How best to store books?
September 20, 2005 4:27 PM   Subscribe

I need to store about two large bookshelves of books. The problem is two-fold: With an impending addition to the family, I have no space in the house. Additionally, I live in San Francisco where I am worried about ruining the books if I simply place them in boxes in the garage. I need help with storage options.

I would really like to keep them somewhat available. I think that the garage is the best place, but I want to make sure that they don't suffer from mildew or mold or anything that will prematurely deteriorate them. I can place a handful of books, those that I treasure most or that I intend to read soon, in the house. The rest of the collection, though represents material that I don't want to give away, but I don't necessarily need at my fingertips.

Any advice on ways to store this stuff would be greatly appreciated.
posted by xorowo to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I just built a bookcase on the wall above a set of stairs, I need a ladder to get to the top shelves but it holds a lot of books. Or use sliding boxes under a bed? Or build shelves into the back of a closet?
posted by LarryC at 4:40 PM on September 20, 2005

As a person who lives in San Francisco, I had to throw out boxes and boxes of books that I had stored in my garage. The mold and mildew threat is real!

My brother thought that I could have gotten a dehumidifier and just kept it running. It might have worked, or maybe some way of sealing the boxes with plastic or something. Certainly the boxes that were off the concrete floor (on cindar blocks) fared somewhat better, but there was still mold and mildew on them.
posted by jasper411 at 4:52 PM on September 20, 2005

Coming from a house full of books. Do you reeeally need them? Do you actually still use them or would like to continue possessing them? Pare them down, then make room in the house, hell toss the TV.
posted by Max Power at 5:41 PM on September 20, 2005

I put my bed up on stands (little 5" tall black plastic ones that are made just for it) and shoved about 15 paper boxes of books under it.
posted by 445supermag at 5:46 PM on September 20, 2005

Can you use those cheap plastic storage containers? They're not airtight but could probably be made so with some foam tape.
posted by mikeh at 6:00 PM on September 20, 2005

Can you replace your existing coffee tables with ones that provide storage? Could a book case (with doors) replace a side table or night stand? Under the bed works. How about the top of a closet? If you own, you could consider opening the wall above a closet and putting a shelf and sliding cabinet door in. You could also put a shelf above a door.

When I got pregnant last year, my husband and I really thought about which books we wanted to keep. We realized we were hanging on to books we hadn't read in 10 years and weren't likely to read again. I read some of them again and then donated them. Others, I gave away, knowing I could borrow from the library. We managed to pare our books down so that they all fit in one bookcase. And we're keeping that bookcase in our son's room until he's big enough to notice!
posted by acoutu at 6:27 PM on September 20, 2005

Stanford has some advice. My books are in cheap comic book boxes (acid free) on a pallet wrapped in plastic pack wrap with a few dessicant packs in each box and a few big ones next to the boxes. Plastic storage boxes work too, just lay down some paper between the book and the plastic and throw in some dessicant.
posted by arruns at 6:35 PM on September 20, 2005

Talking to my wife, under the bed makes a lot of sense. I just checked The Container Store website and saw that we can get 6 of their underbed storage boxes under our bed. Between that and the small amount of shelving in our living room, I think we might make it.

We also realized that we have a number of classic children's books (my wife is a teacher). We are going to try and get some of those on a bookshelf in the nursery. If anything is left, I'll go with the wrapping of the boxes and using dessicant.
posted by xorowo at 8:05 PM on September 20, 2005

The standard bookshelf has deep enough shelves to fit two rows of books*. You can double your bookshelf space simply by having two rows of books on one shelf. Yes, you can't see the titles, but they'll still be more accessible than if you boxed them up.

*art books are the exception
posted by luneray at 9:31 AM on September 21, 2005

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