Storing books in the basement.

I need to put a large number of books into storage for a few years, and the best place I’ve got lined up so far is in a basement that has been known to have some problems with flooding and damp. Not ideal, I know, so I was thinking to store them packed into zip-lock bags, in large rubbermaid bins, but after I put a few into the bags, I started worrying that condensation might form inside the bags and ruin my books. :eek:

Suggestions, please.

You might try putting dessicant packs in with them (those little tea-bag-like things labeled “Silica Gel” or “dessicant”.

You might also try putting a little anti-mold stuff in the bag. In “Lucifer’s Hammer” Larrt Niven and Jerry Pournelle describe preserving paperbacks in plastic bags with a shot of disinfectant.

FWIW, I once stored all my books in a barn for a year without ill effect. I put them in small boxes and then wrapped the boxes completely in plastic and sealed them with tape. There was no mold or mildew when I unpacked them a year later. On the other hand, the barn was above ground and was basically dry. I was more worried about insects than damp or mildew.

I think the idea of dessicants is a good one.

I wonder if unscented kitty litter would help with dampness. Plastic bags, storage container with tight-fitting lid, and kitty litter. Is kitty litter a desiccant? Would it be cheaper than something marketed as a desiccant?

Kitty Litter isn’t a dessicant. I wouldn’t use it myself – it’d get things gritty.
I don’t know what dessicant costs, but it’s probably not terribly expensive.

Bulk silica gel can be found in most hobby shops in the floral section. Five pound bags are about $15.

Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll see if I can find silica gel. That seems like a good idea.

Another thought: would a dehumidifier be an option?

perhaps some of the way cool space bags that you hover the air out of? they are all over tv commercials. you wouldn’t have to worry about the usually basement ills and you could easily see what book is where.

Vacuum sealing? Include some dessicant, then suck out all the air, store away from light.

I believe it was bug spray, though I don’t have my copy readily accessible. It’s boxed up in my shed, along with a gazillion other PB books. :D:D

Paperbacks fit into VHS cabinets like they were made for the books.

I put angle brackets on the basement joists and a board on the brackets. It makes a great bookshelf in unused space above your head. The basement I use is not high in humidity, so no plastic is needed. You could store plastic bagged ones on a similar shelf, and not risk them sitting on the floor.

“Do Not Eat The Desiccant.”

>“Do Not Eat The Desiccant.”

Now, no need to get overexcited here. IIRC silica is a component of McDonald’s milkshakes, and it is certainly a common part of animal feeds. I think it is OK if they take the silica from dessicant packs that don’t have warnings printed on them.