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Quick Tips for Book Storage

Are you an avid reader with a personal library collection that has outgrown your apartment? Maybe you’ve inherited some rare first-edition prints that you can’t bring yourself to part with. Or perhaps you’re a book collector looking for a safe, secure place to store your most valuable pieces.

No matter your circumstances, self storage could be the solution you’re looking for. Before you store your books long-term, follow these tips to ensure they come out of storage looking as good as the day they went it.

Clean Your Books

It’s important to prepare anything you plan to put in storage. In the case of books, this means dusting them and letting the pages air out for a bit.

If it’s been a while since you read them, you may notice that a thick, grimy film of dust has gathered on the top edge of your books. Whatever you do, avoid using wet cleaning supplies that could damage the covers, dust jackets, or pages.

The brush attachment on your vacuum is probably the best method of cleaning your book collection. To help prevent debris from falling inside the binding, dust from the spine toward the opening of the book.

Take the time to flip through each book and look for any insect damage or moisture. Vacuum up any bugs or eggs and let damp pages dry out completely to prevent the books from deteriorating any further.

Catalog Your Collection

If you have so many books that you need to put some in storage, it’s wise to take inventory. Write down the titles on a piece of paper or create a spreadsheet for a digital record. This makes it easy to look up which books you kept and which ones you put in storage if you forget later on.

Select the Right Storage Containers

Plastic totes and acid-free storage boxes are your best options for storing books long-term. Plastic is beneficial because it keeps moisture out, and acid-free containers help prevent yellowing and fading of the pages over time. Whatever style of storage containers you choose, keep them small so they don’t get too heavy.

Pack Your Books Correctly

Group your collection by size and binding type (hardback or paperback) to make packing easier and more efficient. If you have any particularly fragile, valuable, or sentimental books, wrap them individually in packing paper or bubble wrap for extra protection.

There are three recommended ways to pack books for storage:

  • Pack hardback books upright, as if the bottom of the box was a shelf in a bookcase. Two rows of books should sit spine to spine. If there’s a third row, separate them with crumpled packing paper so the pages don’t touch.
  • Lay paperback books flat with packing paper between each one to prevent the covers from touching.
  • Pack books with their spines face-down. Never pack books with the spines face-up because this could permanently damage the bindings, especially of hardback books.

Finish each box by filling any empty space with crumpled packing paper to prevent the books from shifting. To make it easier to find specific books in the future, label each box with its contents. Consider organizing your boxes by author or genre, and label them accordingly to avoid needing to list individual titles. You can write directly on the container or tape a printout to the outside.

Choose a Suitable Self Storage Facility

When storing books, climate control is the most important quality to look for in a self storage facility. Books are highly susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. Climate-controlled storage prevents any extremes that could discolor or deteriorate your books.

Security is also essential to prevent break-ins. A storage facility with surveillance cameras, alarms, indoor access, perimeter fencing, and electronic gate entry provides the best level of protection for your prized book collection. Units locked with a secret digital code are also more secure than those that use a key.

Fill Your Storage Unit

After all your careful preparation, the final step is to load the storage unit properly. Start by laying down a plastic sheet or wooden pallet where you want to stack your boxes. Even in a climate-controlled setting, there’s still a risk of moisture accumulating on the floor. This simple precaution offers a little extra peace of mind.

Stack your boxes no higher than chest-height to reduce the risk of toppling over. Line the wall of the storage unit rather than filling a corner so you can see all the boxes easily if you need to access one later. If you’re putting other personal belongings in storage, keep the book boxes toward the bottom of each stack. They may be on the smaller side, but because they’re so heavy, it’s safer to set book boxes on or near the floor.

Enjoying a good book is one of life’s simple pleasures, and by following these quick tips for book storage, you can ensure your collection lives on for many years to come! To ask about reserving a storage unit for your books and other personal belongings, please contact Pouch Self Storage at (800) 378-4598. We have nine convenient locations around the Anaheim, CA area to better serve you.