Using a Katy or Cypress self storage facility is so convenient that you might be tempted to just shovel everything into boxes. That would be a mistake; Kay and Cypress mini storage is a great way to free up room in your home or apartment, but it is not exactly the same as having your belongings where you can use them every day. It takes a little planning to keep everything as fresh and clean as it was when you packed it. This is especially true of books.
Although most people think of them as permanent, books are surprisingly fragile. Rough handling can leave fingermarks, deform bindings, dent covers and leave a dapper best seller looking like a flea market reject. Pages can be dulled by sunlight, nibbled by pests or rotted away by moisture and mold. Strange as it sounds, a book can even be damaged by coming into contact with the wrong kind of paper! But do not worry. Just follow these book storage tips, and your books will do just fine in a Cypress or Katy climate controlled storage.
What You Will Need
A notebook. Use this to keep a list of which books are in which box. That way you will be able to find that old favorite without searching your entire library.
Acid and lignin free packing paper. Newsprint and other common household papers contain acid, which can damage books. Acid free paper can be used to safely wrap books or pad boxes.
Mylar or polyester film, or zip top plastic bags. Film wraps are an easy way to preserve a book’s cover art. Be sure to use a film that is colorless and chemically stable. You can choose between the plastic covers used by libraries, or simply cut the plastic the same size as the open book, plus a bit extra at each end. Crease the extra plastic so that it stays between the cover and the pages.
Zipper topped storage bags made for kitchen use can also be used to protect books. Choose a brand made from polyethylene. Before sealing, press out any air that might be trapped inside. This helps save packing space in the box.
Storage boxes. Cardboard boxes should be free of acid and lignin. Plastic boxes can be made from polyethylene or polypropylene, so long as they do not have an anti-slip coating. Do not get the largest boxes you can find; books are heavy, even paperbacks.
Sealing tape. Once a box is packed and inventoried, all the openings should be sealed with tape. The bottom seams of cardboard boxes are a great place for pests to creep in, and the gap between a plastic tote and its lid is often large enough for a mouse to squeeze through.
How to Pack
Begin with a clean page. Dust the edges of each closed book, wiping away from the spine. Make sure the book is free of debris, bookmarks, or other items.
Lay books flat, if possible. Pack according to size, not according to subject. This helps conserve space and keep the books from shifting during transit. Do not let the boxes get too heavy to lift easily. Pad out any empty spaces, and take care not to leave a gap at the top. This can leave a weak spot when you stack the boxes.
Seal the tops and bottoms of cardboard boxes. Plastic totes should be sealed with duct tape or some other flexible, sticky tape that will not dry out in storage.
How to Store
It is usually a good idea to put books up on pallets or two-by-fours, in case something else you are storing leaks. Begin with the heaviest boxes, and stop when the top box is still low enough to lift comfortably. Stacking boxes too high can lead to back strain.
Take a break. Your books are packed and secure, and they will be waiting for you to read them again, whenever you want.