Comic Book Storage Solutions

Comic Book Storage Solutions

The hobby of reading and collecting comics, while enjoyable, can consume a lot of space. It fills up man-caves, bedrooms and bookshelves and spare rooms making a mess where ever there is free space. If you’re new to comics you might not be sure how to store your comics in an efficient manner and even more seasoned collectors can find this a daunting task as their collection grows.

These comic book storage solutions aim to help store your collection in a manner that will be kept in great condition, while consuming less space. With a little effort you will no longer have piles upon piles of comics all over the house allowing for free space for other important things – like more comics!

Note: Keep in mind that you will need to tailor these solutions to your own needs.

Bags and Boards

If you’re serious about keeping your comics in the best condition possible then you need to bag and board them. This process involves getting comic sized slip bags and placing your comic inside them. A backing board is then placed behind the comic in the bag, keeping it flat and rigid.

comic books bagged and board - comic book storage solutions
Some of my comics bagged and board.

By having your comics bagged and board your comic will not get damaged, whether this be while in storage, rifling through your collection or during transportation. It will also keep a level of damaging moisture away from comics – especially older comics that are made from cheaper paper. They also allow for your comics to be flat and stand straight, which makes them easier to be stored in a box or book shelf.

Bags and boards are easy to come by and should be found at any good comic book store or online.

Storage Boxes

Storage boxes are very sturdy cardboard boxes that are made specifically for storing comics. Good ones will be made from thick corrigated cardboard and even have hand holes to make it easier to carry them.

These boxes come in two different sizes with names that are self-explanatory: shortboxes and longboxes.

A shortbox will fit roughly 150-200* comics, while a longbox will fit 200-250*. If you have a large collection longboxes are the way to go, although keep in mind that when full they are quite heavy and difficult to carry. If you have a smaller collection then shortboxes are totally fine.

comic book storage box - comic book storage solutions
Some of my comics in a storage box.

An advantage of these sturdy boxes are they they are built to take great weight so they can be stacked on top of each other. Although I would use your best judgement as to how many you tack on top of each other. I also suggest these boxes over regular cardboard boxes as they built quite solid and to the right dimensions for comic books.

While the cardboard boxes are the most popular, there is also a corrugated plastic variety that’s even more durable. Even though it a bit more pricey I would highly recommend investing in them if you are storing your comics in a basement, attic or garage as it will withstand the elements much more successfully. The last thing you want is your comic box falling apart because it has been attacked by a moist or humid environment.

* These figures will depend on the number of pages of the comics and more importantly if the comic is bagged and board or not.

Filing Cabinet

This solution is a little bit more off-beat and expensive but quite effective if set up correctly. Having a filing cabinet to store comics allows for you to store hundreds of comics in a space efficient manner. As the draws slide out, a filing cabinet can make finding the right comic much more accessible.

As mentioned before, it’s one of the more costly solutions so I suggest tracking down a second-hand cabinet. Check classifieds and used office furniture stores and you should find one at a good price.

An example of using a filing cabinet to store comics books - comic book storage solutions

Binding

This is a solution I came across while browsing reddit. Essentially, this solution is getting a portion of your collection and having it bound into a hardback volume. The end result looks similar to an encyclopaedia volume and can be easily stored on the shelf. From the examples I have seen many collect creative runs or whole series, which allows the comics to be all in the one place.

An example of comic book binding. The New Warriors - comic book storage solutions
An example of comic book binding. Source: photo taken by reddit user citizenzac.

Binding is a great idea if you enjoy comics more for reading than collecting, as having them bound will ruin any value they may have. But if you’re not concerned about playing the speculative market and the comics are more enjoyment then this might be a solution for you.

I recommend that you do this with a large collection of comics as the process is not particularly cheap, so you’re better of getting a big batch done at one time.

There are plenty of tutorials online if you wish to do it yourself, otherwise there are services like Houchen Binding who specialise in it.

Plastic Accordion File Folders

I came across this idea recently and it’s one that I think could really suit those who have a smaller collection and don’t really go through the trouble of bagging an boarding. You can read more about it here.

IKEA

IKEA, the Swedish furniture juggernaut, is known for its relationship testing labyrinth stores, meatballs and modernist flat-packed furniture. But did you know IKEA is a good alternative for comic book storage solutions? In this guide I point out some of the IKEA products you can use to store your comics.

Where Do I Store My Comics?

If you want to keep your comics in the best condition possible you need to consider where you store your comics.

Places you need to avoid include;

  • Garages
  • Sheds
  • Basements
  • Attics
  • Outdoors

Essentially anywhere your comics will be exposed to heat and/or moisture is a no go.

The best place to store your comics is in a dry, dark place like a spare room, wardrobe or cupboard. Trade paperback and hardcovers are generally stored on a bookshelf, like you would do with a regular book or novel.

How Do I Organise My Comics?

If you want to organise your comic book collection but not sure how I have written a handy guide. As part of the research for the guide I organised my own collection. This allowed me to make all the mistakes so you don’t have to.

Need Inspiration?

If you need some inspiration or looking for a comic book storage solution that is a little bit different, check out the Robot 6 column, Shelf Porn. Shelf Porn is a showcase of people’s collections, man-caves and collection rooms and is always great to look at.

You can find even more comic book storage solutions in this fantastic article I was quoted in on Storage.com. A great article for those considering storing their comics in a storage unit.

How Do You Store Your Comics?

Feel free to leave your experiences with comic book storage solutions in the comments below or via the How to Love Comics Facebook or Twitter.

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Comments (27)

  • @Christopher Rob – After trying multiple different methods of the best way to store/organize books for mid-to-long term — let’s say 6-months or year or so, I believe I have found it. I’m not talking about different kinds of bags and boards, though having a run with all of the books having the same size bags is quite helpful. I’m talking about how the best way to store comics in a box.

    Solution: All of them facing forward; one book right side up, the next upside down, and repeat.

    This saves the spines from all being one one size. I’ve tried ‘face-to-face – back to back’ to have half of the spines on each side of the box, but they would slowly start sliding on each other. So, I tried the ‘solution’ above, and it works great. The comics stay aligned with each other evenly, and there’s a bonus. The flaps of comic bag and the tape used to seal them will be even split, half on top, half on bottom.

    I hope this helps you or anyone else out.

    -Eric Rom
    {FB Messenger: “Gen-Eric Rom-Bot”}

  • Hello,
    I have a collection of about 2500 comics. I just finishing do the change over from the acid free bags and boards and went to the mylar bags and boards. This hobby is not cheap, but I think it is worth it. I also use the Collection drawers to store my comics.

    My question is, I put my comics back to back with board between and in 1 bag. It is not too tight, if it is, I just put 1. The spines are on opposite sides. Should I not do this? Can this cause damage to the comics? I heard it was good to do this but I wanted to hear from others. Thanks.

  • I’m relatively new at collecting comics (I only bought my first actual comic book in 2017) and I would say that I like to collect comics more for the story and the art than their monetary value.

    I inherited an uncle’s collection of old neglected comic books and I started off bagging and boarding them and I kept my then modest collection upright in a box. Now a year into buying and collecting comic books, I’ve somehow amassed possibly over a thousand comic books (thanks to the bargain basement at my local comic store and a really generous seller at the local comic con) and I’m having trouble figuring out how to store them.

    The prospect of having to keep multiple boxes and stacking the heavy boxes isn’t really something I’m looking forward to so I was hoping I could store them on shelves like a library to make it easier to access a story I want to read. I also like the idea of keeping issues of a series or a volume together. I’ve been toying with the thought of keeping them in binders, but I came across conflicting opinions on it. Some people like the binders, but others say they’re not good for storing comics and may damage them but they don’t really say how or why they would get damaged. I can only assume that they’re talking about when the binder is standing upright and the pages sag along with the comics in them.

    What are your thoughts on binders for comics? ʜave you had any experience storing comics that way? Will they really damage them? Would putting boards into the binder sheets be enough to protect them? Is there a better alternative to this that would help me achieve the library effect that I’m aiming for?

  • Some of this advice is Golden, I personally Love my Boxes. I’ve been Collecting since i was little, and having a box always seemed Cool, so as an Adult i have about 15, This created a different storage problem So I decided it was time to come up with one. First, I started by Getting some Shipping labels from the store, I printed the Logos of the Comics that needed there own boxes on them and stuck those labels on the boxes. Then I Built a Storage Shelf from reclaimed Lumber. It Fits nicely in the Living room.
    Here is a Link to the image of the finished Project
    https://scontent-dfw5-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/35319069_2154503281233758_6319283518312546304_n.jpg?_nc_cat=0&oh=c4c4e9afe14ac034eee8e833db66cb10&oe=5BA730E9

  • Trevor a few things regarding your article. First, I am going to assume that one is actually interested in the value of their collection, either for personal or financial reasons (in other words, they care). There is short term storage and long term storage. I think for long term storage, the boxes that are shown in the photos above should really not be recommended. And, if I am not mistaken, the bags that are shown in the photo appear to be PVC bags.

    PVC plastic bags and standard (cheap) cardboard for the boxes and backing boards kill comic books, particularly the old comic books with the inexpensive newsprint quality pages. You are literally baking the books in all kinds of chemicals that the PVC bags off-gas, as well as the acid migration that occurs due to the lignin content in the cheap cardboard box.

    The comic book industry pushes these cheap storage products,(I can only think cause….they’re cheap?) and they should never be used if you are actually interested in keeping your collection in nice shape. Thin mylar bags with calcium carbonate buffered backing boards (and ideally a sheet or 2 of microchamber paper) in either a calcium carbonate buffered acid free box or inert plastic container (like polypropylene or polyester) is the way to go. Stick them in a room that is dark and cool with low humidity, and you’re set.

  • Great advice here. But I have a quick question I’m hoping you may be able to help me with. For my collection I have 3 short boxes and 1 long drawer box of modern era comics. With all of them it is difficult to line up the books so they are staggered and not neatly lined up. Anyway to fix this? Thanks.

  • Before I started collecting comics i already had a fairly large book and manga collection (4 bookshelves worth and growing). My husband and I live in a townhome and my comic boxes were starting to drive him crazy. I started researching way to possibly store them on a bookshelf to save room and came up with this:

    I buy the BCW binder bags and store 2 comics to a page in them with a board. Then I hand sew anywhere from 2-5 pages (depending on how large the series is) together. Then I use a craft glue on the extra plastic (the one with the holes for the binder) and glue a binding bar on (the ones used for holding reports together). That way, when its on the shelf I have a way to label the set.

  • Do you believe it would be alright to store them in shoe boxes? The comics themselves (silver age) would be in plastic covers. The shoe boxes with the comics in them will be set on a shelf in my room. Thank you!

    • Hey Brian, good question. Make sure that the shoe box is large enough to fit the comics flying perfectly flat to avoid damage. I would also put a backing board in the plastic covers too if possible to keep flat. Finally, make sure there is no weight put on the box, the last thing you want is for the comics to be accidentally crushed.

  • how would you recommend storing volumes? My initial thought was to just bag and board them, same as the smaller issues, but I’m unsure if they’ll fit the bags.

    • Hi Sofie, great question. Usually with my trade paperback volumes I generally just store them on a bookshelf. As long as they are away from the elements or not positioned unconventionally they are generally fine. If you want you want to bag them you could you Silver Age sized bags. These are are larger than regular ones and will fit mos trade paperback volumes. You’ll be able to get these at any good comic book store or online.

    • If the comic book came bagged then it’s safe to keep your comic in it. If it’s more flimsy plastic then it probably not.

    • A lot of sellers will put all comics in silver age bags so they don’t have to use several different kinds of bags, this saves them time and money. These bags can actually damage your bronze and current age comics because they slide around in there and bump the corners. It’s best to put your comics in proper fitting bags as soon as you can.

  • I just made myself a comic box out of a regular cardboard shipping box however i was told that these boxes absorb moisture. Is that true or should I be ok for a little while? At least until I can get myself an actual comic box. have all my comics bagged and boarded.

    • Unless the cardboard is covered in wax or something similar mist cardboard boxes would be susceptible to some kind of moisture. You should be fine as long as your not keeping the boxes anywhere which has a high humidity or could possibly leak.

  • I am thinking of setting up my room like a comic book store. I like the idea with the boxes but do you have any other ideas.

    • Hi Jordan! A lot of comic book stores seem to have custom shelving units. If you’re a bit handy with the tools you could whip something up. Or you could track down an old school spinner rack and use it to show off some of your favourite comics ?

  • How many boxes can be stacked on top of each other safely? Is there a different number of boxes, depending on if they are short or long boxes? Thanks!

    • I would say 3 or 4 short boxes or 2 or 3 long boxes would be safe. I guess it depends on how sturdy they are. Also you don’t want to stack to high because they can get really heavy when full you don’t want to hurt yourself lifting them from a high stack.

  • Can I store comics in a plastic lidded bin? Can I lie them flat on top of each other or standing up?

    • Hi! I think it will depend on the shape of the bin and whether or not it is the right size and a flat surface inside. Comics generally store better standing up as when on top of each other the pile becomes a bit shaped like a smile and not flat.