your music library grows.
Once your albums properly stored, it’ll be easy to pluck one for listening rather than hunting around for a recent find you swore was right there. Whether you sort your music by last name, genre, or year is up to you, but you can’t get to that fun part without putting in a little work.
How to Organize Your Vinyl
Vinyl doesn’t have the same hard, plastic case most CDs have, so it’s prone to getting damaged if it’s not stored and organized properly. For the best results, make sure all of your records are in a plastic outer sleeve, which will prevent them from rubbing up against one another as your shuffle your collection around, or pull albums to play. If you want to keep your vinyl in even better shape, invest in some nice paper inner sleeves to keep them from scratching or scuffing if they move around.
One common mistake is keeping vinyl in some sort of crate. Not only can the albums fall forward, potentially dinging the corners or worse, the album at the front of the stack will be susceptible to sun damage over time, which will wash out its cover. The best option is to organize them side by side in a shelving unit with the spines facing out. If you don’t have enough records to fill out a particular storage unit, stick a bookend under it to prevent the stack from falling to the left or right.
1. KAIU Vinyl Record Storage
A modern take on vinyl record storage, KAIU’s holder can hold 50 albums between two clear sheets of acrylic the company says is shatterproof.
The back sheet of acrylic holds your records upright, but the front plate is angled slightly, which makes the albums easier to flip, and replicates the experience of looking at vinyl in a record store. The holder’s wooden base keeps the records from moving around too much if you accidentally bump into the table it’s on.
At 11.7 x 8.3 x 1.7 inches, it’s small enough to fit next to your turntable, which is where it should be kept. The holder’s open sides and low profile mean records can become dislodged if it’s hit with a lot of force (aka someone trips over it). Despite this limitation, it’s a great choice for people who want easy access to a curated collection of music. The fact that there’s no top to the holder makes LPs easy to grab.
2. Binder Way Vinyl Record Storage Holder
If you’ve just started collecting records, or have a modern sense of style, Binder Way’s Vinyl Storage Holder is a great option for storing and organizing your records.
The 100% polypropylene cube measures 14.9 x 13.5 x 13.8, which is large enough to hold about 80 records (fewer if you have a lot of double albums or box sets). Records are generally 12 x 12 inches, so the extra 1.8 inches of space up top will make them easier to grab and and pull out.
This holder is pretty open on both sides, which means albums at the ends will get more sunlight, but that won’t be a problem if you keep it in the corner of a room.
The best feature of this holder is the four dividers that come with it, which allows you to break up your collection into four sections. The company also says you can stack three of these holders on top of one another, so you have options if your collection grows.
3. ClosetMaid 6-Cube Storage Organizer
Record collectors with larger libraries should consider ClosetMadi’s 6-Cube Storage Organizer.
The 30 x 44 x 13.6 inch organizer is broken up into six, 13.5 x 13.5 x 13.6 inch cubes, which are the perfect size for holding records. Each cube could be used for a different type of music, and the extra depth in each one would allow your albums to be completely shielded from the sun. Each cube should hold about sixty albums (again, deluxe editions, box sets, and multi-LP sets will take up more space), for a total of about 360 records.
I used an organizer like this when I was a record collector, and was really happy with both its aesthetics and performance. The top is wide enough to hold your record player, an amp, and a pair of bookshelf speakers, so you could keep your stereo setup and vinyl in one neat place. If you prefer floor standing speakers, you could keep them on both sides of the shelf for an equally aesthetically pleasing stereo system.
At 40 pounds (without any records), you’ll want to keep this unit on your floor, and shouldn’t move it around too much. If you do like to reorganize your rooms, be sure to stick some felt pads on the bottom to avoid scratching your floors.
4. Crosley Furniture Mid-Century Modern Media Console
Crosley’s Media Console is a throwback to the middle of the 20th century, where a record player was the centerpiece of a person’s home.
The top of the console pops up to reveal a shelf for your turntable, while a door on the bottom moves left to reveal a storage area for your records. Four metal dividers help keep your collection from tipping over if you don’t have enough to fill the entire area (yet, anyway). Crosley doesn’t say how many records it this console can hold, but it’s safe to say about one hundred or so.
My favorite feature of this holder is the hole in the back, which allows you to easily route RCA (red and yellow) cables and a power cord from the turntable into your stereo receiver and outlet with extreme subtlety.
At 18 x 24.2 x 44 inches and 104 pounds, this record holder requires the greatest commitment in terms of space, but it’s definitely going to be a talking point when people enter the room it’s in. If you’re interested in more than just vinyl, you can use the storage area on the left side of the console (accessible by sliding the left door to the right) for barware or books.
Note: If you like the look of this console, but don’t need the turntable shelf, Crosley offers a record player stand and storage unit in the same family for $165.95 on Amazon.
How to Store Your CDs
Most older CDs (and some new ones) have hard, plastic cases, which make them a lot more durable than vinyl. Still, it’s important to store them properly to avoid cracking the cases, which could crease the artwork or damage the disc.
1. Case Logic CD/DVD Prosleeve Nylon Binder
If space is at a premium in your home, and you don’t want to display your CD collection, your best bet is keeping your collection in a binder. This one from Case Logic can hold 208 discs and has a durable nylon outer shell to prevent damage if you drop it. Each disc is housed in a tight polypropylene sleeve developed by Case Logic. The company says these sleeves were designed to keep dirt away and prevent discs from scratching.
The biggest upside to storing your CDs in a binder is the space savings. You can keep hundreds of CDs in a drawer, or right next to your stereo instead of on a giant rack. Each sleeve looks pretty tight, but you should be able to slip the CD’s cover and liner notes alongside every disc, which would make it easy to find the album you’re looking for as you flip through.
Another benefit to using a binder is that you can store CDs and DVDs in it in case you want to keep your movies and music together.
2. Atlantic Onyx Wire CD Tower
Long-time CD collectors — especially those with floor standing speakers — would be well suited by Atlantic’s Onyx Wire CD Tower.
The 12.9 x 11 x 18.5 organizer can hold 80 CDs, and keeps each one secure between two metal shelves. The shelves are spaced far enough apart so your discs won’t rattle when you touch the tower, but won’t hold onto them too tightly, so they won’t scratch as you pull them out and place them back.
The style of this tower should appeal to people with a modern, minimalist aesthetic. It doesn’t require any assembly, but there are two screw holes in the middle of the Onxy in case you want to mount it on a wall. This wouldn’t be a great choice for CD collectors with a lot of albums, but it’s a great choice if you’re just starting out.
3. Homfa Tree Bookshelf
Don’t let the name fool you, Homfa’s Tree Bookshelf is also a slick storage solution for CDs, and potentially vinyl. The wooden holder has nine, 14.6 x 8.3 inch shelves, which can each hold about 20 discs in standard-sized jewel cases. The shelves are tilted, which gives them a fun look — especially if you arrange your CD collection by the color of their spine.
The reason I’m hesitant to recommend this for storing vinyl is that gravity is an enemy of records. Keeping LPs in a pile can cause ring wear because the indent of the raised label of the record rubs up against the inside of the jacket. This is expedited if records are pushed up against one another. That said, this is less of an issue if you keep your records in plastic sleeves.
4. Prepac Triple Width Wall Storage Cabinet
Serious CD collectors will appreciate the expansive, modular nature of Prepac’s Triple Width Storage Cabinet.
It measures 56 x 51 x 8.75, and each of its 22 shelves is height-adjustable to accommodate regular-sized CDs, box sets, DVDs or VHS Tapes. Prepac says this shelving unit can hold up to 1173 CDs, which should be more than enough space for even the most diligent digital music collector.
The shelf weighs 57 pounds (with no CDs on it) and sits on a thick base, for added stability. It’s made out of a laminated, composite wood, which makes it a really nice looking piece for a dedicated music room or living room. If you plan on moving it around, I would definitely consider attaching felt pads to the bottom, but this is furniture that’s best left in one spot.
There’s no doubt that this CD storage unit is a statement piece, but if you want to display your hard-won collection with pride, this is an excellent option.