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17 March 2011

A question of storage for the book addicts

I have a question for book addicts like myself. Do you ever put part of your collection in cold storage? I have too many books for the space I have to shelve them. I either need to buy two large bookshelves (and find somewhere to put them!) or buy some large plastic storage boxes and put them on top of my wardrobe. My mother muttered that I should stop buying so many books and sell some of mine (!) but we all know that will never happen (“OVER MY DEAD BODY!” was my actual response). Currently my largest bookshelf is double stacked, with the books laying flat. Where I used to have five paperbacks standing up, I now have about twenty laying down. That bookshelf is just under 2m high by maybe just over 2m long. On top of the hardcovers standing on the top of that bookshelf, I have stacked more books on their bellies, as high as I can get safely them. Lucky I have vaulted ceilings, hey?! In front of the large bookshelf I have a small bookshelf I bought during my first year of university. It is about a metre by a metre, and was made in someone’s shed in Townsville. It is a bit wonky, but it has a nice design for display purposes. That display capacity is not being made use of right now! I have all my Nora Robert’s books (I own most of them now) crammed in this bookshelf any way I can fit them, and on top I have books stacked about ten high. Next to this I have 2 teetering piles of books about waist high. They are holding each other up, and braced by the smaller bookshelf on the left and the large bookshelf behind them. Yes, the smaller bookshelf is placed immediately in front of the big bookshelf. I need more room! I also recently took my shoes out of their shelf and replaced them with books. The shoe shelf is kind of like a dvd cabinet. I have books crammed in there two books thick, and it is about 2.5m tall, although only about 50 cm wide. There are still more books under my bed and on my desk. So what is the solution? I think I need to buy two new tall bookshelves, throw out the smaller ones and move my desk around so there is more wall space. It is expensive though. If I was leasing by myself I would just buy some bricks and 2by4s. I grew up with bookshelves like that and they may be cheap and nasty, but they WORK! The problem is, if they get bumped, they can scratch the wall. The lease on the sharehouse I am currently living in isn’t in my name and Lachlan would kill me if I scratched the walls. I just don’t know what to do. I can’t really afford to buy bookshelves, but the books aren’t stacked safely and I am always worried some fell breeze will knock them over. I don't want to be a Jacq pancake! (although, what a way to go!) I am hoping to move this year, but that isn’t a given because I buy books instead of dumping that $40 in the bank every fortnight. Books are a necessity of life, I refuse to listen to my Mum when she says they aren’t! If I lived anywhere near my parents I would just ask Dad to make me a big arse bookshelf, but they live fourteen hours away, so that is not going to happen.

Yes, I know, I am talking myself in a circle. There isn’t really anything I can do. I think I need to buy some large plastic storage containers and go through my books and figure out which I am unlikely to read in the next year or so. The biggest problem with storing my books like this is that our house is prone to damp. Can you recommend a way of keeping the damp out of plastic boxes? I don’t want to hurt my books. At least on the bookshelves there is nowhere for damp air to gather…Is there a product which will attract the moisture without hurting my books with chemical?

What are your solutions when you have too many books? Do you buy new bookshelves, cull your collection, stack them creatively or put them in storage? And do you have suggestions on the best way for me to put some of my preciouses out of the way on top of my wardrobe?


Sean said...

Buy another house. :)

mummazappa said...

Recently I bought 3 enormous bookshelves from Ikea (crap but cheap and does the job!) which has resolved this problem for me. For now anyway as they are full up and I just keep accumulating books. I'm sure you've thought of something like this, but you know from bunnings you can buy sheets of that sticky felt stuff you put on the bottom of chairs etc so you don't scratch the floors. You could cut that to size to put on the back your homemade brick and ply shelves so they don't damage the walls if they hit it. Also, I think tissue paper and then black plastic wrapped around your books in the plastic boxes should keep them safe from damp. I remember we used to put rice in the salt shaker to absorb the moisture so the rice wouldn't stick together, no idea if that would work in a plastic box though!

mummazappa said...

sorry, that should read 'so that the salt wouldn't stick together'

VanyelK said...

I've done the cold storage thing, because I get a little claustrophobic when everything is cluttered. Pick an author that you have a bazillion books of i.e for me Nora Roberts.
The reason is if i put a variety of authors, I might forget that i owned a particular author or 'out of sight out of mind' happens with more exotic or lesser known books I buy. Whereas with Nora Roberts, i can't forget her, and on some random day i can say 'hmm I'm in the mood for some Nora'

Also as for your walls. I'm sure you've thought of this as mummazappa said but plastics from bunnings/lincraft are cheap and just cover over the bricks, Or even better you can just get a piece of plywood.

obsidiantears83 said...

I _wish_ I could buy another house! I wish I could buy ANY house! At the moment I am saving to rent my own place, or maybe share with bookish friends. Either way, my books need to be able to explode outside my bedroom! I though I had a large room when I first moved into that room... But maybe that is because the room I was renting before that had NO storage space and I had to leave my books at my mother's house. I had library books on the sofa stuffed into that tiny room, and even that was too many books. When I move, however, my collection will probably expand again.

obsidiantears83 said...

I found some bookshelves from Officeworks for $99 that look big enough if I get more than one. Part of the problem is that my room has no wall space left. I think I will be moving my desk to the right (I don't need to open my door, do I?) and fit one bookshelf in there. I think I'll make that my Nora Roberts and trashy fiction, as well as my text book shelving. I don't need to access them very often. I think I'll be throwing out some of the smaller shelves to make room for a bigger one. I thought my room was large! :(

My housemate is quite pedantic about things. I know he would have kittens if I did that :( It is a great idea for when I move thought! :D Thank you!

obsidiantears83 said...

VK your book collection is very impressive with it's sneakiness! I have seen some of your drawers! You seemed to have books stashed in the most unlikely of places! ;D I would have been putting the Nora Roberts in storage first. I've read them all before and they take up a whole book shelf. it makes sense. God, imagine if we ever shared a house... LOL How many doubles would we have?

Ariel said...

i bought a kindle

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