Jan 20 2022

Our Top Tips For Storing Books

What Is The Best Way To Store Books?

Many people are interested in finding the best way to store their book collection, since they often represent a lifetime of knowledge and passion. However, they can quickly begin to take up a lot of space, so it may be time to consider storing them for a rainy day. Despite a sturdy exterior, they can also be incredibly precious and delicate, meaning they need to be stored a certain way to ensure they withstand the test of time.

books on shelf

How To Store Books

The best way to store books is in a bookcase since this way each book can receive plenty of air circulation - this includes within a self-storage unit. However, this is not always logistically practical, in which case you will need to know the proper way how to store books in boxes.

The following steps will allow you to safely store your books in boxes while minimising the likelihood of damage or deterioration. This method also works for how to store rare books, antique books, and old books.

1. Clean Your Books

The first step is to dust off all of your book covers. Some of your books may not have been picked up or moved in months, years, or even decades, meaning there's likely a whole lot of dirt and dust that you don't want to seal inside their box when you pack them away.

This is paramount in helping to prevent pests and other damage. However, ensure you only dust them and do not introduce any form of dampness, as this will encourage damage and mildew.

During this initial preparation stage, you should also air out your books if they do feel damp or smell musty. These can be aired out in a dry room before they are packed away, otherwise the mildew and smell can transfer and affect all the books in your collection.

While you are in the process of cleaning it is also a good idea to check for any insect eggs, which will look like tiny black seeds and often be near the binding of the inside of the book. If you do find eggs, it is important you thoroughly remove them and clean your book to avoid pest damage once they hatch.

2. Protect Your Books

The next step after ensuring your books are in top condition is to make sure you are providing your books with adequate protection inside their boxes. This will also help to prevent insects, moisture, and damage during the moving process.

It is best to wrap your books up with extra packing to ensure they keep their shape and dust jackets remain tear-free. When padding and wrapping your books it is incredibly important to ensure you use the correct materials. You should under no circumstance use plastic bags to wrap your old books, as plastic can trap moisture and cause condensation which will destroy your collection.

It is also important to avoid wrapping your books in newspaper since it is acidic and will therefore cause a chemical reaction that ends up damaging the book. You should instead use an acid-free archival paper to keep your books in the best possible condition.

The best boxes to choose for long term storage are also acid-free archival boxes, however small rigid cardboard boxes are fine for short-term storage. Your books should not be stored in plastic containers, since they may trap in moisture and not allow for appropriate air flow.

person holding books

3. Place Your Books In A Storage Box

Now that it is time to actually place your books within a box, you need to be aware of our top tip for arranging your books.

One of the most important things is not to pack your books in together too tightly, since the weight and pressure can cause your books to bend or become misshapen. On the flip side, you shouldn't pack your books too loosely as excessive movement within the box during the moving process could also cause dents in the books. To ensure neither is the case, any gaps in your boxes can be filled with bubble wrap or acid-free tissue paper.

4. Store Your Books

Now that your books are all packed away and secure, you need to store them in a dry, cool, safe environment, like a self-storage unit at Fort Knox Storage. All the preparation in the world won't be able to protect your books if they are stored in the wrong environment.

Your boxes should also be kept off the floor on top of pallets, shelving, or other boxes to ensure they stay dry and out of harm's way.

stack of books

Is It Better To Store Your Books Upright Or Flat?

If you're wondering in which direction books should be kept, the unanimous answer is that heavier, large books should always be laid flat. Small and medium-sized books can however be packed either lying flat or standing upright so long as nothing is placed on top of them.

Books should never be stored on their spine or on the front edges of their cover as this will likely cause damage to their binding.

How Do You Store Books For Long Term Storage?

Just like many of your items, books need to be protected from intense fluctuations in temperature and the formation of damp. Therefore, a clean, cool, dark, and dry place is necessary for the long-term storage of your literary collection.

Fort Knox Storage is an easy, secure, and affordable solution to store all your pre-loved books. For storage enquiries, contact us today or locate your closest facility

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