StorageVille, Where Winnipeg Stores

Storing and Caring for Books

Storage Ville - Monday, March 14, 2011
University texts, family heirlooms, classic novels and children’s stories – we collect a lot of books over the years. Regardless of how we come by our libraries, we find at some point that we have to store them away. Proper care and storage are essential to extending the life of your volumes. Here are some guidelines for doing it right.

Cleaning. If the book is extremely dirty, lightly vacuum with a brush attachment. For light to moderate amounts of dust and dirt, use a magnetic dry cloth. Hold the book firmly closed so dust doesn’t get between the pages and wipe the book from the spine outwards. Make sure there is nothing stashed between the pages of the book. Paper items and pressed flowers are acidic and damaging to the pages. Fasteners like paperclips can stain and tear.

Packing. Take an inventory of your books, noting the title, author, publisher, year, ISBN (if present) and any other information you find pertinent. An inventory will help you locate individual volumes and provide an itemized list in case of an insurance claim. Pack books according to your inventory in small, labeled, cardboard boxes, laying
them flat. Large boxes allow for shifting which can cause damage. Use boxes that are chemically purified; paper packing material should have a pH or 7 to 8.5. If you must use plastic bins, choose ones made of polypropylene or polyethylene. They are the most durable and chemically stable; avoid PVC and cellulose acetate. Do not stack boxes too high as the weight of the upper boxes may cause the ones below to collapse.

Storing. Whether you store your books at home or in self-storage, make sure the space is climate controlled; moisture and great temperature fluctuations will harm your books. If the floor is concrete, stack the boxes – squarely – on wooden pallets to avoid moisture absorption from the floor. Wrap individual boxes in plastic for added protection. Hardbacks should go at the bottom of the pile. Do not stack boxes too high as the weight of the upper boxes may cause the ones below to collapse.

If you have any inkling that a book has special value or significance, or have any other questions, don’t hesitate to consult our expert. Certain books may require extra special care.
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