DO’S and DON’TS when packing books for moving - Moving Tips (2022)

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DO’S and DON’TS when packing books for moving - Moving Tips (2)

Packing for a move is a very important task during the pre-move preparation – not only is it the most time-consuming thing to do in your moving checklist, but it’s also the job that can guarantee the safety of your belongings while they are in transit between the two homes.

When moving to a new home, some household items will always be easier to protect than others. For example, packing your books for a move should be much easier – thanks to their non-fragile nature – than wrapping and boxing all the breakable items found in your home.

Nevertheless, you should not underestimate the task of packing your books when moving house. If you do, you may still end up with either property damage or a personal injury of some sort. Or maybe even both.

To help you keep the packing process as efficient and problem-free as possible, here are the do’s and don’ts of packing books for moving.

DO’S when packing books

These are the most important things you should do when packing books for a move:

  • DO OPTIMIZE your book collection before packing your books for moving. TAKE only your most favorite books, precious gifts from dear friends, etc. – that is, the books that mean something to you and you’d love to keep and maybe plan to re-read in the future.
  • DO SORT your books into two distinctive piles: BOOKS TO TAKE and BOOKS TO LEAVE BEHIND. If you’re not sure whether to take or leave a book, then just leave it.
  • DO DECIDE what to do with the LEAVE BEHIND pile of books. BASE your decision on the worth of each book copy and its current condition.
  • DO GIFT to good friends or DONATE to charity any books that are in good condition, yet you’re not moving with you for some reason or another. Local libraries, schools, nursing homes, and hospitals are only some of the places where you can donate your unwanted books.
  • DO RECYCLE any books that are too damaged, too worn out, too outdated or too valueless to be read and enjoyed anymore.
  • DO PREPARE book boxes – strong small cardboard boxes with approximate dimensions of 12″ x 12″ x 12″ (1.0 cu/ft). Books should only be packed in small boxes because they become very heavy very quickly.
  • DO GET HOLD of other essential packing materials to pack up your boxes for moving: clean and soft packing paper, high-quality packing tape and a black marker pen to label the book boxes.
  • DO INSPECT each cardboard box before starting to fill it with books. MAKE sure each book box is dry, clean, and damage-free.
  • DO REINFORCE the bottom of each box with packing tape to make sure the container will not break under the heavy weight of the books packed together. TAPE the side box seams too, if necessary.
  • DO PLACE several sheets of clean packing paper on the inside bottom of each box before packing it. This way, you’ll create an initial layer of insulation and protection for your books.
  • DO WRAP more valuable books in soft packing paper first before arranging them in the book boxes.
  • DO USE the easiest and safest way to arrange your books inside the moving boxes. CHOOSE between 3 book packing methods: FLAT, UPRIGHT, and SPINES DOWN.
  • DO PACK your books FLAT, stacking them along the box sides. This is the safest way to pack books for a move.
  • DO TRANSFER your heavier books FIRST into the boxes, then arrange the lighter ones.
  • DO CONSIDER packing your books UPRIGHT in a way that their open parts face the sides of the box. Sometimes you’ll find out that this is the better option to pack your books for moving.
  • DO CHOOSE the book packing method that works best for you – easy, quick, efficient – and use it until you’ve packed all your books for the upcoming move.
  • DO SEPARATE the first and the second rows of books with a few sheets of packing paper. This way you’ll prevent the pages of different books from touching during the move.
  • DO FILL any spaces inside the book boxes with pieces of crumpled packing paper or bubble wrap. Basically, you don’t want your books to be shifting inside the container during transit. If they do, they may get damaged.
  • DO LABEL your book boxes so that you don’t lose precious time looking for them in the new home. Write down BOOKS and their destination room, for example – LIVING ROOM, or HOME OFFICE.
  • DO USE suitcases to pack your heaviest books, especially if you own travel suitcases with wheels on their bottoms. Without a doubt, this is the easiest and safest way to move books to a new home.
  • DO TAKE with you the books that have extreme sentimental value for you – don’t just let them get loaded onto the moving truck with the rest of your items.

See also: What to do with unwanted books when moving

DON’TS when packing books

These are the things you’re NOT advised to do when packing books for moving:

  • DON’T USE second-hand cardboard boxes that have been used to store various food products. The last thing you’d want is to move tiny insects to your new home through your packed books.
  • DON’T USE large moving boxes to pack your books when moving. Remember that books become super-heavy when crammed into a tight place. Sometimes it’s okay to use medium-sized boxes.
  • DON’T PACK books with their spines facing upward – that is, facing you. If you do, then you’re likely to damage the bindings of your valuable volumes.
  • DON’T ARRANGE your books too tightly against one another. Why? That incorrect packing technique may force you to accidentally damage a copy while you’re trying to take out your books when unpacking.
  • DON’T FORGET to add extra protection for the books that are really valuable for you – antique books, rare books, signed books, etc. Wrap those up in soft packing paper first.
  • DON’T PACK your books at odd angles inside the boxes to avoid untimely damage. Check whether all books have been positioned well before starting a second row or closing the lid.
  • DON’T MAKE book boxes heavier than 20 pounds. If you do, you risk damaging your precious volumes in case the box breaks under the weight. Also, you’ll run the risk of personal injuries as a result of that possible box breakage.

Must-read:Packing timeline for moving: Personalized packing calendar

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  1. I like that you said that boxes that have been used to store food before can create insects and need to be replaced. My sister told me that she wanted to look for ways on how to pack her belongings to avoid damaging them. I’m going to let her know about looking for good packing cardboard boxes than will hold the weight.


  2. Hey Ethan, Thank You! The Dos and Don’ts really help me to gain a lot of information in moving my little own library. I really used all the points written in this article and I had a safe moving all the books.


  3. Thank you for sharing this blog, I am a great fan of books and have almost a half library with me. Always nervous about moving as I don’t know how to securely pack them. This blog will be helpful. I have also found this resource useful and its related to what you are mentioning.


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