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When your collection of books starts to overtake your home, consider storing them. Many homes have perfect attic space for storage, whether in a full-sized attic or simply a crawlspace. When you need to move some books into this storage, take advantage of these tips and become informed on how to prevent your books from being damaged by moisture.
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How to Store Books in the Attic
Ensure that your attic is clean and dry, without any leaks. Make a space for your collection of books away from walls and any gaps in the roof that frequently begin to leak, such as places where the roof is breached to allow ventilation pipes or fans.
Group books by size and type. Try to group paperbacks with paperbacks and hardbacks with the same. This helps prevent books from warping, as they will be snug when packed, without any gaps or pressure resulting from different sizes. Hard cover books should be stacked horizontally. This will keep the cover plates from warping. Paperback books, due to their smaller size, can be stacked either vertically or horizontally.
Ensure that the books do not stick while stored by separating with paper. Try to find acid free paper for this step, as other paper will eventually eat into the books. Recycled newsprint is ideal. Wrap the spine and the rear cover of the book. When the books are stacked, this will keep all printed parts of the covers from touching other books. If you choose not to separate the printed covers with paper in order to make them easier to access, the ink of the covers will cause them to stick to one another. If you want to keep the books more accessible, place them in shallow containers deep enough for one layer of books and only place paper between the covers.
Pack your books into a storage container. Plastic containers with a solid body are ideal for this task, as they will keep out moisture and help protect the books from any roof leaks.
Place the containers in the attic. Ensure that ample airflow can get around the storage containers when they are stacked, which will help prevent moisture buildup.
Place the books away from the wall. Outside temperature changes will affect books near the wall. This can cause the books to sweat as well as cracking the glue in the binding. If at all possible, store the books on an occupied floor rather than the attic. This will ensure a more even temperature, prolonging the life of the books.
While plastic containers are best for packing books, if your collection is large this may be an expensive option. If you must pack in cardboard boxes, try to purchase new boxes from a moving company to avoid insect infestation in the boxes. However, cardboard boxes mean that more moisture will be able to reach the books.