How To Store Books

I’ve been looking for a better way to store all the stuff in our house. Books take up a lot of space in our house. I found a great guide for how to store books. Notably, it told me that I shouldn’t store books in sealed, clear plastic boxes with desiccant on our back patio. The reasoning: UV light and daily temperature variability is bad for books. I’ll keep looking for a good way to store all our stuff.

Here is the guide:


I found the guide on the Wayback Machine at It used to be on the museum’s website.


  1. Michael says:

    It’s amazing to think that books have become such a mundanity that we can’t find places to put them. It wasn’t so very long ago that a personal library was the domain of the very rich. I think that’s colored our views on what the value of the paper body of a book is. Book burnings are bad because of the attempt to suppress, and we conflate that censorship with the act of damaging or destroying the shell of the information.

    Tubs of books were a bane every time I moved, so I aggressively culled my library a few years ago. The biggest thing that I can suggest is to evaluate what books you’re keeping. I kept a bare handful of entertainment books, and focused on reference material that I can’t get digitally yet. Most of my reference library went digital at the same time, and that actually works better anyway because it introduces the ability to search and manipulate text more freely. I know you and Megan are both in fields where you need reference material, but try thinking about how often you actually use the dead tree form you’re considering where to store. Especially because any form of archiving will make the inertia of not looking at the book much greater.

    Or, keep all of the books in all of the places because books can be a joy and a house full of read books on shelves is a wonderful resource for a house with children. Access to books without limit is a treasure to share.

  2. Michael says:

    I forgot the important note here. Triaging my library was only possible because digital book technology finally caught up. Spinning platters take up way less space, can be backed up nearly infinitely (limited by your willingness to add drives), and I can carry around hundreds of novels and text books in my pocket. In my house, I have a networked library of unlocked books that can be shared instead of the wall of books I used to have.

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