Do you have a lot of books, that you love and want to keep for a long time?
Storing them properly means a big difference on how long they’ll last, because improperly stored books are exposed to moisture, sunlight, and pests.
Maybe you’re trying to declutter your place in order to make room for both your old books and newly bought ones, but what are your options when you simply run out of shelf space?
Storage boxes are durable, available in many sizes, and can be stacked for a perfectly organized storage area.
For this guide we’ve reviewed the best storage boxes for books, and we’ve gathered some general advice on proper book storage too.
Our Top Picks
Here are some great storage boxes you can use for storing books:
AmazonBasics Moving Box With Lids and Handles
- Durable cardboard boxes
- Suitable for indoor storage
- Available in small or medium size
This AmazonBasics storage box is no less than perfect for book storage. Since it’s made from cardboard, it allows moisture to escape, and your books are properly ventilated during storage.
There’s a few lines printed on the side of the box, and here you can write a quick note about the contents of the box.
These boxes require no tape or glue during the assembly, and can be disassembled for space saving storage.
Depending on what size you get these storage boxes in, they come in packs of 20 or 10 boxes that you can assemble and use for all purposes.
- Size – small: 15 x 10 x 12 inches
- Size – medium: 19 x 15.5 x 14.5 inches
HOONEX Linen Foldable Storage Bin
- Stylish design
- Made from polyester
- Can be folded when not in use
- 16.5 x 11.8 x 7.5 inches
The stylish HOONEX Linen Foldable Storage Bin is made from polyester, which is one of the recommended storage materials according to the Art Institute of Chicago.
Polyester allows the contents to breath, while providing you with ample storage space for books and other items.
These boxes are foldable and can be stacked, and they shield your books from dust and debris.
There are carrying handles on both sides of these boxes, and they can easily be carried around and pulled out from underneath a bed.
IRIS USA Ziploc WeatherShield Storage Box
- Seals tightly for moisture- and dust proof storage
- Available in many different sizes
- Can be stored on shelves or under a bed
While plastic storage bins aren’t always ideal for book storage, they are quite efficient at blocking out any moisture and unwanted pests.
Throw in a pair of silica gel desiccant bags, if you want to make sure no moisture gets trapped with your books. Desiccant bags collect the moisture from the air and holds it inside the silica gel beads, so your books won’t suffer any damage. They do require an airtight seal to function properly though, so make sure the lid is put on and locked at all times. If you decide to open the lid and reach in for a book, you need to exchange the desiccant bags with new ones.
IRIS USA Storage Boxes might just be the thing you need, if you’re looking for an option that resists moisture and keeps any unwanted pests away from your books.
These boxes can also be stacked on top of one another to help you maximize your storage space. A groove on the cover allows the boxes to “lock” in place and prevent shifting or sliding when stacked. Because the plastic is clear, you can always see what is inside should you ever need to get something, without having to check inside each box.
Note: They are sold in packs of 2, 3, and 4. You may also opt to get the one that holds 16 quarts, 44 quarts, or 60 quarts, depending on the space you have available and the number of books you want to store.
When storing your books in a humid or changing climate, an airtight box could be your safest bet. Add a few bags of silica gel desiccant to collect any moisture trapped inside the box, and make sure it’s sealed completely airtight. That way your books can be stored with a bit of added security against moisture and unwanted pests in a basement, attic, or garage.
With the way the latches clamp down the covers tightly, you don’t need to worry about how airtight this storage box is. If you plan to store books here, you can be sure that they will protect your books from the weather and other elements outside of the box. The water/air vapor seal will make sure your books remain safe and dry inside.
These boxes are great ideas for storing keepsakes, documents, books, and the like. The clear plastic will also help you sort between the items as you store them in your basement or attic or other storage room around your house. You can also stack them on top of one another in an orderly way.
Note: They come in packs of 4 and 6 and can hold up to 20, 32, 54, or 80 quarts. You can purchase any size that best suits your needs and the space you have.
Rubbermaid Cleverstore Stackable Boxes
- Available in sizes up to 95 quart
- Suitable for indoor storage
- Works well for under bed storage
The Rubbermaid Cleverstore boxes are perfect for book storage indoors, and are available in many sizes and shapes. It even comes in a shape that is perfect for under bed storage, so you can keep your books nearby while remaining content that they are safe and sound.
There’s an unexpected joy in home organization when you’ve got containers that are easy to see through and easy to store. With storage containers like the Rubbermaid Cleverstore, you can store just about anything without having to worry about keeping the items inside fresh and safe from dust, hair, debris, and alike.
Rubbermaid claims to be able to hold up to 14% more than other storage bins the same size as their own containers. Besides books you can also store dried food, rice, beans, dogfood, and of course, and tools for your hobby.
These Rubbermaid storage boxes are shatter-free and made of a durable polypropylene material. The lids close securely with the latches attached to the base, keeping your items dry and dust-free. In other words, they are perfect for organization of closets, pantries, wardrobes, and under bed storage space.
Note: These storage containers come in packs of 4, 6, or 12, depending on the capacity you choose to get. These bins can hold up to 6, 16, 30, 41, 71, or 95 quarts.
How to Store Books in Boxes
The U.S. National Archives recommends the following approach when storing and preserving your books:
- Store books away from heat and moisture
Rooms that aren’t well insulated, are somewhat exposed to the elements outside. That usually applies to garages, attics, and basements. Heat and moisture is not a good combination when trying to preserve your books, so store them inside your house if possible.
- Store books away from sunlight
Sunlight cause your books to fade on the outside, which can be soon on their spines of they’ve been exposed for longer periods at a time. Make sure your books are in an area of your house where sunlight won’t fall directly on your books.
- Store regular-sized books in upright position
Small to medium-sized books should be stored upright, and large books should be stored flat to prevent them from losing their shape.
Do’s and Don’ts When Storing Your Books
Here’s a quick guide of the things you shouldn’t do, as well as the things you can do, as you store your precious books. Remember, you want to keep them in as good a condition as possible!
Don’t store your books and/or boxes directly against exterior walls
Exterior walls are constructed to balance the dew point in a way that moisture won’t form in any interior building materials. However, this will only work if a bit of space is maintained between the wall and any items placed inside your house.
Therefore you should allow at least 4-5 inches of space between any exterior walls and your storage boxes, in order for air to circulate and prevent your walls from becoming moist on the inside.
Don’t wrap your books in plastic or foil
Plastic bags, plastic wrap, and foil encourage mold. If you wrap your books in them before placing them in storage boxes, they won’t have space to “breathe” and mold may eventually settle on their covers, on the spines of the books, and even in between the pages.
If you insist in wrapping them in plastic, you should add a silica gel desiccant bag to drag out excess moisture and keep it from ruining the paper.
Don’t keep your books in a humid spot
Mold grows in damp places and they will damage your books as well as any other paper-based items you have.
If possible, keep your books in a cool, dry place where they won’t be subject to humidity or big temperature changes.
In a situation where you have no other options than storing your books in an uninsulated environment, it would be good if you could find weather-proof and moisture-proof boxes so that they protect your books.
Don’t keep your books in food storage boxes
While you can recycle old storage boxes, it’s recommended not to use boxes that were once used for food storage. Especially not if you’re storing your books in a basement or shed.
The odors and residue can attract rodents, insects, and other pests that will come sniffing around and might end up damaging your books.
Do allow plenty of ventilation in your storage area
No matter where and how you store your books, the surrounding area has to be well ventilated. Unless your books are in a sealed storage box, the air should never be stale at any point, because it builds up humidity and mold may start forming in some areas.
Basements, attics, and garages can be a bit problematic to keep dry and properly ventilated, because the most important requirement is to maintain a certain temperature level while allowing fresh air to circulate throughout the day.
It is also important NOT to clutter any space, because air has to be able to travel in between boxes and shelves, in order to maintain a proper level of ventilation.
If you’re planning on storing your books in an attic, we’ve made a guide on how to store books in the attic.
We’ve also made a guide on how to store books in the garage.
Do store your books in pet and pest-free spaces
You may love books, but you’ve got an adorable furball, and they may love books as well…but for gnawing and chewing on them. As much as we love our dogs and cats, they don’t see books as a tool to educate themselves, but more often than not they will play with your books till they no longer look like books.
Keep your books in a place where your animals can’t access them. You can do this by putting them way up and out of reach, or by enclosing them in cabinets and boxes so your pets won’t get to them.
Not only do you have to worry about your lovable pets, but you also have to think about the pests we can all very much do without. These are termites and the like, and when they find your books, they can eat away on the pages till all that’s left is a pile of chewed up paper that used to be a book. Mice also love books, tearing and nibbling away at the pages to add to their nests.
Do label your storage boxes as needed
I find it really helpful if I know where my things are. Even if your storage boxes are made of clear plastic, it would be good to label them with something that will help you remember what kinds of books you placed inside each bin exactly. You can opt to label them per genre or by the authors’ names, alphabetically. That way, you don’t need to take out all your boxes when you need to find a particular book.
Do wrap up each book before storing them
You can opt to wrap each book in a paper towel or bubble wrap to protect them from dirt and other residue build-up. It will also help if you can store similar sized books together (either lying flat or standing upright) so the covers won’t warp and no damage will be done to the other books when you need to take one out.