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Bookcases: If You Build/Buy Them, They Will Fill

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Oct 12, 2006, 6:17am Top

I am wondering - does anyone have some/all of their collection stored in a paid-for self-storage unit?

I've been considering doing this as I am renting so it is not easy to have all of my books on display all the time.

If I hire a self-storage unit, I could then fill it with bookcases so that all the books that I don't use on a regular basis (mostly novels I have read but which I can't bear to give away) can live on shelves in a clean and dry environment, and not be stacked horizontally in archive boxes in my attic.

(Horizontal stacking is not good for books - their spines don't like it unless the stacks are not very high and the books are of similar dimensions.)

What do others think?

Oct 12, 2006, 1:32pm Top

I can't imagine being so physically separated from my books. I feel bereft even when I lend them to friends. What if the storage building were burned down, vandalized, or flattened by an asteroid? No, I'm not really joking . . . .

Oct 12, 2006, 6:03pm Top

You know, after I posted that message, I almost went to a self-storage place and then was gripped by a sudden fear of fires and suchlike.

And yes, upon reflection, the thought of my books being so far away from me would be like packing my cats off to a long-term cattery.

Instead, I purchased more archive boxes and I'm having a re-sort...am stacking the books vertically in the boxes, according to size, and putting more into the attic...at least we will all be under the same roof :-)

Oct 20, 2006, 2:07pm Top

I'm with kageeh in that I couldn't imagine being separated from them, but if you are determined, look for *document* storage facilities, not the kind of units you drive up to out in a warehouse district... (The thought of flooding, or tornados, or thieves at these places keeps me awake at night!)

There are storage companies that specialize in document/office storage which are in climate controled office-style buildings with arrangements to protect against fire, etc. and it's a more comfortable environment anyway for when you go to get things. I don't know if they are cost prohibative - There's one just a few blocks from my house and I've thought about asking, but never have.

Oct 20, 2006, 2:18pm Top

We moved from a 2600 sqft house to an 850 sqft house and I've had to cull almost 1500 books in the last 2 years -- about half. I decided not to use a storage facility because warehouse storage isn't book-friendly, document storage is very expensive, and I could probably replace my stored books for less than it would cost to store them over a year or two's time.

I did buy 8 foot tall bookcases for the remainder and am saving up to buy another one (I was determined to buy quality cases, which are about $1000 each).

I've just started out at LT, so I only have 3 of my 27 shelves cataloged.

Oct 21, 2006, 5:43pm Top

Most of the self-storage facilities near where I live are either in new, purpose-built buildings or in converted Victorian factories/warehouses. They all have 24 hour security cameras etc and are pretty secure. They are climate controlled and have fire alarms etc., so from those points of view, seem pretty safe and snug...but after having brought all my stored books down from my attic to start cataloguing them in LibraryThing, I've gone off the idea of being separated from them in that way.

But having to cull 1500 books - ouch :-(

Nov 1, 2006, 3:41am Top

Perhaps the answer is not storage, but, rather, to consider which ones are most valuable?

Consider: I currently have around twenty or so books specifically dealing with Old English grammar and usage. Do I really need that many covering more or less the same material? No, of course not.

The one caveat is obvious: judging the inherent value of a book compared to its shelfmates is much easier with non-fiction. Who would want to choose between Stephen King and H. P. Lovecraft? Or J. K. Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien? No one with any sort of love of books wants such choices.

If you do choose to have them stored, SimPenguin's points should be taken to heart. Books easily grow patches of insidious mold if left in nasty generic storage units. Ideally, you would want a space that has less than 50% humidity, at or below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and reasonably well sealed away from six and eight-legged critters. Key term there is 'ideally', though. Decent storage units are rarely cheap, at least in the USA and Canada; as pdxwoman noted, climate-controlled is even more expensive. If cost is an issue, then you really are better off working with what you can do at home as you seem to have already chosen.

One thing you could try:
Figure out which texts can stand to be tucked away in (good) boxes.
Try to make the boxes themed, like horror fiction in one, cookbooks in another, and so on.
Tag the books here in LT with box-specific tags, like 'box01-horror' and 'box02-cookbooks'.
Click on each of these meta-tags when you are done tagging, (which will bring up a list of just the books going into each box) and then print a list of what you tagged and tape that to the box.
Then you can sling the box wherever you like and know exactly where each text is in your place of storage.


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