How to protect books in storage

How to protect books in storage

You may find that the time comes where you need to put some of the books you own into storage.  Whether your collection is growing out of control or you are moving to a smaller home, storage is an excellent option that will ensure your books are kept safe until the time comes that you once again require them.  It might seem easy to pack books into a box; however, the reality is that special precautions need to be taken in order to protect both hardback and paperback books from damage.  Books can be susceptible to corrosion, staining and mildew while in storage; their spines also need special care, as they can be surprisingly fragile.  The good news is that by following a few simple tips you can keep your books in mint condition while they are in storage.

If you pack dusty or dirty books you run the risk of having grime transferred onto other volumes while in storage.  Books should be given a gentle yet thorough cleaning to increase their shelf life quite significantly, which is something that is particularly important if your collection includes archival quality or historical items.  Hardback and paperback books are cleaned in largely the same manner.  The book should be held firmly shut to avoid the accidental brushing of dust between pages.  Use a magnetic dry cloth, which can be found in most supermarkets or online, and gently wipe the book outwards from the spine to prevent any dirt from settling in the end cap or spine.  Very dirty books might need to be vacuumed with the use of a brush attachment.

Books should be carefully checked for scraps of paper, flowers and bookmarks between the pages, as such items can be extremely acidic and damage the paper in storage.  Paper clips and other kinds of fasteners can also cause damage by creasing, tearing and staining paper.

In order to provide your books with the maximum amount of protection possible, they should be packed in cardboard boxes together.  Big boxes will become far too heavy with lots of boxes in them, and large boxes also mean that there is more room for movement and shifting that can result in damage to the covers and spines of the books.  Books should not be packed with other items, particularly fragile items such as other collectibles or glassware.  It is very important to choose the right cardboard boxes to pack your books in.  Using poor-quality cardboard often leads to the boxes deteriorating and breaking down, causing the books to be left exposed and vulnerable to damage.  Cardboard boxes should be chosen that are chemically purified and lignin free, while the pH balance of the packing paper and the cardboard can also be highly significant.

Books should be organized into categories for the sake of easy labeling.  This allows you to be able to keep track of where all your books are located.