If you're a lover of books and have a collection of printed works, you might be nervous about putting them into storage. After all, there are plenty of horror stories about pages crumbling or developing a musty odor after books spend months or years in a storage unit. The good news is that if you take the time to prepare your books properly before placing them in storage, you can almost certainly avoid these problems.
Remove everything from between the pages.
Storing bookmarks between your pages is not smart, since they can leave impressions or cause pages to stick together once you put the books in storage. Page through each book and remove everything from between the pages before you start packing up your books.
Don't spray anything on your books.
It's tempting to reach for that air freshener or perfume, thinking it will keep your books smelling fresh in storage. However, these products contain oils that may cause your pages to weaken or take on a rancid odor after they're stored.
Pack the books flat on their backs.
Never put a book in a box with the spine side facing down or up. All books should be packed on their backs and stacked neatly inside the box. If you have extra room in box after creating a few stacks of books, don't place some books in there vertically to fill the space. Instead, stuff it with plain, unprinted packing paper to keep the books from shifting. No, newspaper is not a good substitute since its ink may bleed onto the book covers.
Use small boxes.
Not only are they easier to carry, but they also force you to create smaller stacks of books. This way, less weight will be resting on the books at the bottom of the stack, so their spines won't get crushed. Use plastic packing totes, or at least line your boxes with plastic, so moisture does not get in. Do make sure the lids are slightly loose, or that the plastic inside your box is not completely sealed, so the books can breathe. This will help prevent musty odors from developing.
The longer you're going to store your books, the more careful you need to be about how you pack them. If you're storing them (at facilities like Manteca Self Store It) for more than a few months, consider putting them in climate-controlled storage, so you don't have to worry about the spines or covers bending as the temperature changes. For shorter-term storage, a non-climate controlled unit should be okay.