Skip to content

Book Storage Ideas for Long-Term Preservation

UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization) dubbed September 8th as International Literacy Day in 1965. Every year since then, UNESCO has used the day to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals and communities, drawing attention to worldwide literacy rates and adult learning.

At StorageMart, we’re avid readers, too. Did you know books are among the most commonly stored items for our customers? In recognition of Literacy Day, we wanted to provide some book storage ideas to keep your collection in the best shape possible so you can enjoy rereading your books for years to come.

Choose the Right Kind of Storage for Your Books

The first thing you’ll need to consider for book storage in the environment. Extreme temperatures can be damaging to printed materials. High levels of humidity are even more dangerous. Too much moisture in the air can cause your books to warp, mold, or mildew. Exposure to direct light can cause pages and covers to fade and make spines brittle. For all these reasons you should consider renting a climate controlled storage unit for your library. By maintaining a constant, moderate temperature outside of direct light, climate controlled storage is ideal for book storage.

Prepare Your Books for Storage

Before storing your books, you’ll need to make sure they’re clean. Dust and grime will transfer from book to the next throughout time. This can hasten mold and/or mildew growth or even attract pests. Take each book, hold it firmly closed (to avoid brushing dust and dirt between pages) and wipe down all surfaces of the book with a magnetic dry cloth.

Also remove all bookmarks, scraps of paper, flowers, paperclips, or anything else stuck between the pages of your books. These items all contain acids that will damage the pages of your books.

How to Pack Your Books

When packing books for storage or moving, you might be tempted to use larger boxes to hold more of them at once. Instead, use smaller boxes in uniform sizes for easy stacking and increased sturdiness. Divide your library among several boxes. The smaller boxes will help you reduce the weight of each box and make moving them from place to place more manageable. Don’t have enough boxes? That’s not a problem! Boxes designed specifically for packing and moving are available for purchase at all StorageMart locations and are ideal for safeguarding your books.

Make sure to label all boxes clearly to keep them organized, and consider attaching a list of each box’s contents to the outside. This will make it easier to retrieve a particular book when you need it in the future.

Placing Your Books in Storage

As much as you can, store all boxes off the ground. Concrete is porous. Moisture can move up through the floor, so keeping as much of your library off the ground as you can will reduce any threat to your books. Wooden pallets on the ground are ideal for storage units.

Once your boxes are stored, check on them monthly. Look for any signs of pests, moisture, or damage to the boxes—although if you’ve followed our recommendations and stored in one of our clean facilities, you shouldn’t have an issue!

Store Your Library with StorageMart

Any bibliophile would of course prefer to have all their books on display and available for easy picking at their own personal library, but most of us don’t have that kind of space in our home. Until you do have your own library, storage is the only option that allows you to keep all of your books and the convenience of living in an uncluttered home.

Ready to reclaim some shelf space? Visit a StorageMart location near you to tour our facility or go ahead and reserve your unit online today.

Updated February 10, 2020