Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sunday Salon: Packing Up Books

How disheartening.

Books are my friends—we've been places together, they've helped me grow.  Books I haven't yet read represent new adventures, new insight.  I get all mushy and sentimental when I have to put them away into boxes.

We're moving in a few weeks' time.  Boxing up books for a simple move is one thing—there's the anticipation of setting them up again, organizing them in any fashion that appeals to you—but my impending move is not a simple one.  We are vacating our home for a year or so while it gets some major cosmetic work done, and will be living in a smaller place in the meantime.  This means that many of my books are facing a dismal prospect: storage.  [cue pouting face]

Filling up the file boxes...
The books that have won the privilege of sleeping indoors are mostly those that I haven't read yet.  All others have to wait patiently until the new library is revealed.

Have you had any experience with storing books?  Any suggestions or precautions?  I'd really hate to incur any damage.  We do live in Southern California, so many weather/critter related issues aren't quite as concerning as they'd be elsewhere.

Any ideas on how to refrain from going on multiple book-buying-binges to compensate my relative lack of bookish surroundings?

17 comments:

  1. I went through this during our last move, so I can truly feel your pain. My books were in storage for 8 months and I really did miss them. They were in a climate-controlled storage unit, which made me feel better about the possibility of damage (and there wasn't any). One piece of advice I would share (that I didn't do and would do again) is to label your boxes by number. I was missing a few boxes for awhile, and there were several signed copies in the missing boxes, which was causing me to stress out a bit. I knew they were SOMEWHERE but the fact that I didn't know exactly where was kind of nervewracking. So, that's one thing I'd do differently.

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    1. That's a good idea, Melissa! Thanks for the idea. It sounds like one of those things that wouldn't take much effort at the beginning, but could really pay off in the end.

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  2. You are brave but they will be like long lost friends when they are returned to their rightful place - kind of like the prodigal son - right?

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    1. They certainly will, Belle! And they'll definitely be happier on the new, clean, roomy shelves than they have been piled up and double stacked on the old shelves they've been on. :)

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  3. I would say rain (I live in a rainy country), but I'm sure it's not a big problem in Southern California.

    I have my school books organized by periods, but the rest are just piled as I read them. What about organizing them for what they are about: romance, crime, historical fiction etc?

    Good luck with renovating the house!

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    1. Reorganizing my books can be a de-stress routine for me, so that's part of why it'll be hard having them put away. Maybe I'll spend the interim devising the perfect organizational system. So many possibilities! :)

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  4. It is really hard. I have had to do this a couple of times. I recommend choosing boxes that aren't too big, to reduce risk of them being shoved around rather than properly picked up to be moved due to their weight. But other than that, just grit your teeth and look forward to the day when you get to lovingly unpack them again.

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    1. I did splurge and buy file boxes for that reason. It'll be much easier to pop the top off and glance inside if need be, and much easier to keep the boxes organized & hopefully damage free. I'm hoping to find a place in my garage for them so that they'll be a bit closer than off-site storage (not a fun prospect!)

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  5. I would use plastic storage bins instead of cardboard. If the storage unit gets flooded, even with an inch of water (El Nino in CA this year), the books on the bottom will be toast. Or...you can elevate the cardboard on plywood set on 2x4's.

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    1. I seriously considered buying plastic containers but just couldn't justify the cost in the end. Great idea to have them elevated somehow, though. Better to be safe than sorry!

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  6. Most of mine are in storage right now. I feel your pain. No advice except to have a drink to take the edge off. ;)

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    1. :( So sad, right? Although, in a way, it has made all those books on my TBR shelf look much more exciting...wondering what the psychology is behind that??

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  7. An entire year???!!! Wow, I was expecting weeks--not a year. But, I guess with that kind of total transformation it would need to take a year.

    I'd like to comfort you, but I too like to be surrounded by books. I probably couldn't give you any advice to keep away the book-buying-binges. HA! My husband has tried everything to no avail. I do wait until I get a little cash to buy, but books are always the things at the top of the list.

    The trouble with me is, I have so many books that I get overwhelmed. I don't like to reorganize!

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    1. Heidi, if I lived closer I'd come reorganize your books any day. :) Of course, not being overwhelmed by your books might not be the best thing for the book-buying-habit! I've done really well at controlling my book buying (for the most part) these last couple of years, but once I start thinking about filling up my new shelves it'll be hard to resist!

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  8. Hi Melody,
    We must've shopped at the same place for banker's boxes. Those are the same one's I'm current using (I'm out of bookshelf space and am not going to get any more until I move. I too like their accessibility. You're right, just "pop the top!" Just enjoy the books you will have out in the interim. I'm sure there will be plenty. Or use an e-reader (gasp!). Good luck!
    Jay

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    1. Jay, it's true that there really are plenty of books that I'll have out needing to be read. You know, I own 2 e-readers (Kindle and Nook) and I rarely use them because I want to have the real book...I've always got it in my head that if I really like the book I'll want the hard copy, and then I'm paying twice for the same book. Oh the conundrum that convenience causes. ;)

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  9. Hmm. As long as these boxes are in a safe and private hiding place, there’s really nothing to worry about, Melody. I know it’s hard to keep them inside those cartons, but it’s the best thing to do for your books to remain clean and untouched. Just make sure to keep them away from water or anything that can cause your books to cripple.

    Tyrone Obey

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