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How to sort vinyl records: from A to Z or by musical genre?

Published by SwapRecords on 6/04/2021

To properly store your vinyl records and protect them from the outside environment, it is advisable to get protective sleeves and storage supports such as vinyl cabinets and racks, specially designed for this purpose. Light, dust and humidity do not go well with a vinyl collection, especially with old or rare records. Above all, it is necessary to store them vertically, in order to avoid warping the records under the weight of several vinyl records on top of each other. But a debate remains about the classification of your vinyl records: alphabetical order by artist name, or by musical genres? SwapRecords gives you some insights to make your choice!

The easiest way, don't store your records

Well yes, that's always a possibility. If you want to give your vinyl corner a flea market style! When you receive a lot of used records on a regular basis - 45 RPMs, 33 RPMs, 78 RPMs, CDs and even box sets and bundles of dozens of records - then the question may arise. Big moves in your vinyl collection or inventory can mean big storage time. A collection takes up a lot of space, but the problem is the time you spend trying to find this or that reference! So, prefer a classic storage for your personal collection that you keep, and a more cluttered organisation for the stocks that you intend to sell or exchange - record swapping is a good alternative to resale - at least in the short term. 

Sort vinyl records by alphabetical order

In the community of recorded music lovers, for those who have reached a critical size with their collection, passing the milestone of a thousand vinyl records, then a real issue arises: sorting your records from A to Z by artist name or dividing your collection into musical genres and sub-genres? Generally speaking, we can see that the alphabetical order is preferred by collectors, because of its simplicity of use, and especially because the typology of musical genres that can be determined at a precise moment may have evolved a few years later. It is then difficult to find your way around! Moreover, it allows any visitor or member of your family to select a record easily and to put it back in the right spot. On the other hand, the major disadvantage of this method of storage is that very different artists cohabit, for example the Bee Gees and Beethoven. 

Size of your vinyl collection

Sort vinyl records by musical genre

The second option is to sort your records by musical genre: rock, pop, jazz, funk, soul, house, techno, reggae, world music, rap, hip-hop, country, classical music... You can also compartmentalise your records into sub-genres if you're a fan of a particular genre - jazz fusion, experimental jazz, free jazz, swing, hard bop, Latin jazz and be-bop for example - to give you a coherent listening session and immerse yourself in a very specific sub-genre. This approach works well for moderate-sized collections where few musical genres or sub-genres stand out clearly.

Leave some space in your record collection

30% space is the ideal arrangement! To let your records breathe on one hand, but also to air out your vinyl cabinet and find a reference more easily. It is essential not to squeeze your records too tightly in your storage racks or your vinyl cabinet - here is a selection of the best furniture and accessories for storing your record collection - to avoid damaging your sleeves and compressing vinyl records, which are delicate objects! After that, "clearing out" can also mean "ordering" and therefore sorting your collection to make room in your storage. 

Sorting your vinyl collection

Separate other media such as 45 RPMs and CDs

Indeed, if the vast majority of your records are LPs, then it is logical to store them together in the same vinyl cabinet or vinyl space, and to put your 45 RPMs and CDs in another place, with a storage rack designed for the dimensions of these media. Similarly, if you have audio cassettes, a separate cabinet will be much more practical, especially if you use another sound system with CD and K7 players. 

Determine a maximum size for your collection

Missing one record and life is sad. Okay, but after opting for a dedicated vinyl room, or even a garage or external storage space, you have to face the facts: too many vinyl records! Sorting is also about separating from records. Determining a size for your collection is a question that always comes up at some point. And when that time comes, you can choose to part with your records locally by using our platform between individuals and between professionals and individuals!


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