How to pack books for moving - Moving Tips (2022)

How to pack books for moving - Moving Tips (1)

by Ethan Greenfieldon Jul 27, 2022.

Saying that books are important always sounds a bit like an understatement. The significance and impact of books on our lives simply cannot be measured by even the best state-of-the-art measuring devices. How could you possibly determine the value of something that has a different meaning to different people?

A book can touch you deep inside and move you on so many levels. A book is also something very personal – a book you absolutely love, re-read regularly and use to set your moral compass may be carelessly dismissed by your friends despite your heartfelt recommendation.

To possess the passion and love for reading books is much more important than being surrounded by tons of books in your home. And yet, when the time for moving house comes once more, the all-important question of how to pack books for moving suddenly takes center stage.

Below you will find detailed steps for packing books for a move in the most efficient way. The thing is that you don’t want to spend too many hours boxing up your volumes simply because there are tons of other things to pack as well. But first, you’re going to have to prepare the books and the cardboard boxes for the packing task.

So, how to pack books when moving? Read on to find out.

How to prepare books for moving

One major factor that will determine the final cost of your move is the overall weight of the household items you have for transportation. Now, add the fact that books are rather heavy and you get yourself a relocation puzzle with only one solution – to reduce the number of your books to their absolute minimum.

It may not be an easy task, especially if you are an avid reader and have no particular desire to get rid of any of your paperback windows to thrilling distant worlds. No matter how you feel about parting with some of your books, optimizing your book collection is a process that you have to do – not only to reduce the moving cost, but also to save space in your new home.

  • Start the optimization process by going through each and every book you own. Obviously, you’ll place the copies you definitely won’t part with in one corner (the TAKE pile) and set aside the ones you consider unworthy of your packing time and transportation money (the LEAVE pile).
  • Make sure you’re only moving your most favorite books. When unsure, you’d be better off leaving the books behind – think about the storage space in the new place as well.
  • Consider donating the books you’re not moving but are still in good condition to be simply thrown away for recycling. Check with local libraries, schools, hospitals, and nursing homes if they would like to take some of your books.
  • Throw away for proper recycling any books that are too damaged to continue to serve their purpose.

This initial book sorting task is really important because you won’t need to waste valuable time packing books that you won’t ever read again and ones that you don’t love too much to simply keep them in your book collection as showpieces.

Also, optimizing your book collection is a critical step because it’ll help you cut transportation costs as well. After all, why should you pay to move things you don’t truly love?

See also: What to do with unwanted books when moving

How to prepare book boxes for packing

To safely pack books for moving, you’re going to need the right packing supplies. Luckily, books are not as breakable as kitchen plates or glasses so you won’t need too many padding materials. However, you just have to have the proper moving boxes if you wish the entire packing operation to be successful.

  • Prepare clean packing paper, ink-free and acid-free. You should use the wrapping paper to line the book boxes or to protect your most valuable books. Get standard packing tape and a marker pen for labeling the book boxes.
  • Buy brand-new book boxes to ensure your volumes will have the best protection possible while they’re being transported to the new place. This is the best option for your prized possessions but specialized boxes for packing books don’t come for free – a book box (12’’ x 12’’ x 12’’, 1.0 cubic foot) costs approximately $1.50.
  • Use second-hand book boxes but you must make sure those containers meet the following requirements: they have to be clean, strong, dry, and free of any infestation. Click here to learn how to cut moving costs by using free moving boxes during the packing process.
  • Inspect carefully the boxes you intend to use to use for transporting your books – those cardboard containers should not have any signs of damage whatsoever. If they do or if you’re not sure, then discard the boxes immediately.
  • Reinforce the bottom and sides of each book box using strong tape. This is an extra safety step considering the fact that books become too heavy too quickly when packed together inside a container.
  • Position a sheet of clean packing paper on the inside bottom of each container for extra protection.

How to pack books for moving

Once the book sorting process is over and the books packing supplies are secured, it’s time to get down to packing your books for moving.

  • Start the book packing process from the bottom of your bookshelf and continue upwards.
  • Wrap your most valuable books in soft, white packing paper first as an extra level of protection. Consider packing old books in the same manner in order to keep them safe throughout the relocation.
  • Begin to arrange your books into the ready containers. Basically, you have three options to pack your books into boxes, and the choice of which one to use will depend on various factors such as the size, cover, and condition of each copy.
  • Use the upright method of packing books into boxes – place your books standing upright so that their open parts face the side of the carton.
  • Use the flat method of packing books into boxes – arrange your books flat and stack them up snugly along the sides of the cardboard box.
  • Use the spines down method of packing your books into boxes – arrange your copies with their spines facing the bottom and the open parts facing you. The most important thing to remember when using this book packing technique is to NEVER pack your books with the spines facing you because their bindings are likely to get damaged due to the extra pressure from their own weight.
  • Get the bottom row all booked up. If there’s still sufficient space after arranging the first row, place packing paper on the top and begin a second one.
  • Fill in any remaining space with crushed packing paper or pieces of bubble wrap to make sure no book shifts around during transit right after you’ve packed a book box.
  • Place one final layer of paper on the very top, close the lids, and tape the entire box shut with packing tape.
  • Label the packed box properly (BOOKS, HEAVY, BEDROOM, LIVING ROOM, LIBRARY) and continue the book packing process the same way until all your books are safely packed for moving.

Read also: Do’s and don’ts when packing books for moving

Safety tips for packing books for moving

Packing books for a move seems like a relatively straightforward task and in a sense, it is just that. But even though books are not as fragile as household items made of porcelain or glass, they may also get damaged in the process if you happen to get too careless.

Here are a few safety rules you must follow when packing books for moving – both for the sake of your volumes and for your own sake as well:

  • Never place a book in a moving box with its spine facing the ceiling because the binding is likely to get damaged under its own weight.
  • Reserve heavier books for the bottom of the box.
  • Keep boxes packed with books under 40 lbs.
  • Think about packing the heaviest book you own into travel suitcases with little wheels on the bottom. Use the same book packing techniques as described above – you don’t even have to imagine that the suitcase was a super-large cardboard box simply because it is just that.
  • Be very careful when lifting and carrying boxes full of books as they will be REALLY heavy.
  • Consider hiring professional packers to help you pack up your book collection if you’re running out of time during an emergency move.

We do wish you speedy book packing, safe book moving, and happy reading after the move.

See also: How to pack comic books for moving

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