H-Tiques | DIY: Organize Your LP Collection!
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DIY: Organize Your LP Collection!

Have I got the perfect weekend project for you!!

Aaaaand, you can celebrate with some sweet tunes when you’re done!

A couple years ago we finally found the perfect, and affordable, solution to unpack our poor lonely boxed up record collection that we hadn’t found a good place for since we moved. What perfection did we find to solve our problem? A barely used IKEA Expedit Shelving system for $65 on Craigslist.

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Considering the nearest IKEA was 6 hours and two states away (now only 3 hours and 1 state..woohoo!), hubby and I were elated to find this. God bless Craigslist!
If you’re unfamiliar with this shelving unit, it is a perfect size for record storage. Unless you want to design a shelving unit yourself I have yet to find something sized as perfectly as this for vinyl organization. Woot, woot!
UPDATE: Shortly after we found this piece, IKEA replaced it with a slightly different style called the Kallax. You can discover the differences (minimal really) below.

expedit vs kallax

Once we had the perfect piece of furniture the hard part began: figuring out how on earth to organize this collection and make it easy to find what we want. I mean, sure, we all have our days where anything will do, but usually I am in a particular mood for a particular song, or at least genre. So there had to be SOME semblance of organization here.

A quick google search later and I found a tumblr feed that showed some great ideas for a very apt organizational solution. Score! So here we go…

 

Materials Needed:

– Glue
– Vinyl stick-on letters in various sizes (white works best)
– Ruler
– Newspaper or drop cloth or something that can get gluey
– About 30 records either scratched beyond repair or simply unwanted
– A dustcloth and/or Clorox wipes
– Your awesome record collection!

Step One:

Decide how you want to organize your records. By genre? By artist’s last name? By most most to least favorite?

It’s here I should fess up to my lifelong membership to Overthinkers Anonymous. I was literally struggling over half a dozen ways I could organize this collection. I finally just had to pick an option and go with it. (Though designing a cross-reference database was a serious consideration. Thank goodness I didn’t have the energy for that. Baby steps…)

I ultimately decided to organize most records alphabetically except for some genres I knew I listen to more for the genre then the artist (e.g. Jazz, Classical, etc.)

Once that is decided, start making piles based on your decision.

Vinyl Collection

Vinyl Collection

I started out with stacks like: A-C, D-G, etc. so I organized in phases instead of having 26+ piles to try to sort into.

Whatever works for you. Put on some motivating tunes and have at it!

Step Two:

Find and/or acquire records that are either scratched beyond repair or you just plain don’t care for. Just make sure they have cardboard sleeves.

I didn’t have any such non-desireables so I made a jaunt down to the local Salvation Army thrift store and stocked up. On a daily basis they are only $0.50/record, but sometimes I can catch them on sale for $0.25/record when they have a bunch.

The trick is finding enough that you don’t want to KEEP! I came home with a number of…ahem…extras. Hehe.

Step Three:

Crafting time!!!

Once you’ve gathered enough unwanted records and know how you are going to organize things, you should know exactly how many dividers you want to make.

For each divider, decide how far out you want your divider to stick out from the rest of the records.

Mine worked out great at about 2.75″ from the sleeve to the widest part of the record.

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Glue time!! Make sure you are on a surface you don’t mind getting a little gluey (I put some newspaper down on the carpet).

For each divider, glue both the inside of the sleeve and the outside of at least one side of the record (make sure NOT to get glue on that 2.75″ of record that will be sticking out of the sleeve).

Ahhh…memories of elementary school. This glue task reminded me of my class glue eater as well as the time I spent enjoying gluing my skin and peeling it off. You know you did it to – or wanted to. 😉

Put the record inside the sleeve, measure to make sure you have your 2.75″ (or whatever you decided) outside of the sleeve, then lay it on your work surface and give it a good press & rub to help the glue adhere.

Gluing-Records-Collage

Now just repeat 26+ times for however many dividers you decided to make. You could even make your own ‘working song’ to keep your mojo moving (think Sheldon & Penny making Penny Blossoms on The Big Bang Theory…LOVE that show!).

Step Four:

I just love anything to do with stickers. I think it’s something to do with an association with simply childhood joy. Whatever the reason, woohoo!

Get your stickers together and make your labels happen.

I used 1.25″ white vinyl stickers we had from a previous project, which was perfect for the look I wanted.

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If you don’t have any on hand, take a record with you to the store and play with different sizes to see what you like.

Call me a crafting nerd, but this was my favorite part!

When all was said and done, I had 26 dividers with one letter (A-Z), as well as five more: Classical, Jazz/Blues, X-mas, Kids, and Opera.

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I would advise doing a pre-sticker assessment of whether or not you have enough letters to spell out the extra dividers that you want. It might save you a trip to the store in the middle of your project productivity!

OR..sometimes you can get a little creative with your stickers.

I was one measly ‘s’ short of finishing my dividers when I noticed the $ stickers. Ah-hah! A few snips of the scissors later and voila! Problem solved.

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Step Five:

Clean and alphabatize.

After all the dividers are created, you just need to clean your albums and get them organized into whatever storage device you have designated for this awesome collection.

I didn’t actually start this project with the ‘cleaning’ step in mind, but I had NO IDEA how dusty the record jackets were until I was rubbing the albums to make the glue stick and looked at my hands. Yuck!

Grab a soft cloth or some clorox wipes (some of my thrift store records required more than just a cloth) and wipe down each album as you alphabatize them behind the dividers.

I also took this opportunity to see how many albums we had that didn’t have the inner vinyl sleeve so I could order some. Those inner sleeves really help protect the grooves!

Step Six:

Enjoy!!

I was SO excited to take this ‘final glory’ picture! After a year of living in our home with boxed up records and multiple years before that of an organized but hard to access vinyl collection, this just made me SO happy. :)

ORGANIZED Vinyl Collection

ORGANIZED Vinyl Collection

Since I completed this project we use our albums so much more because we can actually find what we’re in the mood for!!

I also found a great use for some gorgeous Winnie-the-Pooh bookends my mother-in-law gave me for my birthday one year.

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They worked beautifully for holding all the smaller records that would have gotten lost amidst the regular albums in the shelf and they were actually quite appropriate since most of these smaller albums are children’s songs and/or stories. Just you wait, Willa Bean!

 

Have your own vinyl collection that needs to be tamed?

Let me know how you organize it! I’d love to see!

Tell me about YOUR beloved vinyl collection in the comments below!!

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