In the Nick Hornby book (and then US made film), High Fidelity (High Fidelity movie, High Fidelity book) record shop owner Rob is caught by his friend just as he is about to reorganise his record collection.
In the film, his friend looks around the room, his interest piqued, and asks how he is organising the records.
His friend says, “It looks as if you’re reorganising your records? What’s this, Chronological?
“No,” said Rob.
“No, fucking, way!”
“I can tell how I got from Deep Purple to Howling Wolf in just 25 minutes. If I want to find the song Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, I have to remember I bought it for someone in the Fall of 1983 pile, but didn’t give it to them for personal reasons.”
If organising your record collection autobiographically sounds like a step too far in obsessive behaviour, then there’s plenty of advice around on how to organise your vinyl record collection or other formats.
Here are four basic laws of organising your vinyl record collection:
- Store in a temperature-controlled space – Vinyl does best at around 65 to 70 degrees, so keep it inside with you in a cool, dry place to prevent warping and mouldy covers.
- Avoid proximity to heat sources – When choosing a place to store your records, avoid anywhere that’s close to direct sunlight or a radiator or heat source.
- Never stack your records – Creating album piles is a cardinal sin of vinyl collecting. Always store your records upright, as even leaning them heavily on one another can create too much pressure, causing your records to warp or scratch.
- Replace old and damaged sleeves: It’s usually recommended that you remove the plastic wrap from records as soon as you get them so it doesn’t shrink or damage the album cover.
While we wouldn’t recommend chronological, here are the main options for organising your vinyl record collection:
Alphabetically by artist – the most straightforward, but bear in mind how you treat solo artists e.g. last name, first name or first name, last name. Take the librarian’s approach of last name, first name.
Alphabetically by Genre – if you have a very large record collection this will be a good option as long as you can easily decide in your own mind where artists belong. For example Fleetwood Mac records could fall into these genres, Blues, Rock, Pop and Acoustic. Jazz has many sub-genres and never the twain shall meet such as Free Jazz or Trad Jazz.
Alphabetically by Album Title – Sometimes you just want find that one album and then this method is for you.
Chronological – here the records are organized based on the year they came out which is great for music historians but may make it harder for you to find that obscure Cocteau Twins record when you need it.
Autobiographical – Nope.
Tell us how you organise your vinyl record collection in the comments section below.by