How to Move Your Vinyl Record Collection Cross-Country

It’s taken years to curate and care for your precious vinyl record collection. Now, you have to relocate to another state, and you’ll be bringing dozens, maybe even hundreds, of albums with you.

Don’t even think about stacking those retro records in a box and hoping for the best. The last thing you want when you pull your classic LPs from moving boxes is to find the discs warped or scratched and the jacket spines torn.

“Knowing what you have, considering how long the move will take, choosing the right supplies and enlisting any help needed makes the all the difference,” says Matt Gluskin, who maintains Wax Times, a blog devoted to vinyl records.

Before you start packing your vinyl collection, spin through these tips on how to move your records safely so you can kick back and enjoy all those classic tunes in your new home. If you plan on storing your collection, be sure to check out the steps in outlined in our vinyl storage guide.

1. Create a Catalog.

Cataloging your collection allows you to track albums to make sure each one arrives intact at your new destination. The record catalogue is also invaluable if you opt to insure your vinyl, says Gluskin. You can catalog your collection for free at discographic database Discogs or use apps like MusicBuddy, Music Collector or VinylWall.

2. Prepare Records for Transport

Improper prepping can cause record damage during a move, says Gluskin. He suggests using outer sleeves: clear, plastic covers to protect albums from rubbing together and causing wear and tear on the jackets. When it comes to inner sleeves, it’s a good idea to upgrade from paper to polyethylene (poly) sleeves to protect vinyl from scuffing, static build-up and dust.

3. Use the Right Boxes.

The perfect-sized box for moving LPs is U-Haul’s “small,” which is” 1.5 cubic feet, says Keith Ulrey, owner of Microgroove in Tampa. “The albums fit perfectly,” says Ulrey.

You can put anywhere from 80 to 100 albums in one standard small moving box. You can also opt for lidded boxes specifically designed for storing records. Avoid stacking more than three boxes high, which can lead to a toppled mess and also puts too much pressure on records in the lower boxes.

4. Pack Properly.

“I try to have a little wiggle room when I pack. You don’t want a box that’s going to split at the seams,” says Gluskin.

Fill the box to the point where it’s going to be a rigid, solid mass.

“You never want a situation where there are only a couple of records in box, since they will slide around and become unstable,” says Gluskin.

If you don’t have enough LPs to fill a box, use tissue paper, bubble wrap or some other stabilizing material to avoid movement.

5. Label Boxes and Take Photos.

You can organize your collection in whatever way makes sense for you such as by genre and/or alphabetizing.

“If you’re looking at more long-term storage solution for after your move, taking a photo of the contents of each box can be valuable,” says Gluskin. “That way, if you have to find an album later, you’ll have something you can look at without opening boxes.”

6. Keep Records Cool.

Allison Constantino of Orlando, FL, has moved her collection of 100 vinyl records cross-country five times, including one trip of 1,500 miles from San Antonio, TX, to Pittsburgh, PA.

“Records cannot tolerate heat,” says Constantino, “If moving in the summer, they must stay in an air-conditioned space and not in the back of a moving van.”

Place album boxes in your car or the front cab of a rented moving truck. In a hot climate, time your move for the coolest part of the day.

7. Consider Insuring Collections.

Gluskin insures his vinyl collection, which is comprised of around 2,000 albums. If you plan to insure your collection for a move, most insurance providers will ask for an estimate of value and a list of contents, he says. You can generally purchase additional insurance coverage from most moving companies.

Make sure the truck is climate controlled, and advise the moving company of your collection’s fragility. If you have numerous boxes, request that movers tape them to a pallet to avoid toppling.

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