Whether you have a shelf of books or an entire library, putting them in storage takes a bit of trust. Many books emerge from storage smelling musty or sporting stains on their once-clean pages. Luckily, you can make sure your books don't suffer the same fate by taking the time to pack them properly. Follow these tips for success.
Tip #1: Remove everything from between the pages.
Even a simple bookmark may leave a stain or mark on your book's pages after being sandwiched between them for a few years. Shuffle through the pages of each and every book, removing any stray papers, flowers or ribbons you find.
Tip #2: Pack your books in small boxes.
There are two reasons for this. First, it will make your boxes easy to carry. Second, and perhaps most important, is that it will minimize the amount of weight placed on your books. Less weight means less spine damage and fewer stuck-together pages. Remember not to stack your boxes when you place them in storage, too. Many self storage units come with shelving you can rent or purchase, so consider investing in some to keep your books off the ground.
Tip #3: Stack your books neatly and evenly.
Make sure a book is not halfway under another book. This could lead to creasing of the spine or pages. Also, resist the urge to cram one more book sideways into the box. Storing a book on its spine could lead to damage after it sits that way for several years. Every book should be stored on its cover.
Tip #4: Don't spray anything in the box.
Some people spray air freshener or perfume in their boxes in an attempt to make sure their books stay smelling fresh. This tends to do more harm than good. The moisture from the spray may contribute to molding, and the scented oils it contains may stain your books.
Tip #5: Use plain tissue paper to fill the remaining space in your boxes.
You don't want your books to shuffle around in the boxes, since this might cause the corners to be damaged as boxes are lifted and carried. Fill the extra space, if there is any, with plain tissue or packing paper. Don't use newspaper – it will leave your books smelling musty, and the ink may transfer to their covers.
If possible, you should store your books in a climate-controlled unit. This way, you won't have to worry about damage as they transition from hot to cold temperatures throughout the year. However, if you are only storing your books for a few months, a non climate-controlled facility should do the trick.