The Book Lover’s Guide to Packing Books For a Move

books on a bookshelf

If you’re a book lover, packing up your collection for a move can feel daunting. You want to make sure your books stay safe and protected for the move, and you also want to make sure that you can carry them from your house to the truck without breaking your back.

In this blog, we discuss six easy steps to make sure your books make it to your new home safely.

1. Trim Down Your Collection

Before anything else, an upcoming move presents the perfect opportunity to get rid of those books gathering dust on the shelf. You may even find you have more than one copy of a book or decide that having a certain book in audiobook or digital format works better than a hard copy.

Once you decide to donate or sell a book, don’t second-guess yourself. Take the books to a thrift store or used bookstore right away before you change your mind.

2. Use Smaller Boxes

Books can be surprisingly heavy so you should pack your shelves up in smaller boxes to keep each box light enough to easily carry. Reinforce the bottom of the box with extra packing tape so the weight doesn’t warp or tear the cardboard.

If you have to pack your books in larger boxes, don’t fill the box with only books. Pack a quarter to a half of the box with lighter belongings like clothes or office supplies.

3. Use Creative Packing Methods

If you don’t have the boxes for your books and don’t want to spend the money on new ones, you have other options. Brown paper bags wrapped tightly with tape, reusable grocery bags, or even storage baskets are all small enough that you can keep the overall weight low. You can then use containers of books to fill smaller spaces in the moving truck.

Another option is to pack your books in suitcases that have wheels. This option has a higher weight limit since you can just roll the suitcase instead of carrying it.

4. Pack and Label Your Books by How You Arrange Them

Make things easier on future you and pack your books the same way you arrange them. If you arrange by genre, keep all the fantasy books in one box and all the mysteries in another.

Then label each box according to your packing method so you don’t spend an hour tearing open boxes to find one particular book.

5. Pack to Protect

Both hardcover and paperback books can be packed upright with the spine down or lying flat with the spine against the side of the box. If you pack your books upright, make sure they’re secure but not packed too tightly in order to prevent damage when unpacking. Whatever you do, do not pack your books (especially paperback) spines up as this can cause them to warp.

For special editions or books with more value, wrap each book individually before packing it in the box. Some fragile books may even need stiff cardboard to prevent the spine from moving. Pack empty spaces in book boxes with light material such as bubble wrap or packing paper.

6. Put Book Boxes on the Bottom

When packing the moving truck, be careful with where you place the boxes full of books. Don’t, for example, put them on top of a box full of dishes. Instead, put book boxes at the bottom of a stack.

Or, if your boxes are smaller, place your boxes throughout the truck in open spaces.

Talk to your moving company about any packing materials they sell. They may even have some tips for packing and protecting your books.


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