Store books properly to extend their shelf life

July 29, 2015

Keeping books well-organized and dust-free will go a long way to increasing their life and ensuring that you can enjoy reading them for years to come. Here are some tips.

Store books properly to extend their shelf life

Books make wonderful companions; they enthrall, educate, and comfort us. For that reason alone, every book collection should be lovingly cared for and organized. An efficient ordering system will make it easier to find specific titles. Survey your books and root out those you no longer reach for.

Tips for the bookish

  • Choose bookcases with glass doors if you want to keep your books from getting dusty. Home-sewn book covers serve nicely if a glass-fronted bookcase isn't in the cards.
  • Display multi-volume dictionaries or antique books along walls with open shelves so that they are easy to access.
  • Try to install your bookshelves in a dry room or use a dehumidifier in damper climates or rooms. Moisture is no friend to your tomes.
  • Make sure there is about 2.5 centimetres (one inch) of space between the top edges of the books and the bottom edge of the shelf above. This makes it much easier to slide out books you want to read.
  • Arrange books according to authors, themes or special subject areas. This makes it easier to find what you're looking for and easy to reshelf books.
  • Store heavy volumes on the bottom shelf. This will make your bookcase considerably more stable.
  • Leave plenty of room between subject areas so you can add new books without having to reorganize the entire bookshelf.
  • Don't pack your books too tightly on the shelves, especially over a heating unit; it will cause the glue in the bindings to become brittle.

Tip: The book brush attachment for the vacuum cleaner is probably the least-used accessory, mainly because hardly anyone knows what it is for. And yet the little brush with its soft bristles is exceedingly practical: it allows you to dust whole rows of books gently and quickly, without having to empty the shelf. Often all you have to do is pull the books out five centimetres (two inches).

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