The Stashbee Guide to Book Storage
A recent study revealed that the average UK homeowner has 143 books in their possession, and the rise of smaller living spaces means that shelves everywhere might be on the verge of buckling under their weight. There simply isn’t always enough space to store entire collections properly, especially if you like to pop into the local bookstore and add to your collection on a regular basis.
Luckily, the Stashbee team is here to help with storage to rent across the UK to suit any purpose, including making space for your ever-growing library. This guide offers advice on the best ways to improvise around organising and storing book collections. We’ve also even included some ways you can use the space you have in order to minimise the risk of damaging your favourite novels in the process.
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What Is the Best Way to Store Books?
As your home library continues to grow, it’s worth knowing about the best ways to look after your books in storage so you can treasure them for all eternity. Books are sensitive, magical objects that require proper care during reading, as well as the storage process. Considering they offer the companionship of the most brilliant creative minds of the world, they deserve only the best. Here are a few tips for the right way to go about storing your books.
Vertical storage as a golden rule
Setting the right foundation for book storage means factoring in the way they are physically stored. As a general rule, try to always store them upright instead of stacking them horizontally. This not only maximises space, but helps to protect their shape. It also gives the book the chance to quite literally support the ones next to them in a way that protects them too.
Forget about cramming books to fill a single box, especially when you don’t have a lot of time, as the spines might suffer and warp. Also remember to put a sheet of paper above the top layer to minimise their exposure to dust. The same goes for storing them on a bookshelf, which are probably more prone to getting dusty and attracting unlikely pests that could nibble on the pages over time.
Opt for slim, leaning bookcases
For day-to-day storage of your book collection, it’s worth going for a more creative solution than a traditional bookcase. Slim, leaning cases are great for smaller spaces where you’re most likely to be doing a lot of stacking to get the most out of the storage units. These bookcases are also ideal for keeping collections neat and with the right coat of paint, they might even elevate the overall aesthetic of your space.
A leaning bookcase also adds a touch of modernity to any room it’s in, showcasing the fact that, even though you might have picked up your love for reading from them, you’re not opting for the same traditional decor as your grandparents. It might even attract so much attention that visitors will ask to borrow (i.e. snatch) one of your precious books before they go home. So just remember to get it back!
Maximising book storage with hallways
Poor hallways. They don’t get the same kind of love and attention as the other home spaces, yet without them, we wouldn’t be able to get from one room to the next. Little do many people know that their hallways actually have a special role to play as the perfect spot for book storage, especially for any homes or apartments which feel a bit bare or impersonal.
Storing books in your hallways is a great way to alleviate the clutter in other rooms where you’ve already stashed books in every nook and cranny, and could help you free up space in other areas of your home. Practical shelving in the hallway won’t have you tripping over anything if you wind up stumbling to the bathroom at night either.
Doubling up bookcases with console tables or other surfaces
Maximising book storage means getting the most out of your tables and surfaces. Pairing these up with the books that match the overall colour scheme in the room not only shows off your good taste, but can really dial up the mood in the space too. Some bookcases can also be used as console tables, while others even come with a wine rack - talk about some practical furniture for your next Friday night reading session!
When you’re dealing with limited space, weighing up your options and using what you have is essential. It’s never been more important to cut down on waste in all aspects of life, and applying this to your own carefully curated living space will not only stimulate your creativity, but make your property feel more like a home to boot.
Checking up on your books during storage
No matter how you go about storing or arranging your books at home, you’ll need to check up on them from time to time. Storing them in bookcases will likely lead to them gathering dust, while packing them into storage boxes will need to be cleaned before they go in.
Regular inspections might not seem like that much fun at first, but doing so will reduce their risk of exposure to harmful pests, damp, and other liquids. The last thing any book lover wants is for mould or mildew to spread to their prized first edition hardback of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. No amount of tears will cover the pain when that happens.
How Do You Keep Books Without Bookshelves?
Storing books the conventional way with bookshelves or cases is one way to go. But what if you’re not working with either? If you’re seeking more creative storage solutions without making your house look like it could be cast in Hoarders, these are some ideas to keep the space looking great, while leaving guests in awe of your unique and quirky style too.
Small book collections here and there
Let’s get the terminology right first in case anyone asks - you’re not creating piles of books. These are collections of books. Scattering a few carefully chosen paperbacks or coffee table books around the living space is a very sophisticated approach to book storage.
What’s more, curating these collections can be creatively stimulating too. Play around with colour combinations that compliment different parts of your home, and work other objects (like plants or picture frames) to really take these spaces to the next level. You might even want to group books alphabetically by author or by series in corners, desks, TV credenzas or even bar areas. Wherever you decide, let your imagination run wild.
Line books up along window sills
Another way to go when you’re not dealing with a traditional storage is to line books up on windowsills or along the adjacent wall below them. With a bit of finesse, you’ll easily avoid it looking like an overstocked second-hand bookstore, especially if you opt to pair the space up with some extra greenery.
The idea is to be able to pull up a chair nearby, grab an old favourite off the shelf, and dive in for as long as you fancy. The same idea can be applied to an open wall that bridges adjoining rooms when you have a staircase - simply line your books up and watch the space transform in front of your eyes.
Containers for active or passive storage
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of books you have at home, a storage bin or container (preferably that isn’t made of plastic in this day and age) can help keep your books organised and protected. Storage containers are great for non-shelf-based, active storage that keeps books out the way, out of reach and out of sight. They’re also great for passive storage of books you’d like to continue displaying at home.
Turned upside down, these containers can also create an additional flat surface for showcasing your books, with extra storage space at their centre. The idea is for you to be able to actively store some of your old favourites inside, while passively storing more recent literary loves on the bottom-turned-top end.
Book baskets instead of bookshelves or cases
Book baskets are another avenue well worth exploring for your storage needs, offering a sophisticated wicker, wire, wood or cloth-based alternative that has been specifically designed to house published works. They’re even more of a winner in our books for being more environmentally friendly than their plastic counterparts.
The baskets create a neat display on tabletops or window sills, with your esteemed collection always within reach in case a friend asks for a recommendation. They’re also great for under-the-bed storage, and excellent for hiding steamier tomes in your closet, in case you don’t want your parents to see your complete set of Mills & Boon romance novels…
Make the most of bedroom storage
Bedrooms are highly underutilised storage spaces. From the headboard to the foot of the bed, the sides and even directly underneath, there is a variety of storage spaces you could use. What’s more, going down this route means literally surrounding yourself with your literary loves every night.
Stack your books neatly above the headboard, preferably with some sturdy shelving that won’t have you hitting your head every other day, or worse, have a copy of War & Peace landing on your face in the middle of the night. A bed border is a safer option, not only looking very cool, but providing a practical way to keep an eye on your collection every day. The books will also be within reach for a quick dusting every week too.
Books as a formal part of the design of the home
True book fanatics might even go as far as working their book collections into their design plans when remodelling, or moving into a new space. This is a great way to make sure that books can be stored and displayed to enhance every available space you have to work with. Aside from the potential for colour coordination, this approach also means you can align your library with the structure of the home, making your book collection an integral part of its architecture.
Use a coffee table book to help raise the height of bowls or vases, or as makeshift countertops in areas where you still haven’t found the exact furniture you’re looking for. While we won’t recommend sleeping on top of your books, they could fit into, and be stored, in unconventional spaces in the home that might not even have been considered previously.
How Can I Store My Books in Storage?
If your collection is really starting to stack up — to the point where even the ideas we’ve mentioned seem out of reach — it’s time to look for a formal storage solution. Whether you’re doing this in the name of reorganising your belongings ahead of moving, or simply refreshing your living space, getting the provider right matters. Renting storage space with Stashbee means you’ll only deal with verified Hosts who care about keeping your prized possessions safe and in good condition.
How to keep stored books in the best condition
Ahead of booking storage with us, you can talk to your Stashbee Host about whether there are any spots in their garage or spare room that may be prone to dampness. You never want to run the risk that the books could go mouldy and be ruined in the process. Elevated shelving can minimise this risk, along with investing in high quality storage boxes.
Beyond taking our advice on stacking books into account, you should also make sure the storage unit is climate controlled, factor in the season they will be stored in and seal the boxes with care, with great consideration for how they are placed and organised too. And thanks to the wide range of listings on our interactive platform, and extensive range of filters within our search function, you’ll be able to find exactly what you need in no time at all.
Your fellow book-loving Stashbee Host is out there somewhere, ready to take care of your precious collection. Just try not to get too distracted from talking about World Book Day when you arrive at your storage space of choice, ok?
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Updated 14th Apr 2023
Written 24th Feb 2022
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