How To Prepare And Pack Books For Safe Self Storage

10 March 2015
 Categories: , Articles


Moving can be a stressful time, even if the entire family is on board with the move. Sometimes that means using less care with packing and storing your personal belongings than necessary. While it may not matter how carelessly you pack that box of plastic food containers, how you pack and store things can make a big difference when it comes to your library of books. If you intend to place books in self storage until you get settled and are ready to set up your home library, there are some things you need to know. Follow these tips for packing and storing your books safely to prevent damage.

Preparing Books for Storage

Books get dusty and dirty even under the best of circumstances. Packing them away with dirt and dust on them poses the risk of soiling other books and may cause staining or damage. That means that before you pack and move them, your books need to be cleaned. 

  1. Grip the book firmly, holding it closed.
  2. Wipe the book down with a dry magnetic cloth, brushing from the spine outward.
  3. Remove any bookmarks, pressed flowers or other objects such as paper clips from the pages of the book. These can cause damage such as wrinkles, tears and stains over time.

Wrap Your Hardcover Books

Wrapping the books may seem silly to you, but it will prevent damage to the cover or dust jacket during storage.

  1. Lay the book on a piece of polyester film that is free of a dyes and chemicals.
  2. Cut the film 2- to 4-inches larger than the book.
  3. Slip the end of the film under the front flap of the book and wrap it around the book, tucking the opposite end under the back flap.

Organizing Your Books

Organizing your books before your pack them may seem like an unnecessary chore now, but you will be glad you did when you are looking for a specific book later. 

  1. Choose an organizational method. You may wish to organize your books according to the family member they belong to, genre, subject matter, author or how frequently the books are used.
  2. Sort the books within each category by size, placing large hardcover books in one pile and small paperbacks in another. This makes packing the boxes easier and prevents damaging from shifting or moving during transport or storing.

Packing the Books

Choosing the right boxes for your books is important to preventing damaging and making moving them  manageable.

  1. Choose clean, sturdy, archival quality boxes. Archival quality boxes are acid-free and can be purchased lignin free. They are designed to provide the best protection for paper products, such as photos, documents and books. You can buy them at office supply stores.
  2. Select several small boxes instead of one large box. Books are heavy and difficult to move in large boxes. In addition, packing books in large boxes poses the risk of the boxes breaking down over time due to the weight of the books.
  3. Place the books in the box so they are laying flat. Standing books on end causes damage to the spine of the book.
  4. Pack the books snugly so there is little room for shifting.
  5. Add crumpled packing paper between books or around the sides of the box to secure the books. Do not use newspaper for this as the print can rub off onto to your books.

Label Your Boxes

Labeling your boxes makes finding the books you need easier, but that's not the only reason to label and record the contents of each box. If damage does occur from an unexpected fire or flood, accurate labels give you a record for insurance claims, too.

  1. Write down the name and author of each box as you pack it into the box.
  2. Place the list in a plastic sheet protector and tape it to the outside of the box.
  3. Alternately, you can compile a master list of the books and code the boxes. For example, you can label the boxes with a alphanumeric system (such as A, B, C or 1, 2, 3) and itemize the contents of the box on your master list.
  4. Make a copy of your master list and place it in plastic protector sheets or in a binder and hang it from a hook near the stored books. Keep the original list in a safe location.

Taking the time to prepare and pack your books now makes finding what you need easier if your need to access them in storage. It also helps you keep an accurate record of your book collection. For more information, check out a self storage facility's website, such as