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How to Pack LP/Vinyl Boxed Sets for Shipment

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Despite having autism, I am passionate about writing about various subjects. I also love to travel and do crafts.

So you found the perfect vinyl box set for your friend living across the country. Curious about how to ship it? Read below.

So you found the perfect vinyl box set for your friend living across the country. Curious about how to ship it? Read below.

Selling LP record boxed sets on reselling sites requires some strategies.

It's one thing to have many albums with their individual covers. When reselling them, you have to put each record in a sturdier sleeve (such as a poly sleeve), put the jacket in another one, and safely package it in a special mailer (or one you would make yourself).

For LP boxed sets, you just can't package them as is. The records can jostle within the actual box, most likely taking on some damage, because there's nothing to cushion between them. Hence, there are steps to ensure each record in the box arrives safely.

If you know how to pack individual LP records, you CAN package a boxed set of them!

1. Inspect and clean the records

The first step is to inspect each record in the set for flaws, scratches, and other defects. Mention them in the description boxes at your resale site you're selling it on. Next, clean your records - you WANT to use a microfiber cloth to avoid damaging the record. When cleaning, hold each one by the edge — NEVER on the grooves!

Don't forget to inspect the box, too. If it's in sturdy condition with the most minimal amount of wear, you're good to package the records inside it, but please don't skip this next step:

Photo by author, 2022

Photo by author, 2022

2. Place each record into a NEW sleeve and layer fillers in between

Again, if you're shipping a boxed set as is, your records ARE LIKELY to take on damage because they are jostled around during transport. After cleaning, place each one in a new inner sleeve. I strongly suggest poly sleeves (see Additional Resources below) because they are waterproof, making shipping boxed sets much saner in rainy, dusty, or snowy weather.

Next, layer each sleeved record in between a flat filler. It can be of rigid cardboard or — as shown in the above photo — sheets of foam. This ensures that each record arrives with little or no damage as possible. You might want to use bubble cushion or foam sheets, which protects vinyl against bumps and damage. This packaging strategy is known as the "record sandwich."

Photo by author, 2022

Photo by author, 2022

3. Place the record sandwich in the box, then shake gently

Once you've layered sleeved records and fillers, place them inside the original box. Close it and shake gently. If you can still hear the records move around, add 1-2 sheets of filler. Then close the box and retest again. Movement is bad. The record sandwich is designed to keep your vinyl snug.

Photos by author, 2022

Photos by author, 2022

4. Place original sleeves (if in good condtition) inside plastic protectors and place the original record sleeves outside the box

If it's in good condition and clean, place each record sleeve included in the set inside an acid-free plastic protector. Like the records, this ensures that each one is protected from the elements.

Next, place the sleeved record sleeves outside the box. It's different from just placing the sleeved record inside the protector containing the corresponding record sleeve. Plus, once the box is full of fillers and records, you won't be able to fit the sleeves. If needed, neatly stack and align the box and sleeves, then secure with tape.

Photo by author, 2022

Photo by author, 2022

5. Wrap it with bubble wrap and float it between fillers inside a box

Ensure that the sleeves and box with cushioned records are aligned, then wrap it with bubble wrap. In the above photo, I wrapped them twice to ensure safe shipping and extra cushioning around them.

Next, add a single layer of filler inside a box big enough for the box set. I suggest packing peanuts (there are biodegradable ones available too) because they provide optimal cushioning for your boxed set. Place it inside the box, on the layer, then cover with more filler, enough to ensure that the item is COMPLETELY immobile in transport.

BONUS: Label box as fragile and invest in insurance, if needed

Once you have packaged your boxed set, I suggest indicating the item as fragile. You can write it with a bold permanent marker or buy labels that indicate the item as such. Also, if you can afford it — or indicate it in the price — you can insure the shipment. Please keep in mind that you're not just insuring it against damage, but against theft.

A Word on Media Mail

Some resellers use USPS Media Mail to ship their LP records. But, you have to ensure that your shipment is free from any advertising.

"Media Mail Packages may not contain advertising except that books may contain incidental announcements of other books and sound recordings may contain incidental announcements of other sound recordings," the USPS site warns.

In other words, refrain from using physical business cards. If your boxed set comes with a catalog or advertising pamphlet, I suggest separating it from the shipment. Even if it's published the same year as the release date, it may still count as advertising.

Look at that beautiful vinyl. Shipped without issue thanks to the record sandwich!

Look at that beautiful vinyl. Shipped without issue thanks to the record sandwich!

Additional Resources

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