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Book storage ideas: 7 tips to help your books last

Book storage ideas: 7 tips to help your books last

Books are remarkable things, but keeping them safe is difficult without a lot of storage space to contain the collection. In this article we’ll cover how to store your books properly, as well as solutions for preventing your books from ageing whilst they’re in storage – whether that’s on a bookshelf or in boxes.

1. Get inventive with your storage locations

Bookshelves are the obvious choice for storing books, however there are many unique and unthought of locations that you can upgrade to quality bookshelves too. You could install floating bookshelves on empty walls; you could create an entire wall bookshelf, or you could stack them as individual towers on the floor as a statement. Take a look at the spare space you have, and try getting inventive with some interesting book storage ideas.

2. Buy some good containers

Good quality storage containers help keep your books stored efficiently and safely. The best option for books are plastic containers, as they are strong, durable and protect your books from moisture due to their airtight seal. At Loft Self Storage we have a range of packaging available, including plastic boxes to keep your stored books safe.

3. Invest in some book covers

Whether or not you’re a vintage book collector, clear covers help store and protect your books. Plastic covers will prevent any flayed ends, scratches to the cover, discolouration and grease from fingertips. They are also the best way to store a book when preparing it for long term storage.

4. Clean out and organise your bookshelves

Bookshelves are the most convenient and popular way to store books, however they can easily become cluttered – and they’re often not an efficient way to keep all of your books. If you’re being proactive about the storage of your books, cleaning and organising your bookshelves will help keep you on top of your collection. Here’s the three steps we recommend:

Remove all your books and purge any you don’t want

Take all of your books, and any additional knick knacks that have accumulated from your bookshelf. Here is the best time to make a decision whether or not you want to donate or sell any books from your collection.

Clean away dust and pests

To quickly clean your bookshelves, or book storage area, use a microfibre cloth to wipe away any dust. For the books themselves, use a microfibre cloth or a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to remove dust from the spine and sides.

If your books have been stored and unmoved for a long time, they might have mites or mould. Mites will look like small, white bugs – and you may notice holes in the paper – whereas mould will have a distinctive musty smell. To get rid of them, use these methods:

  • Mites: place your books in sealed plastic bags in the freezer for a minimum of two days. Dust away any remains of mites after.
  • Mould: Air mouldy books out for 24 hours. If the mould smell persists, place them in a box with rice to remove odours.

Choose your system for organising

Organising your stored books using your own system will help prevent further clutter and chaos. It’s your own personal choice how you like to organise them, however these are some popular book storing methods:

  • Nonfiction and fiction
  • Alphabetically
  • Genre or subject
  • Colour
  • Height and size

5. Avoid direct sunlight and humidity

Temperature, humidity and sunlight are all big factors in how quickly your books will age, and whether or not they will get damaged while being stored. Hot and dry conditions can lead to brittle paper and degrading leather, whereas wet and cold conditions can lead to mould growth and water damage. Consistent UV rays can cause fading and deterioration all together.

The ideal temperature for storing your books is 21 degrees celsius, and the ideal relative humidity is 50%. Keep your stored books in these conditions if possible to prevent any damage.

6. Check on your books

When your books are stored away from eyesight, whether in your home or in long-term storage, it’s very easy to forget about them. Check on your books regularly to make sure they’re in good condition and there’s no unexpected damage to them. You can make a reminder on your calendar to check on your storage books once a month, or once a year depending on your dedication to the collection.

Loft Self Storage offers flexible opening hours for your convenience, as well as 24 hour CCTV and DBS checked staff on-site for 12 hours a day. So whether or not you want to check on your books regularly, we have the options in place to keep your books safe and secure.

7. Choose long-term self storage

If you're looking at how to store books because you have an uncontrollable collection, the most efficient way for you to store them is likely long-term self storage. Not only does long-term storage give you the chance to expand your collection, it ensures that your existing books are stored in a secure location, with on-site staff to protect them from theft or damage.

There are obviously some concerns about storing books in long-term storage, such as accessibility and external damage that is out of your control. With Loft Self Storage’s security measures, you’ll have access to your books from 6am-6pm, as well as 24-hour CCTV, and zero unauthorised access. However if you’re still concerned, you can always opt for storage unit insurance for some extra peace of mind.


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If you’re interested in hearing more about our container storage in Nottingham, our friendly team will be happy to give you a quick quote and answer any questions you have – just get in touch!

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