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Tips for Storing Books

Whether you are moving to a smaller home or have simply found that your collection is growing out of hand, Self Storage is a great option that will keep your books safe until you need them again.

It so easy to just toss your books into a box, but you must take special precautions to protect your paper and hardbacks from damage. Books are susceptible to mildew, corrosion and staining while in storage. Book spines are also fragile and require special care. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a curator or a librarian to properly care for your book collection. Simply follow the guidelines below to keep your books in mint condition while they’re packed away.

Clean Your Collection

Packing away dirty or dusty books allows for transfer of the grime onto other volumes and staining. Give your books a gentle but thorough cleaning to significantly increase their shelf life.

Hold the book firmly closed to avoid brushing dust between the pages. Using a magnetic dry cloth gently wipe the book from the spine outwards to prevent dirt from settling in the spine or endcap. Extremely dirty books may need to be vacuumed using a brush attachment. Carefully check the book for bookmarks, scraps of paper and flowers between the pages. These items are highly acidic and will damage the pages during storage. Paper clips and other fasteners also cause damage by staining, creasing and tearing paper.

Pack Them Away

For the best protection, books should be packed together in small cardboard boxes. Large boxes become too heavy and allow more room for shifting and movement that can damage the spines and covers of the books. Do not pack books with other items, especially fragile ones such as glassware or other collectibles. It can be tempting to put as many books as possible into the box as you can. However, this can damage them. Too much weight can break down the fibers of the cover and cause them to bleed into each other. Fit the books into the container comfortably, don’t force them to fit. Using plastic containers is a great way to store books because they are sturdy and keep water and pests out. Sealed plastic containers will help protect your books from outside elements and the dangers of being bug food.

Organize your books into categories for easy labeling. Though it may seem like a pain at the time, taking an inventory of your books and recording which volumes are in which box allows you to keep track of the whereabouts of each book. If there is a fire, flood or theft at the storage unit, you will have an itemized record to give to your insurance company.

Into Self-Storage

A climate-controlled unit is air conditioned, heated in winter, and kept at an optimal humidity. These factors help better protect and preserve the books placed in storage.Place wooden pallets on the floor to avoid moisture absorption from the concrete.  Wrap each box of books in plastic for added protection against dust and water damage.  Boxes of hardbacks should be stored at the bottom of the pile when you are stacking boxes on top of one another. Set each box down so that it is square and will not tip or shift do not stack higher than shoulder height. You must be able to remove boxes comfortably from the top of the stack to reduce the risk of dropping one. 

If you have any questions about your books, or if your collection is particularly valuable, consult a curator, librarian or antiques expert before using any cleaning or preservation products on your books.


 Triple AAA Storage will help you find the right unit for your storage needs!