How to Pack Your Books and Magazines for Storage

By Staff

For some people, books are there most prized possessions. Whether they have antique manuscripts or old magazines with sentimental value, these items are sensitive and require special care when going into storage.

When deciding to use a storage facility for your books, the unit you choose is important -- as you will need a climate-controlled environment and one that has security and offers insurance -- but how you pack is also crucial to for the preservation of your books.

1. Clean your Books:
Wipe off any dust and debris from your books with a dry, soft cloth. Make sure the books are not are not wet, moist or have mildew. If you don’t clean them off, you are simply moving dust and grime from your books into a closed and concealed box where more dust and grim can grow. Not only annoying dust, these mites will cause damage and deterioration to your books and magazines over time. When cleaning, be sure to check your books for bookmarks, clips, broken pages or other foreign matter that may have acclimated in your books. These items can also contribute to further wear and tear of your books.

2. Keep Them Together:
When storing your books, make sure that your books are stored with other books of the same time. For example: be sure to store paperbacks with paperbacks and hardcover books with hardcover books. Even if you room to squeeze in one small soft cover book with your hardcover items, don’t do it. By keeping book types together, this will ensure less damage. And never, ever store books with fragile items such as glass materials.

3. Use High-Quality Boxes:
Since books are sensitive, it is best to use small or medium-sized high-quality cardboard boxes. Make sure the boxes are free of chemicals and the acid, lignin. Using poor-quality cardboard means makes them susceptible to deterioration, which in turn will damage your books.

4. Placement:
Make sure to fill in your books without leaving any extra room, which can cause movement and shifting in the boxes, leading to damage on the spines and covers. Place the heaviest books on the bottom of your box, lying flat on top of each other. For empty spaces, be sure to fill them in with packing material such as bubble wrap, acid-free paper, cardboard or wood to prevent damage and warping. Avoid standing books on their ends as this may cause damage to the spine, as well as cause the pages to bend and tear.

You can also protect books even further by wrapping them in polyester jackets. To protect magazines, place them in archival plastic bags. Close each box with sturdy packing tape, along the top, as well as on the bottom.

5. Label the Boxes:
Label each box based on the book type, which will make it very easily to locate in the future. This inventory of your books and magazines is also handy when you visit your books every month. Also, if there is any damage at the storage facility such as a fire, flood or theft, you will have a record of all of your books to present to the insurance company.

6. Check Up on your Books:
No matter how well you protected your books; there is always the possibility of damage. You should plan to visit the storage unit—perhaps every three months—to do a check on your books, as well as your other items. Be sure to observe the storage facility for rodents and water damage, as this may indicate damage in your unit.