What’s the Best Way to Store Books?

Real Simple answers your questions.

Q. How should I store my books?

A. The ideal place to store books is pest-free, like an attic or a garage, as long as those spaces aren’t subject to big temperatures changes and are well ventilated.
Never keep books in a humid spot; the mold that grows in damp places will damage them, along with any other paper-based objects. And don’t wrap books in plastic bags, plastic wrap, or foil, which encourage mold.

Before storing, check the surrounding areas for signs of insects or mice. Pack books in small- or medium-size boxes or plastic containers, making sure they are weatherproof and moistureproof. New boxes work best. However, you can reuse old boxes if they are clean, dry, strong, and sealable. Skip boxes that have been used for food storage; the odors and residue can attract insects and rodents. Wrap each book in a paper towel or bubble wrap to protect the surface from dirt and residue buildup. Store similar-size books together, either lying flat or standing upright, with their paper edges facing upward, which will prevent the books from warping and the pages from bending. Put the heaviest books at the bottom of the container, and pack paperbacks tightly, so they don’t fall over or collapse. Seal the boxes tightly with sturdy acid-free packing tape. Label clearly as needed. Keep the storage boxes out of direct sunlight and away from radiators or heating vents, as the increased temperature can crack bindings. Finally, place the boxes of books on a shelf, so they’re protected in case of leaks or floods.


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