Those who love to read tend to have extensive personal libraries that are constantly growing. On their bookshelves, you will find their most cherished books, their childhood favorites, and the books they lovingly read to their own children. To avid readers, these volumes are fond memories, inspiring teachers, and dear friends.
With an ever-expanding collection, people who are short on space need safe storage that will keep their books in prime condition. Due to temperature extremes and humidity, your attic, garage, or basement won’t preserve your books in the best condition. What you need is a safe, reliable, climate-controlled storage unit just like the ones we have here at Handy Storage. Climate-controlled self storage will protect your books from mold, mildew, pest, and light.
We’re gathered a few guidelines that will help you keep your stored books in the best possible condition,
Keep Your Books in Prime Condition in Self Storage
Use Climate-Controlled Storage
Keep in mind that books are sensitive. They are made of paper, which is organic and degrades over time. Pests, bacteria, mold, fungi, and other creatures that love to snack on paper will cause major damage and deterioration. When storing your books remember:
- Low temperatures prevent pests from living comfortably. The optimal temperature for storing books is below 75 degrees. Climate-controlled storage has a range of 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Humidity is very bad for your books. Mold and mildew thrive in high humidity. Climate-controlled storage typically keeps humidity at a comfortable 55 percent.
- The humidity levels in climate-controlled storage also work well to keep the pages in your books from becoming dry and brittle, leading to cracked and ruined pages.
Check Books for Food or Liquid Damage
It’s not uncommon to snack or drink a cup of tea while reading. Unfortunately, any food residue left on a book can cause damage. If a stored book has been previously exposed to food or water, mold or mildew may form and spread to other books. Double check that there are no crumbs or damp spots left in your books before you pack them for storage.
Use the Right Storage Container
When choosing containers to pack your books, you have two options: cardboard packing boxes or plastic bins.
Plastic Bins: Plastic containers are the best choice for long-term storage. The airtight seat protects against humidity, moisture, and pests and forms a barrier to damage during a move. The only drawback with plastic containers is that they do not allow books to “breathe” as a cardboard box does.
New Packing Boxes: This is the most cost-effective option for storing your books and will keep them in generally good condition. To keep the boxes from being too heavy don’t use anything larger than a medium-size box, and be sure to double tape the bottom for extra strength. Never use damp boxes for your books or move when it’s raining. This will not only weaken the boxes but make them susceptible to mildew.
Silverfish, beetles, and booklice love to snuggle into books and make a meal of them. Be sure that your self storage facility has preventative pest control, and do your part to keep creatures out of your books. Something as simple as cedar chips will deter bugs and other pests, and you can place them right inside the containers without fear of damaging your books.
Wrap and Pack Your Books with Care
When you’ve decided which packing option is best for you, the next step is to properly pack your books. If all or only a few of your books still have book jackets, leave them on. They protect your books against scuffs and scratches. For hardcover books, pack them vertically with the spines against the sides of the bin or box. Soft cover books can be packed the same way or stacked flat. For extra protection, wrap each book in acid-free packing paper to prevent yellowing. If you’re not using packing paper, place a dry piece of cardboard between each book and fill any empty space with paper or bubble wrap. This prevents damage during a move.
Create an Inventory
As a final suggestion for storing your collection, create an inventory listing the specific books you’ve stored in each container. The day may come when you want to reread or lend a favorite. Make it easy to locate your book without having to search through every box or bin.