How To Store Old Magazines

Old Magazines


Storing old magazines effectively requires a balance between preserving their physical condition and making them easily accessible. Whether you’re a casual collector or a serious archivist, understanding how to store these pieces of history properly ensures their longevity and readability. Below, we’ll explore various strategies, materials, and environmental considerations to keep your magazines in the best possible shape.

Old Magazines

The Value of Proper Old Magazines Storage

Magazines, unlike many other forms of media, are often printed on paper that isn’t designed for long-term durability. Over time, they can yellow, become brittle, and lose their structural integrity. Proper storage not only maintains their aesthetic and historical value but also allows future generations to enjoy and learn from them.

Assessing the Condition and Value

Before diving into storage techniques, it’s essential to evaluate your magazines. Consider the following:

  • Condition: Check for any signs of damage such as tears, stains, or mold. Addressing these issues before storage is crucial.
  • Value: Determine the magazine’s rarity and importance. Valuable or rare editions may require more specialized storage solutions.
  • Frequency of Use: Decide if you need easy access to certain issues or if they can be stored for long periods.

Essential Storage Materials

Investing in the right materials can make a significant difference in preserving your magazines. Here are some key items:

  • Archival Bags and Sleeves: These are essential for protecting magazines from dust, dirt, and handling. Look for acid-free and PVC-free options to avoid chemical reactions that can damage the paper.
  • Backing Boards: These are placed behind magazines to prevent bending and creasing. Like bags and sleeves, they should be acid-free to avoid any deterioration.
  • Storage Boxes: Choose sturdy, archival-quality boxes designed specifically for magazines. These boxes should be acid-free and provide protection from light and physical damage.
  • Silica Gel Packs: These help control moisture levels inside storage containers, preventing mold and mildew.
  • Gloves: When handling valuable or fragile magazines, wearing cotton gloves can prevent oils and dirt from your hands from transferring to the paper.

Preparing Magazines for Storage

Proper preparation is crucial to ensure your magazines remain in good condition. Follow these steps:

  • Clean: Gently dust off any surface dirt using a soft brush or cloth. Avoid using liquids or harsh chemicals.
  • Flatten: Make sure the magazines are flat and free of any creases or folds. Use a weight or press if necessary.
  • Bag and Board: Place each magazine in an archival bag with a backing board. Ensure the magazine fits comfortably without being too tight, which could cause damage over time.
  • Label: Clearly label each bag or box with the magazine’s title, issue number, and date. This will help with organization and retrieval.

Storage Conditions

Environmental factors play a significant role in the preservation of magazines. Aim for the following conditions:

  • Temperature and Humidity: Store magazines in a cool, dry place. Ideally, the temperature should be between 60-70°F (15-21°C) with a relative humidity of 40-50%. Avoid attics, basements, and garages, as these areas often experience extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations.
  • Light Exposure: Minimize exposure to direct sunlight and artificial light. UV rays can cause fading and paper deterioration. Use UV-protective covers or store magazines in opaque boxes.
  • Air Quality: Keep magazines away from pollutants and chemicals. Avoid storing them in areas with strong odors, such as near cleaning supplies or paint, as these can transfer to the paper.
  • Pest Control: Ensure your storage area is free from pests like rodents and insects. Regularly inspect for signs of infestation and use traps or deterrents if necessary.

Storing Magazines Long-Term

For long-term storage, consider these additional tips:

  • Vertical vs. Horizontal Storage: Store magazines vertically like books to prevent warping. Use dividers to keep them upright and avoid leaning. For very large collections or heavier magazines, horizontal stacking in small piles can be considered, ensuring they’re not stacked too high to avoid crushing.
  • Avoid Overpacking: Do not overfill boxes or containers. Overpacking can cause magazines to bend or become damaged. Leave some space to allow for easy removal and handling.
  • Climate-Controlled Storage: For valuable collections, consider climate-controlled storage units that offer consistent temperature and humidity levels.
  • Digital Copies: Create digital copies of particularly rare or valuable magazines. This provides a backup in case of damage and reduces the need to handle the physical copies frequently.
Old Magazines

Maintenance and Monitoring

Even after magazines are stored, ongoing maintenance is crucial. Here’s how to keep your collection in top shape:

  • Regular Inspections: Periodically check your magazines for any signs of damage or deterioration. Look for issues like mold, mildew, or pest infestations.
  • Rebagging and Reboarding: Over time, even archival materials can degrade. Consider rebagging and reboarding your magazines every few years to ensure they remain protected.
  • Handling with Care: Always handle magazines with clean hands or gloves. Avoid pulling Old Magazines out of bags roughly or bending them during inspection.

Displaying Magazines

If you want to display some of your magazines, there are ways to do this while still protecting them:

  • Frames and Display Cases: Use UV-protective frames or display cases to protect Old Magazines from light and dust. Ensure they’re displayed in a way that doesn’t cause stress or damage to the spine.
  • Rotating Displays: If displaying multiple Old Magazines, rotate them regularly to minimize prolonged exposure to light and other environmental factors.
  • Avoid Permanent Adhesives: When mounting Old Magazines for display, avoid using tapes or adhesives directly on the paper. Use archival mounts or corner supports instead.

Organizing Your Collection

A well-organized collection not only makes it easier to find specific issues but also helps in maintaining their condition. Consider these organizational strategies:

  • By Title and Issue: Group Old Magazines by title and then by issue number or date. This is especially useful for larger collections.
  • Thematic Grouping: Organize by themes, such as genre, publisher, or time period. This approach is particularly helpful for collections spanning multiple titles or subjects.
  • Cataloging: Create a catalog or inventory of your collection. This can be a simple spreadsheet or a more detailed database, including information such as title, issue number, date, condition, and storage location.
  • Accessible Storage: Keep frequently accessed Old Magazines in easily reachable locations, while less accessed or more valuable ones can be stored more securely.

Special Considerations for Rare or Fragile Old Magazines

Rare or particularly fragile Old Magazines may require additional care:

  • Professional Conservation: For extremely valuable or deteriorating Old Magazines, consider consulting a professional conservator. They can offer specialized treatments and advice.
  • Customized Storage Solutions: Invest in custom storage solutions like acid-free boxes with individual compartments or archival-quality drawers for better protection.
  • Limited Handling: Minimize handling to reduce the risk of damage. When necessary, use supports or cradles to keep the magazine open without stress on the binding.

Digital Archiving

Digitizing your magazines can be a practical way to preserve their content while minimizing physical handling. Consider these steps:

  • Scanning: Use a high-quality scanner to create digital copies of your magazines. Save the files in a lossless format, such as TIFF, to maintain image quality.
  • Metadata: Include metadata with your digital files, such as the magazine title, issue number, date, and any other relevant information.
  • Storage: Store digital copies on multiple media, such as external hard drives, cloud storage, or CDs. Regularly back up your files to prevent loss.
  • Access and Sharing: Digital copies can be shared with others without risking damage to the physical copies. Consider creating a digital library for easy access.
Old Magazines


Storing old magazines requires a thoughtful approach to ensure their preservation and accessibility. By investing in proper materials, maintaining optimal storage conditions, and regularly monitoring their condition, you can enjoy your collection for years to come. Whether you’re an avid collector or simply cherish a few nostalgic issues, these guidelines will help you protect and preserve your Old Magazines’ legacy.