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Get your books into storage

A home library organised on white box shelves with plenty of pleasing empty space
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Operations - Store and Insure

We used storage to help us properly enjoy our library

Remember how I told you that we’d sold our house by storing our books ? I think it’s about time I told you more about the way we use self-storage to keep our home library from taking over.

We all love reading in my family. We think of the books we display as part of our identity. We tried clever book shelf solutions . We considered severely curtailing our book buying; and we tried one in, one out rules. But in the end, we could only fit so many books in our house. We found that self-storage allowed us to keep the library that we as a family wanted without overwhelming our living space. Here are my thoughts about the process of storing your library.

We don’t need all our books to hand all the time

In the bad old days, when there were books stacked on our stairs, I believed I could put my hand on any of my books at any time. But the thing is, I couldn’t. I could never find them, or I had to move a load of boxes out of the spare room so I could open the wardrobe to find the paperback I had in mind.

In the end, organising and storing our books means that we know exactly where almost any book is.

Store books in a way that’s meaningful to you

We crate books by subject; and we also crate books by function. There’s a box of books I like to read on holiday that I bring out the week before we go away. And there are several boxes of books about various hobbies and activities that we pick up and put down throughout our busy lives. We’ve got a couple of boxes of beautiful coffee table books, and every three months or so, I rotate them so we have different books to flip through.

My other tip about storage is that you should keep your crates or boxes a manageable size. Make them easy for one person to lift. And label them, too.

Climate-controlled storage is better for precious books

Many houses suffer from damp in certain places; and the temperature fluctuates in a domestic setting. Mould and temperature variations can damage books, as can sunlight, which is why garages, sheds and cellars are not good places to store books. We were impressed when we read about the pest-proof climate-controlled units used by the storage company we picked. Some of our books are more than a hundred years old. We felt much happier knowing these books were stored safely, even if they weren’t immediately to hand.

Some of our books are a seasonal treat

Towards the end of October, I bring our books of ghost stories out so we can enjoy them around Halloween. We’ve got a Christmas box, too, which comes out on 1 December and goes back in again when the Christmas decorations come down. It includes some children’s favourites; and a few recipe books, as well as some classic Christmas tales.

Some books never come out of storage

I keep a very few apparently useless books, and I’m all right with that. I’ve got a set of old manuals for the operating system DOS – remember the C prompt? And I’ve got a book which claims to be a directory of the entire internet in 1995. I keep these to remind me of how far technology has come in my lifetime. I don’t get them out very often – but I enjoy owning them.

Storing our books changed the way we interact with them, and has allowed us to have a bigger, better library than I could have imagined when I kept books in the spare room wardrobe.