Talking About Storage Facility Options

5 Tips For Storing Documents, Books, And Other Types Of Papers

Trying to organize your home office or library without giving up any of your precious collection? Documents, historical maps, love letters, books, and other paper items all need extra care and attention to survive intact after months and years of storage.

Separate Secure Documents

The average padlocked storage unit isn't quite secure enough to handle paperwork with sensitive data on it. Find a small lock box at a high security facility for documents like

  • Tax forms, either for your family or small business
  • Birth certificates, social security cards, and other original forms of identification
  • Receipts and spending records
  • Deeds, titles, and other important property documents.

Lock boxes at independent facilities prevent spills, fires, and thieves from ruining your records. The facility needs double and triple electronic access controls to keep unauthorized access to a minimum.

Stack Carefully

Books with less monetary or sentimental value belong in the basic storage unit instead, but special packing is still needed to protect the covers and spines. Small- and medium-sized hardcovers can be safely stored vertically like you would place them in a bookcase, but soft covers and larger books are best stacked horizontally instead. Don't pack more than one layer of books into a single box or carton unless using a horizontal stacking method. The weight of two or more layers of verticals books will warp the covers and pages of the lower ones.

Buy Clean Boxes

It's tempting to reuse old boxes from the liquor store or a shipment of snack cakes to your workplace. However, any used or old cardboard boxes likely carry mold spores and eggs from insects that eat book pages. Invest in brand new boxes to make sure each book and paper stays clean and intact.

If you're looking for more protection against mold and moisture than cardboard offers, try big plastic bins instead. Polyethylene cartons work the best because this type of plastic is non-reactive and resists moisture well over long periods of time. As long as the bin has a tight-fitting lid and offers enough space so the documents and books lay flat, it should help preserve your collection of paper and leather-bound encyclopedias.

Avoid the urge to simply set up metal or wood shelving in the storage unit and stacking your books on the shelves. Leaving books and documents exposed to the air only causes your collection to start aging much quicker than normal. Unless the storage unit has perfect climate control and central air filtration, the dust and temperature changes are sure to make any type of paper more brittle before its time.

Wrap Books and Seal Papers

Concerned about dust and dirt ruining the value of collectible books and documents? Invest in plastic protective dust jackets for hardcover books and vacuum sealed sleeves for papers and pamphlets. Try renting a plastic sealing machine when packing up an entire collection of comic books or hand-written letters before storing them. Skip newspaper since the ink can rub off on the books and paper.

Choose Climate Controlled Storage

Even after sealing your papers in plastic and packing your books in boxes, you need to control the humidity and temperature levels inside the storage unit. Stick with a climate controlled unit to keep mold at bay so that the air stays below 55 percent humidity at all times. Mold quickly spreads through boxed books, so even a temporary lapse in humidity control can leave your paperwork ruined.

With some careful preparations and the right type of storage space, you can keep your famous letter collection or paperback library safe for years to come. Free up some space in your home while taking better care of your books by moving them out of your attic or basement and into a climate controlled storage unit.