In this age of digital publications, many have declared books obsolete artifacts of ancient technology. But to book-lovers, nothing could be further from the truth. Not only do books still offer numerous practical advantages over their digital counterparts, but they can also carry financial value and emotional attachment.
That’s why it’s important that when keeping your books in a personal self-storage unit, you take the proper precautions to see to their safety. Because though it’s true that books seem hardy objects in the safety of your home, they can be put in danger if stored improperly. Here are a few essential steps for you to take to ensure your books come out of their time in storage exactly as they went in.
Preparing Your Books for Storage
Before packing your book away in a storage unit, the first step is to make sure the book is clean. You can use a dust rag to clean some books, but fragile antiques should be cleaned with a gentler surface, like a soft paintbrush. Make sure not to introduce any moisture, not even a moist rag. Don’t just wipe down the book’s cover—make sure to pay special attention to the gutter between the pages and the binding. Dust and dirt tends to accrue in this area, as do insect eggs. Insect eggs resemble tiny black seeds and if you see any, make sure to assiduously check over the rest of your book for more.
If your book feels damp or musty, as many tend to do, place it in a dry space for a period of time until it dries out. Sticking a book full of moisture into a storage unit for a long period of time is a recipe for mold and mildew. If you’ve already found mold or mildew on your book, don’t place it in storage, as the problem may worsen.
Packaging Your Books for Storage
It’s best to wrap your books in some protective material such as bubble-wrap before packing them inside a box. Don’t use newspaper, as the ink from the newspaper can stain the books’ covers and pages.
When packing your books in a box, either lay them flat or stand them on their ends as your would on a bookshelf. Large books may need to lay flat, as their weight on the small surface of their edges can damage the edges. Never stand your books on their spines or on the front edges of their cover, as this can damage the bindings.
Choosing the Right Storage Unit
The single most important step you can take to protect your books while they’re in storage is choosing the right self-storage environment. Your books’ single biggest enemy is humidity. High levels of humidity will cause mold and mildew to grow and proliferate on organic materials, and that includes the pages, covers, and bindings of your books. Moisture will also invite pests in, which can find your books to be a tasty smorgasbord of paper.
The single best way to prevent excess moisture in your storage unit is to go with climate controlled storage. Climate controlled storage units keep their interiors at a temperature and humidity that will keep your books safe. It’s particularly important to keep your books in climate control if your area experiences significant levels of heat or humidity or if you plan on keeping your books in storage for a long period of time.