How to Pack and Move a Heavy Bookcase (2022)

How to Pack and Move a Heavy Bookcase (1)

If you love books, then you’re sure to have tons of volumes in your home. And if that’s the case, then it’s very likely that you also have a bookcase where you store your books and where have them on display for both easy access and decorative purposes.

Having a personal library in your home is an awesome feeling and you must be very proud of your own book collection. However, when the time comes for you to move to a new place, then you’ll have to decide what you’re going to do with your books and the bookcase itself.

Depending on a number of variables, moving a heavy bookcase to a new home can prove to be either a very good decision or a rather poor one. But if you do make up your mind to move the large furniture piece with you, then you’ll definitely need to know how to protect and transport your bookcase to the new house.

Read on to learn how to move a heavy bookcase by yourself – that is, without hiring the services of furniture movers.

Is it worth moving your bookcase?

Make an informed decision about whether or not you should move the bookcase at all. Here are a few pointers that should help you decide what’s best for you and your budget:

  • Check the current condition of the bookcase. Is it still in excellent condition or is it already fairly worn out or even damaged in some places? Make a rough calculation of how much time it may continue to serve you well – after all, there isn’t much sense in paying to move the large furniture piece only to replace it shortly after the move.
  • Take into account the overall value of the bookcase. Does it have any sentimental value for you – an antique piece or a family heirloom? You should always take with you furniture with a high sentimental value despite the higher relocation cost.
  • Determine whether you’ll have enough space for the big bookcase in the new home. It won’t make much sense to transport the heavy piece of furniture many miles across the country only to realize that there isn’t any room for it in the new home.
  • See if your bookcase will fit into the interior design of the new place. If the furniture unit won’t match with the rest of the furniture that’s already in the new place, you may want to save the trouble of hauling a heavy item across the country.
  • Factor in the workmanship of the piece. If your bookcase is a beautiful piece made from high-quality materials, then you should definitely move it with you despite the higher relocation costs. On the other hand, if the bookshelves are made out of pressboard (IKEA or IKEA-like furniture), then you may as well leave the unit behind instead of paying good money to transport it.
  • Be practical when you’re wondering whether to move your bookcase or not. When moving across the country, the cost you’ll need to pay to transport that large furniture item is likely to cost you roughly the same or even more than purchasing a brand-new bookshelf after the move. So, don’t make your move more complicated than it already is.

Ultimately, you’re the only one who can figure out if your bookcase is really worth the money, time, and effort to take it with you during the house move.

In most cases, moving your precious books to the new house is more important than moving your bookcase. Nevertheless, if you do like the bookshelf and you don’t wish to part with it, then it’s time to prepare it for the upcoming move.

Should You Move Your Furniture or Buy New After the Move?

How to pack and move a bookcase: 7 steps

Before you can take out the bookcase and load it up onto the moving truck, you’ll have to protect it first so that it arrives in the new home exactly the way it left the old place.

Here are the steps that will show you how to pack and move a heavy bookcase.

Step 1. Pack all books separately

Books are quite heavy so you shouldn’t just leave them on the bookshelves during the house moving process. Instead,

  • Take all books from the bookcase, one by one, and decide right there on the spot whether you want to keep them or discard them.

  • Form two piles of books on the floor – a KEEP file and a DISCARD You might also create a third pile for the volumes that you’re really not sure what to do with. You can revisit the NOT SURE pile later to solve the mini dilemmas.
  • Figure out what to do with the books that you won’t be moving to the new place. Bear in mind that you’re doing the right thing – purging your book collection will be beneficial in the long run since it’ll create space for new editions in the new home. Feel free to gift some books to friends or family, or consider donating some volumes to the local library or various charitable organizations.
  • Pack safely the books you’re surely moving with you. Packing books for moving is not complicated in any way, you just need to follow 3 major packing principles: 1) always use small boxes to pack books, 2) never pack books with their spines facing you for fear of damaging their spines, and 3) don’t make book boxes heavier than 40 pounds for safety reasons.

How to Pack Books for Moving

Step 2. Empty the bookcase completely

Once you’ve packed up all the books from the bookcase, it’s time to remove any other miscellaneous items displayed on or stored inside the furniture piece. The idea is to empty the bookshelf completely so that it becomes as lightweight as possible.

Remove any framed photos, figurines, souvenirs, etc. from the bookcase and pack those fragile items separately using plenty of wrapping paper and bubble wrap for extra protection. In the end, the furniture piece should remain totally bare, with nothing on and inside it.

Step 3. Disassemble the bookcase

This furniture disassembly step is critical when moving a heavy bookcase to another home. In most cases, your bookcase will be too big and too heavy to move as it is so you’re going to have to disassemble it safely to its main components.

  • Remove any glass shelves or glass doors from the bookcase. Be careful when handling the glass elements and be sure to wear thick gloves to keep your fingers and hands protected against bad cuts. It’s always a good idea to have somebody to help you with the bookcase disassembling task.
  • Use a screwdriver to loosen up or remove altogether the fastening elements (most often screws) that keep the hinges of the glass doors into place. Remove those glass doors carefully and place them on the floor.
  • Remove any wooden doors from the bookcase using a screwdriver to unscrew their hinges from the main structure.
  • Detach the sideboards to make the main structure much smaller and lighter to move out of the home. Start by removing the top sideboard with the help of a screwdriver – just unscrew the bolts on either side of the top sideboard. Then, release the sideboards of the bookcase by unscrewing them at the bottom.
  • Use a pencil to mark all bookcase sideboards you have disassembled safely. Write their exact position in the bookshelf structure – top, bottom, right, or left.
  • Remove the legs of the bookcase if the furniture piece happens to have any. In most cases, you’ll need to either unbolt the detachable legs or unscrew them.
  • Keep all small fastening elements (bolts, screws, nuts, washers, dowels, etc.) in a sealable plastic bag to prevent any of them from getting lost during the move.

How to Disassemble Furniture When Moving

Step 4. Wrap all bookcase components in blankets

How to Pack and Move a Heavy Bookcase (3)

So far, so good.

This step is all about protecting all the bookcase elements that you have managed to disassemble from the main furniture structure.

  • Place cardboard cut-outs over the glass doors in a way that those cardboard sheets match their sizes, and then wrap the glass components first in bubble wrap and then in furniture blankets. Do the same with the glass shelves, if any.
  • Wrap all the wooden boards, doors, and legs you have taken apart into thick furniture blankets. Those furniture pads will create a soft, protective layer around the delicate components and will keep them from getting damaged while in transit.
  • Use pieces of packing tape to secure the furniture blankets around the disassembled parts but be careful not to let the tape touch their delicate surfaces directly.
  • Finally, wrap furniture blankets around the bookcase structure that has remained after you’ve removed the major components from it.

How to Protect Your Furniture When Moving

Step 5. Move the bookcase out of the home

Moving your bookcase out of the home and loading it up into the vehicle can range from being fairly straightforward to moderately challenging depending on how many helpers you have and the level of disassembly (partial or complete) you’ve managed to achieve.

  • Scenario 1. If you’ve managed to disassemble completely your bookcase, then you must have also wrapped up each bookcase component in thick furniture blankets. If so, then all you need to do is carry those protected furniture pieces out of the home with the help of your friends.
  • Scenario 2. If you’ve disassembled partially the bookcase, then you should move the remaining bookshelf structure with the help of a furniture dolly. Tilt it slightly to one side, slide the low, 4-wheel platform under the furniture, then straighten it up onto the dolly while making sure it’s centered well for greater balance. Use straps or a piece of rope to secure the partially disassembled bookcase onto the dolly so that it can be safely wheeled out of the place.

In case the bookcase is positioned firmly by the wall and you have trouble moving it slightly toward the center of the room, then you must use furniture sliders that are appropriate for the type of flooring in the room. Sliders made of hard rubber or plastic are good for carpeted floors while sliders made of soft felt material are fine for hardwood floors, including tiled floors.

Simply place a furniture slider under each leg or edge of the bookcase and pull the heavy furniture piece away from the wall.

How to Move Heavy Furniture by Yourself

Step 6. Stay safe when moving the heavy bookcase

Moving a heavy bookcase without the assistance of professional movers can be a dangerous task. To prevent property damage and personal injuries, follow these basic safety guidelines when moving the bookcase out of your home:

  • Get as many helpers as you can to assist you in packing and moving your bookcase. While there, your friends can also help you pack and move other furniture items as well.
  • Wear a comfortable pair of shoes of rubber anti-slip soles to avoid the possibility of bad slip-ups while you’re moving the heavy bookcase. A pair of sports shoes should be OK for the job.
  • Clear the exit path of any obstacles such as randomly scattered cardboard boxes. Walk the intended pathway to make sure nothing will be in your way while you’re carrying the big furniture unit.
  • Do use a furniture dolly if your bookcase is only partially disassembled or it has not been disassembled at all for some reason or another. Nevertheless, keep in mind that furniture dollies are not meant to be used on stairs.
  • Do use furniture sliders so that you can slide the heavy bookcase effortlessly across the room without any fear of floor damage. A set of 4 furniture sliders is fairly inexpensive and can be extremely useful and effective on Moving day.

10 Safety Tips for Moving Furniture: Safety Above All Else

Step 7. Load the bookcase onto the truck

The last step to moving a bookcase cabinet to another home is to load it safely onto the moving truck.

How to Pack and Move a Heavy Bookcase (4)

Moving a big and heavy bookcase sounds like a job for the pros.

The best way to do is, of course, is to use the loading ramp to get the large furniture item inside the vehicle.

  • Check whether the loading ramp is well secured against the back of the truck. Also, make sure there are no wet spots, dust, or mud along the ramp to prevent accidents.
  • Stay at the front of the furniture dolly and keep pulling it up as you go up the ramp. At the same time, have your most reliable helper at the back, pushing the loaded 4-wheel dolly up at the same time.
  • Secure the big bookcase cabinet once you’re inside the vehicle. Use rope or straps to tie it down to the side of the truck so that it does not shift during transport.
  • Position cardboard boxes around the furniture piece to secure it even more on the road.

How to Load a Moving Truck Like the Pros

Packing and moving a heavy bookcase is not an easy task in any way – not only will you have to disassemble the large furniture unit, either partially or completely, to make it smaller and lighter, but you’ll also need to pack safely their components, take them all the way to the vehicle, and then load them up safely.

When the job of moving your heavy bookcase seems daunting enough, then do yourself a favor and get in touch with reputable and experienced furniture movers.

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