How To: Longterm Storage Of Books

Whether it's old yearbooks, photo albums, or your home library, books are one of the heavier things to move. If you plan on moving several times over just a few years, it can be well worth it to keep the books in a storage unit until you settle down permanently. Storing them correctly will protect them from moisture, mold, and other damage.

Ditch the Dust

Dust can harbor a breeding ground for insects that will turn to feeding on the book's pages or the glue on the spine once in the confines of storage. A thorough dusting is a necessity.

You can use a brush or even the upholstery attachment on your vacuum to remove the dust that collects on the cover, page edges, or inside the spine.

Pick the Right Box

Not all boxes are created equal. When you're storing books, look for archival-quality cardboard. These moving boxes are acid-free, so they won't cause pages or photographs to yellow or discolor. Things that make a good book storage box:

  • Small enough so one person can lift it easily when it's filled with heavy books.

  • Flaps that close tightly, so you can create a moisture-tight seal with the packing tape.

  • New boxes that haven't been used before, so they won't harbor book-destroying insects or moisture.

Wrap It Tight

Moisture is going to be your main enemy in storage. You have two options to keep the moisture out—wrap the books individually or wrap them all at once. Individual wrapping in plastic bags is the best option, because if one book is harboring insects, they won't spread to any other books in the box.

If you're sure your books are vermin-free, you can line the box with a plastic bag before loading it with books. Pack the books in tightly so they won't bend or warp during storage. Once full, close up the plastic bag and seal the box closed.

Store Them Correctly

Unless you rent an indoor storage unit, there is always the chance of moisture seeping in. Placing the boxes of books on top of a pallet keeps them well above the damp floor. Remember those boxes are heavy! Don't stack them on top of anything fragile, and avoid stacking more than three boxes of books on top of each other.

With proper storage, your books will be waiting for you when you're ready to retrieve them—undamaged and with no unwanted mildew.