If you have an antique book collection that you need to store, then you may be concerned about your books becoming damaged during the storage period. This is a real concern if you have some rare, first-edition books that are in good condition. If you need to rent a storage unit and intend on placing your books inside, then follow the tips below to keep damage risks to a minimum.
Rent A Climate Controlled Space
The first thing you need to do to make sure your books remain in great shape is to place them in a storage space under the right conditions. A room-temperature area that is kept between 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit is best. The space also should have a low humidity that does not exceed 35%. A clean space is recommended too, so make sure to clean your storage space from top to bottom to remove dirt, debris, and mold spores.
Cleaning agents like ammonia, bleach, and vinegar are best to kill microorganisms that may damage your books. This is especially important when it comes to mold, because fungi will eat through organic materials like paper and damage them permanently. Fungi also contain different-colored biochemical agents that can stain your books.
Climate-controlled storage units are more expensive than traditional ones and are likely to cost about 15% more than ones that are not climate controlled. To help reduce your costs, rent a storage space that is a smaller than average. For example, the mid-range price for an average-sized 10 foot by 15 foot unit is $125 to $150 a month. A climate controlled unit this size would be $143 to $172 a month. If you go with a 5 foot by 5 foot space, then the climate controlled unit would be between $38 and $63 a month on average. This can help to save you more than enough money to rent a 5 foot by 10 foot space or one a bit larger to hold items that are less likely to become damaged in a unit that is not climate controlled.
Contact storage facilities in your area to learn more about your climate control options.
Enclose The Books In Boxes
Antique books should never be placed in a large box or a tupperware container when you need to store them. Each book should instead be placed in its own box. There are a few types of boxes that are made specifically for books. Phase boxes are traditional cardboard holders that have been used for many years to hold antique and rare books as they wait to be archived or conserved. These boxes fold over the sides of the book and overlap over the front cover. To keep the box secure, the top flap is fitted with a tie, snap, or a velcro closure.
Drop spine boxes are also commonly used to hold books as they are stored, and these boxes are typically much more sturdy than phase boxes. Drop spine boxes are more solid too, since they don't need to be folded around the box. The upper and lower parts of the box are simply closed over the book.
If you want to use either phase or drop spine boxes to hold your antique books, then you will need to special order them. Book widths, lengths, and thicknesses vary a great deal, and the best protection is offered if the book fits snug in its box. Use a ruler to measure the boxes before ordering them from a conservation or antique storage supply business.
Once you order your boxes and place the books inside of them, make sure to set the books on bookshelves inside the storage unit. You should not stack books on top of one another or you may crush them.