Many years ago I made a purchase at a little nerdy comic book store next to where I worked. It was my first post-college job, I had some extra money, and I wanted to impress my (then) comic book obsessed boyfriend with a fabulous Christmas present. The comic book was The X-Men, issue #1 from September 1963. It was not in great condition, but I still shelled out something like $500 for it. Less than a year later, both the boyfriend and the comic book were long gone. I’m still upset about it. Not about losing the boyfriend, he was a jerk, but about losing that comic book! I looked it up just now on eBay, and someone is asking $8,000 for the same issue in similar condition. Sigh…lesson learned.

If I had one superpower, it would be to go back in time. I would have told the guy who asked for my phone number at the gas station to take a hike, but I still would have bought that comic book. And I would have kept it in great condition and then maybe I would be asking for several thousand dollars for it today. If you’re collecting comic books for investment purposes, or because you love them and want to keep them in pristine condition forever, or you’re just looking to improve your home organization game, here are some easy steps on how to store comic books properly. These steps will work for vintage magazines too. A small amount of time and money now will save you lots of money, and frustration, later.

1-Buy Comic Book Specific Plastic Bags

I know a lot of people like to display their comic books, but if preservation is your goal, then the light is your enemy. Plastic bags made for comics will protect your pages from light, humidity, insects, mold, moisture, and dust. Just make sure you get the correct size of bags. For cheaper comics, polyethylene or polypropylene bags are fine. For long-term storage of your rare or expensive collections, use mylar plastic bags which are a little more expensive, but are more durable and better for protecting an investment.

2- Get Backing Boards

Backing boards help to keep your comic books sturdy so that they won’t bend, wilt, or crease when they’re packed away. Like plastic bags, there are different “grades” of backing boards and the price increases with the quality. Look for an acid-free board that won’t age the paper. Really old comic books were not printed on the best paper, so if you have one of these gems, consider buying “MicroChamber Paper” boards. Not only will they protect your books from future damage, but they will help remove acids, mold, and anything else that might deteriorate the fragile pages.

3- Find Comic Book Boxes

Again, there is a range of comic book boxes you can pick up at any comic book, hobby or online store. Prices depend on how much you’re willing to spend, and what you’re trying to preserve. Standard boxes are usually made of cardboard or plastic and will hold anywhere from 100 to 300 bagged and boarded comic books. If you’re storing magazines, you’ll need a bigger magazine sized box. Look for sturdy acid-free boxes. If you have a lot of comic books, consider buying the drawer style boxes which are designed to give more support to the box frame, and will help prevent the weight of stacked boxes from crushing them.

4- Find the Perfect Storage Room

This is the tricky part. You want to keep the boxes off the floor because they will absorb any moisture, especially in a basement. Make a foundation of plastic milk crates or other water-proof material. Also, don’t stack any more than 3 or 4 boxes on top of each other. Despite all the best efforts you’ve taken, time and gravity will weight them down. Now you need to find the perfect room to store them. Dark and dry is best. If you don’t have enough room, or the right kind room in your house, or your significant other is riding you to get rid of them, check out Hopperstock and find the perfect storage space for them.

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