how to: thrift for records

This past July, my forever-long wish to own a stereo was granted. And ever since, I’ve been obsessed with hunting for records. Like anything else, looking for records at thrift stores, garage and estate sales can be a crap shoot. And an overwhelming one at that! Here are some super basic things I keep in mind when I’m out and about.

Before you you get your heart set on a specific record, check the condition of it first. See deep scratches, scuff marks, chips, cracks or gouges? Skip it. And be sure to inspect both sides too!

Make sure the record isn’t warped. (Warped records = distorted sound.) The easiest way to check is to hold the record up at eye level.

This is a total no-brainer, but while you have the record out, make sure that it matches the jacket. How sad would it be to go home thinking you’d found a rare Kitty Wells record, only to discover some crappy Billy Joel album inside.

Keep a running list of what you’re looking for. I have a friend who keeps her record wish list on Pinterest, I personally keep a running list in my notes on my phone. Either way, just like thrifting for clothes, I find it helpful to keep tabs of what I’m hunting for.

Take a chance! If you come across an intriguing cover, artist or song, and the record’s in good shape, where’s the harm in taking it home for a listen? I picked “Mustang Jazz,” a recording of the Southern Methodist University Marching Band out of a $1 bin at a record fair last month and it pumps me up every time I listen to it!

And last but not least, it’s OK to thrift records just because you like the cover art! Inspired by this Easy Record Cover Art DIY I spotted over the summer, I painted over a pin-up-y instrumental album cover. It sits on my vanity now and I love looking at it when I get ready each morning.

Some other good resources for learning more about thrifting records:
Thrift Store Vinyl: “Listening to used records so you don’t have to.”
The Thrift Store Record Collector: “Collecting records the cheap way.”
How to Clean Old Records

Do you have any tips for thrifting records you want to share? If so, let us hear ’em down below in comments!

xoxo,

Meghan

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