The average American reads 12 books a year, but we all likely have more than 12 books in our homes.
Whether your a student, a sci-fi junkie, or you’re just looking for the right way to store your cookbooks, it’s important to take care of your books so they last as long as possible.
Are you wondering how to store textbooks, pulp fiction, and everything in between?
Let’s take a look at how to store books the right way.
Remember, paper is an organic material that will degrade over time. That’s why climate control is essential to ensure that your books last as long as possible.
It’s totally fine to keep books in places that have a cooler temperature. This is because the colder the air, the less likely things like bacteria, fungi, and mold will thrive. It’s recommended to store books in temperatures below 75 degrees.
Keep the Humidity Low, But Not Too Low
The last thing you want when storing books is a space that has high humidity. This is because bacteria, mold, and other unwanted organisms thrive in moist environments and will deteriorate your book collection.
On the other hand, a space that is too dry can also be damaging to books. This is because dry air can lead to the pages of books drying out and becoming brittle. These brittle pages are much more likely to break.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
The color of both the spine and the cover will fade if kept in frequent contact with the rays of the sun. This means you don’t want to have your bookshelves next to a window where they’ll be getting direct sunlight day in and day out.
If you’re going to be putting books into storage for a while, you might consider renting a climate-controlled storage unit. This way you don’t have to lose sleep at night worrying if your books are growing musty in the garage or shed.
If you’re wondering what is the proper way to store books in your home, the first step is having appropriate shelving for them. If you simply keep them stacked or in boxes somewhere, they’re much more likely to get damaged.
Be Conscious of the Seasons
If you’re storing books in your attic, you’ll want to be mindful of the seasons. In a lot of houses, the attic is the hottest part of the house in the summer and the coldest part of the house in the winter. These extreme fluctuations in heat and humidity are not necessarily good for your books.
If your attic is your only book storage option, make sure to add some ventilation to keep the temperature down in the summer. You’ll also have to be mindful of the humidity and ensure that there are no leaks up there.
This is also important if you live in a house in a humid place and you don’t use AC. Remember, humidity is no friend to books, and if you’re leaving your windows open all summer you might not be doing them any favors.
Keep Them Away From Food
“Bookworm” doesn’t just refer to your well-read cousin. The term bookworm also refers to any bug that bores through books, leaving your collection full of holes.
Insects that are attracted to books are actually attracted to food crumbs left inside them. This means that the way to avoid having insects eat through the pages of your books is to keep your books and your meals completely separate. This is also a good idea because paper is an absorbent material that can collect crumbs, oils, and other unwanted substances.
Keep Pests at Bay
Storing books properly isn’t necessary just to keep bugs and microorganisms away. You also have to be worried about mice and rats.
If you have to store your books in your garage or somewhere else where mice and rats might get to them, there are a few things you can do. The most obvious idea is to have a cat. If this isn’t an option, you can soak a cotton ball in mint and place them near (but not on) your books.
Use Proper Containers
If you aren’t displaying your books in your home and need to store them away, make sure to use the right type of containers.
Cardboard can be a fine storage container for books. You’ll just want to use a box that hasn’t ever been used to store food. It’s also very important that books in cardboard boxes are stored in a place with the proper amount of humidity.
The other option you have for book storage is plastic. This is the more expensive option but can be worth it depending on your circumstances.
Plastic containers aren’t perfect: they can break eventually. You’ll also want to be mindful of the fact that clear plastic boxes exposed to the sun can cause damage to your books, as the plastic acts like a lens.
Keep Dust Jackets On
The dust jackets on your hardcover books aren’t just for show. They actually serve a purpose. By acting as an additional layer between your book and the cruel world, the dust jacket receives the brunt of the damage so your book doesn’t have to.
Things like scuffs, scratches, and spills are caught by the dust jacket rather than the book itself. It’s also important to keep the book jackets on your books if you ever plan on selling them.
Place Them Properly
How you place your books in whatever space you put them is perhaps one of the most important tips.
The best way to store books in your home is to have them standing vertically with their spines visible.
If it isn’t possible for you to stand your books straight up, then you’ll want to stack them in the proper fashion. Make sure you put the largest books on the bottom and build upward like a pyramid. If you don’t do this, your stack of books will likely fall over, which can lead to damage.
If you’re stacking books in boxes, the best method is to stack books of the same size on top of one another. This conserves space and also protects your books.
Dust Your Books
The correct way to dust a book is to start from the spine and dust out towards the edges of the pages. This method is important because it helps keep dust from falling in between the pages. You can dust your book with a vacuum, just make sure you use the brush attachment when you do.
Air Out Musty or Damp Books Before Storing
If you’re going to be putting your books in storage, check them first to see if any are damp or musty. If they are, you’ll want to air them out before packing them away.
One damp book could encourage an entire box of books to grow mildew. It’s important that books are completely dry before they are packed up and stored away.
Places to Store Books in Your House
You have a lot of different options when it comes to where to store books in your home. If space is at a premium in your house, some of these ideas might help you store your books properly and stylishly.
The most obvious option is to utilize vertical space with shelving. One benefit of having tall vertical shelves from a design standpoint is that it can help make your room look taller. A very practical benefit of vertical shelving for books is that they are taking up the least amount of space possible.
You can also transform small closets into bookshelves if you don’t have room for a traditional bookshelf. It can be nice to replace the door with one that has a glass window, so you can admire your books even when the door is closed.
Another creative idea is to store books on your staircase. You can do this by standing them up in between the posts. Be warned, though, this might not be a good method for you if you have pets or children who are likely to knock them over and damage them.
One last idea when it comes to storing books is using the tops of cupboards. With proper bookends, this can be a great way to safely store books while also efficiently using space.
How to Store Books So They Last a Lifetime
Most people have a collection of books that they hold dear. It’s important to store your books properly whether they’re on display in your home or in a storage unit somewhere. Follow these tips to ensure that your books last as long as possible.
Did you find this article on how to store books helpful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more interesting and informative articles!