How do I move a collection of vinyl LP records?
June 14, 2007 10:38 AM   Subscribe

How do I move a collection of vinyl LP records? I have a medium (500-1,000) collection that I am taking with me on a 2 day move up the east coast in a non-airconditioned moving truck this summer. What techniques should I avoid? What do I need to be aware of?
posted by dickumbrage to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
That's not too bad. I moved that last summer with no damage in wooden boxes that hold around 120 LPs each. Where are you staying during the move if you're not driving?
posted by mkb at 10:57 AM on June 14, 2007

Best answer: I've dealt with this same problem twice in recent years with my ~2,000 LP collection. Both times, I've used a bunch of these boxes from Bags Unlimited. They seem a little expensive, I know, but I really trust them. They're sturdy, stackable, and relatively easy to carry. I've never seen boxes that fit records so perfectly for a lower price. I packed each box pretty full and taped the lids down (but left the handles open). Both moves spanned the vinyl-unfriendly months of July & August.

On the first move, from NYC to Austin, we hired a non-climate-controlled (but indeed climate-changing) Mayflower truck to ship our stuff out. Pros loaded the boxes and our other belongings, snugly. I was incredibly worried that the LPs would all have melted together when they arrived, but three weeks later, when the truck rolled up, the LPs were in great shape. If I remember correctly, the insides of the LP boxes were even cooler than most of the other boxes we unpacked.

On the second move, from Austin back to NYC 4 years later, we had a considerably smaller budget. I still splurged for the boxes because they were so reliable (if we'd had more storage space, I would have saved the old ones). This time, though, we could only afford ABF's upack service (where you load a parked, unhitched trailer yourself at a trucking depot, and eventually it makes its way around to your new town's trucking depot). We rented a 6' chunk of a trailer and loaded it ourselves. Being in the trailer really opened my eyes to how all of this works: it was incredibly hot in there, seemed like it might not be 100% protected from the elements, and since we only had a certain amount of space and little experience cramming our stuff vertically, it was a bit stressful. Plus, watching the drivers navigate the trucking yards really clues you in to the kind of beating your belongings are about to take. It's amazing anything survives.

When it arrived at the trucking terminal in Brooklyn some weeks later, things had, um, settled a bit. The professional movers that helped us take the stuff to our apartment laughed at the knotty disarray caused by our novice loading skills. Some of the record boxes were a little worse for the wear, but when we unpacked them, it was clear that no discs had been damaged-- I didn't even notice any warping. Even LPs in the boxes that had flattened a little bit (they're a little taller than the LPs) still protected their cargo. The success of these boxes is probably due to all the LPs working as a solid team. Here's a photo of most of the boxes upon arrival in our new place.

(very) long story short, those boxes, which seem a little expensive and perhaps not ideal, stood up to my every fear.

Pros: Sturdy, uniform, designed for LPs, you can sorta carry more than one at a time, volume discount, potentially reusable.

Cons: Expensive for cardboard, they tend to get heavy (but not as heavy as those book boxes from Uhaul can get).

Techniques to avoid: Putting LP boxes on on top of other items (they can fall and split), packing LP boxes only half full to keep them light (LPs'll flop around, and probably have more of a chance to warp), distributing the LP boxes among the rest of your belongings (keep them low, treat them like bricks), asking your SO or friends to carry ANY of them.
posted by activitystory at 11:33 AM on June 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

Given that you have a considerable collection, you surely know to arrange them side by side in the box rather than laying them flat. However, if anyone else is going to be helping you load up, write some "This side up" action on the sides of those boxes.
posted by crinklebat at 12:21 PM on June 14, 2007

my brother, sister-in-law & i had to move our father's collection of 40,000 LPs after he passed away in Dec. '05.
it was quite an ordeal. thankfully we had the financial resources to make it less of a hassle.
my dad already had some boxes lying around from a previous move & for his mail-order business. looking at them, we were able to find the manufacturer...turned out to be Tharco & fortunately, we were near one of their distribution centers. I went and bought several bundles of boxes from them (i think we bought about 250 boxes in total, each one holds about 10" worth of LPs... something like that.) once they were all packed, we contracted a moving company to pick them up from his warehouse in Richmond, CA & transport them to my brother's house near Eureka, CA. it was pricey, but well worth it for a collection of that size.
and Tharco is great for record boxes, since they make them specifically sized to securely pack the vinyl, no matter what size they are!
posted by mprove at 8:34 AM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

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