Books are portals to other worlds, filled with knowledge, wisdom, fantasy, and adventure. They offer a reliable escape from the humdrum of daily life. If you’re an avid reader, you probably cherish your book collection dearly.
But what happens when it starts outgrowing the shelves of your home library? Or what if you’re moving abroad for a while?
In these situations, you need to make sure your books are properly stored and preserved. Whether you choose to go with a personal storage unit or you create some space within your home, there are many different ways to organize your reading material. If you’re wondering how to store books long term, follow our top tips below.
Top Tips for Long Term Book Storage
Even with the rise of e-readers, many people still prefer the experience of reading a physical book. You get to enjoy the smell of the pages and relish in a rare reprieve from brightly lit screens.
However, with these benefits comes one major downside; physical books don’t last forever. They are made of organic materials that are vulnerable to the elements. If you want to preserve your book collection, you must guard it against mildew, mold, fungi, insects, rodents, and sunlight.
The secret to storing books long term is to clean, pack, and store them properly. Here’s how:
#1 Clean Your Books
To keep the elements from harming your treasured books, you must store them in pristine condition. The first step is to give them a good cleaning before storing them away.
Here are some book-cleaning best practices:
- Dust thoroughly – Use a soft paintbrush to dust your book’s outside cover and internal pages. You should also check in between pages for any dust or dirt.
- Avoid liquids – Do not use wet wipes, liquid cleaning products, or bug spray, as moisture may cause mildew to grow on your books during long term storage. If some of your books already have a musty aroma, let them air out before packing them away in storage units.
#2 Wrap Each Book
Once your books are nice and clean, it’s time to pack them correctly.
By wrapping each book with paper or cloth towels, you can prevent them from gathering dust in storage. It also may protect them from pesky insects that find their way into your storage space.
Just make sure to avoid wrapping your books in a plastic bag or foil, since these materials trap moisture and promote mold and mildew growth. Newspaper should also be avoided, as its acidity can cause chemical reactions within your books’ pages.
#3 Store Them In Clean Boxes
Once your books are properly packaged, it’s time to arrange them into storage containers. Here are some important steps to follow for optimal preservation:
- Use strong cardboard boxes – While plastic containers are a popular storage option, they offer your books less protection from UV rays. Plastic bins are also prone to trapping moisture. For these reasons, you should pack your books in rigid cardboard boxes instead of traditional plastic containers.
- Make sure the box is clean – Just like your books need to be clean, your storage boxes do as well. If they have any traces of food or dirt, they’ll be more likely to attract insects, mice, or rats.
- Place your books down flat – As you place your book collection into boxes, make sure to lay each book flat. This will prevent placing any undue stress on the book’s spine.
- Put heavier books on the bottom – Make sure to organize your book collection so that the heaviest books are placed at the bottom of the box. From there, you can use your paperbacks to fill the box up to the brim.
- Avoid empty space in the box – A full cardboard box will keep your books from moving around as you transport them to their long-term storage facility.
Once your cardboard box is packed and ready to go, seal it with strong packing tape. It’s also a good idea to label your boxes, so you know exactly which books are inside.
#4 Consider a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit
While not totally necessary, storing your books in a climate-controlled storage unit will provide them with the best preservation.
This means you should store your book collection in a stable environment. Choose a place that meets the following requirements:
- Cool temperatures – The best book storage temperatures are 70 degrees Fahrenheit and below.
- Low humidity levels – Dryness is another crucial element to proper long-term book storage. To prevent any mold or mildew from festering, make sure your books are stored somewhere with humidity levels between 30% and 50%.
- Out of direct sunlight – UV rays are infamous for turning book pages yellow and causing their text to fade. Direct sunlight also contributes to increased heat and humidity. Thus, it’s crucial to keep your books out of the sun during long-term storage.
If your attic, garage, and basement don’t meet these criteria, you can take advantage of a self storage unit instead. Self-storage units provide a designated place for your books and free up space in your home.
Price Self Storage: Long-Term Book Storage Solutions
If you cherish your book collection, these storage tips can keep it in beautiful condition for years to come. Not only will you be able to pass down your favorite stories to your children, but you can also hold onto antique books that may become quite valuable one day.
If you’re interested in giving your book collection the added protection of climate-control, check out our different types of storage units available here at Price Self Storage. With a little storage unit organization, you’ll be able to transform your storage facility into the perfect personal library! Whether you need Los Angeles storage, San Diego storage, or Walnut Creek storage, we have 13 storage unit locations across California with select locations featuring climate-controlled self-storage units.
Find out how Price Self Storage can support your storage needs today.
Northeast Document Conservation Center. Temperature, Relative Humidity, Light, and Air Quality: Basic Guidelines for Preservation. https://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/preservation-leaflets/2.-the-environment/2.1-temperature,-relative-humidity,-light,-and-air-quality-basic-guidelines-for-preservation
The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library. Conservation. https://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/learn-about-the-scrolls/conservation?locale=en_US