Preparing Self Storage Units For Your Comics And Manga

Comic books, Japanese manga, and thin papers of all types are a beloved part of many collections; but they may not be able to stick around forever. If your collection is too large, self storage units can be a great way to keep your belongings out of the way without getting rid of them. To keep them safe, you'll need to consider a few points before bundling all of your comics and tossing them into storage.

What Could Go Wrong With Stored Comics?

Comic books sit around in attics and basements across the world, so why care about self storage units? Well, the same problem exists in attics, basements, and self storage--if you're not able to control the environment, your property may be in danger.

No matter where you store your comics, you'll need to make sure that the area is dry. Not all comics are created equally, and there's a chance that the ink could bleed if there's moisture in the air. Bleeding refers to the ink separating from the paper and dripping or running down the page. Although this is most noticeable when pages smear under someone's fingers, a continuous fog or high humidity environment could turn the pages into bloated blotches of ink in weeks.

Another issue is air pollution. Areas with heavy leads or constant exhaust could lead to dingy, tinted pages. Combined with humidity, the pollution can soak into the pages and become a trapped stain. Foxing, or discoloration of pages, is not well understood, but the theory is that iron, lead, and other oxidizing metals contribute to the changing color. And, foxing can become worse in areas with lots of commercial traffic. So, diesel trucks, humidity, and paper can be a terrible mix!

Air Quality Protection For Safer Comics

Depending on where you live, you can't simply go to a self storage unit with no air problem at all. The only reason your comics aren't affected yet is because you're far enough away from pollution and using a decent air conditioning system in your home. The solution is to create the same (or better), conditions in the storage unit. 

The first method should be to buy a dehumidifier for your unit. Details about humidity levels can be found on the box or manual for the dehumidifier you purchase. You'll need to know the maximum room size that the dehumidifier can handle as well. If you can't find those details, contact the manufacturer.

Providing your own air conditioning is a bit on the drastic side as far as climate control; so instead of supplying it yourself, ask the storage facility management staff if there's climate control options or more advanced storage units. Lastly, your comics should be kept in sealed plastic containers--not cardboard boxes--so that they can keep out moisture.