How to Pack Books When Moving House (2022)

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David Green

April 2, 2020

How to Pack for a Home Move

How to Pack Books When Moving House (1)

Еvery book lover knows what a real treasure books are. The moment a good book is opened, the reader embarks on a magical adventure to a different world, meets brave knights and beautiful princesses, fights fire-breathing dragons and nightmarish monsters, completes impossible quests, gets tangled into the engrossing storyline, manages to get untangled via a rare magical spell and gets back to reality changed forever.

Books are our mini teleportation devices with whose help we often find a much needed escape from our boring, monotonous and gray daily routines. The many hours of pure entertainment that a good book offers can only be rivaled by the selective bits of wisdom that we get as a reward for our love of reading.

And yet, while the value of books is indisputable, their collective weight makes them rather difficult to move from one home to another. Just like a single book, one gold coin is one of the easiest (and sweetest!) things to relocate to another home, but try to lift a chest full of gold to move to the next room and you’ll understand the type of problem you will be facing when you are moving your book collection to a new home.

How do I pack books for moving?” Packing books for removal has its specifics and the question of how to pack books for shipping will surely be burning in your mind. You shouldn’t worry though as we, at RemovalReviews, will be right by your side through each relocation stage and aid you in your move to another city with valuable tips, informative guides, practical checklists and useful moving advice.

Without further ado, take advantage of the following great packing tips for books when moving house that will teach you the best way to pack books for moving.

How To Prepare Books For Packing

Before you start packing your books into boxes, there are a couple of preparatory steps you need to take in order to ensure their safe transportation.

Slim down your book collection

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Are you aware that your final moving price will be determined by the total weight of your shipment? This fact basically means that the more books you decide to take with you, the more money you will end up paying to cover the transportation costs. This highly logical conclusion leads to another one: the only way to make sure you’re moving only the books that are worthy of your money, time and efforts is to spend some time optimizing your book collection.

Even if you’ve always been a careful book buyer, time can either render many of your books obsolete or it can cause considerable damage to them, especially if they were not stored under favourable ambient conditions. Therefore, make sure you go through each book in your house and decide what its fate will be right there on the spot. Designate two huge piles in two opposite corners of the room which will serve as your packing station. Then, place all the books you are taking with you to your new residence in one corner, while the ones you are leaving behind should go to the other part of that very same room.

Theoretically, sorting out your books may look like a no-brainer at all but in reality, things are rarely seen as either black or white. Undoubtedly, the book optimization process will require some difficult decisions on your part as to whether to keep a particular book or discard it. Your final YES/NO should be taken after considering several points:

  1. What’s the current condition of the book? Books in poor shape are less likely to survive the residential move.
  2. What are the dimensions and weight of the book? Big and heavy books will make your packing job even harder.
  3. Does the book hold a special sentimental value for you? Gifted books are always hard to dismiss as they are infused with the giver’s goodwill and will keep reminding you of that thoughtful person.

Whenever you find yourself in two minds whether to take a specific book with you or not, forget about the relocation costs for a minute and think about whether you will have sufficient space in your home for all the books you’re planning to move with you. Money, time and space should be the three major factors to influence your decision-making process when optimizing your book collection.

Get adequate packing supplies

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For a smooth book packing experience, you’re going to need plenty of small to medium-sized packing boxes for books. You can buy brand new ones from your local removal company or office supply shop, or you can even attempt to save some money on moving containers and ask around your circle of friends if they happen to have boxes they can spare. Visiting your nearest recycling centre or a few local supermarkets may also prove to be beneficial in the end, but remember that you do need clean cardboard boxes in good condition that can handle the weight of your books.

Having managed to gather a good number of cartons, the next step for you is to inspect each container really carefully for any possible signs of damage – dampness, tears, holes, or any other general weaknesses you can spot. Don’t risk having unreliable moving boxes for transporting your books – you can easily use them to store much lighter household items inside.

In order to pack books properly, you will also need clean and soft packing paper, newsprint as a filling material, bubble wrap, packing tape and a black marker pen.

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How To Pack Books In Moving Boxes

Packing books in boxes may sound like a piece of cake for some people, but the correct book packing process has its specific tricks which we will share with you below. Just throwing your printed works randomly into the containers will only lead to a great deal of lost time, damaged books and strong headaches. So, just don’t do it.

How to Pack Books When Moving House (5)

Instead, learn the correct way to pack books when moving house with the help of the following book packing steps:

  1. Before you start packing your books in boxes, take the roll of tape and reinforce the bottom of each cardboard box you have decided to use. Keep in mind that books are much heavier than you might think (see below for details), so you need to make sure the bottoms won’t just break under the considerable weight.
  2. Take one small or medium-sized box, and place a sheet of packing paper on its already reinforced bottom.
  3. What is the best way to pack books? Practice has shown that you have 3 good options when it comes to packing books efficiently:

Option 1: Pack your books standing upright as their open parts face the sides of the moving box.

Option 2: You don’t have to wonder anymore whether you should pack books spine up or down because there is only one correct way to do it: pack your books in such a way that their spines are facing the bottom of the box while their open parts are staring at you. You definitely don’t want to do it the other way round /book spines facing you/ due to the increased risk of bindings ending up damaged forever under the book’s own weight.

Option 3: Pack your books flat and stack them along the box sides. If you choose to go with this option, remember that heavier books should always be placed first inside the moving container.

  1. All of the three book packing methods above are correct and the choice of exactly how to arrange your books in boxes is ultimately up to you.
  2. Do not position books too tight one next to the other as you might damage a printed work while trying to get it out of the box later.
  3. For best results, do your best to utilize the space inside each box to its maximum capacity but without making the container too heavy to be carried around /see below for further details/. Thus said, after you’ve finished arranging the first row of books, start the second one if there’s still enough room, or start placing the next books sideways while keeping the pages of different books from touching. Use soft crushed paper to separate the volumes if you are out of options (and space!).
  4. When you feel like you’re done packing one moving box, don’t forget to fill in the remaining spaces between the positioned books with bubble wrap, packing paper, clean rags, soft towels, thick socks and so on. As you can already imagine, the idea here is to minimize any book shifts during the transportation.
  5. Place a clean sheet of packing paper on the very top of your neatly packed books, closed the box lid and tape it shut.
  6. Take your black marker pen and write the content /BOOKS/ and destination room /LIVING ROOM, STUDY/ on at least two sides of each packed box. Also, don’t forget to raise a warning sign by marking each book-filled container with the sign “EXTRA HEAVY”.
  7. Now that you know how to safely pack books when moving house, simply repeat the above steps to pack up all your books.

Top 3 Rules For Packing Heavy Books

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Books are rather misleading about their actual weight – one single page usually weighs nothing at all, but take hundreds of nothings and suddenly you get something that surely has its own mass. You’ve probably heard people say from time to time, “Books are heavy!”, but it’s not until you begin confining them to a limited storage space that you realize how truthful that statement really is.

How to pack heavy books for moving? There are 3 main rules to observe when packing heavy books for moving house:

  • Rule #1: Heavy books should stay at the bottom. The idea behind this rule is that heavier books could damage lighter and more fragile ones if placed on top of them.
  • Rule #2: Limits should not be tested. There is an unwritten safety rule that packers should keep book-filled boxes under the reasonable limit of 50 lbs. Going over that set value is considered unsafe both for the cardboard box as well as for the person carrying it.
  • Rule #3: Progress should be taken advantage of. Which is the greatest invention in the history of mankind that ranks even before bubble wrap? Of course, it’s the wheel. So, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use that genius invention to your advantage when moving house. If you happen to have travel suitcases with small wheels at the bottom around your home, then you must make them work for you by reserving the heaviest books you own for your rolling suitcase(s). If you’re not sure how to pack books in a suitcase, then all you have to do is view your wheeled helper as a giant moving box and pack your books for shipping following the book packing tips above.

Questions And Answers When Packing Books For Moving

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    What box sizes to use when packing books for shipping? When wondering what size box to pack your books in, remember that contrary to popular belief, small boxes are used for packing heavy items and larger boxes are used for packing lighter items. So, small to medium sized cardboard boxes should be just fine.

  • How to pack books for storage? If you’re thinking about packing books for long term storage, then use the book packing steps above and finish the packing process by wrapping your precious books inside a final layer of durable plastic sheets as proven protection against possible moisture and dust in the designated storage area.
  • How to pack valuable books when moving house? When packing antique books or packing expensive books for shipping, adequate protection is key. Wrap each valuable book first in extra soft and perfectly clean sheet of paper and then add a layer of bubble wrap over that same paper for extra safety. Tape the bubble wrap in place so that it won’t fall off and place the book of extraordinary value, either monetary or sentimental, in a special moving container away from the rest of the printed works. Repeat the packing process for all your special books you own.
  • What should I do with all the books I’m leaving behind? What an excellent question! The answer is as simple as it can be: gift your discarded books to somebody who you know will truly appreciate them.
  • What if I need help packing my books when moving? If you feel nervous about packing up your books for safe transportation to your new home or you simply don’t have the required time to do it properly, then your best bet is to hire experienced professional packers who know exactly what it takes to pack your books for shipping in the quickest and safest manner.

Happy post relocation reading!

Posted on Thursday, June 4, 2015, Last updated on April 2, 2020

David Green

David has 5 years of experience in the moving industry and is a highly recognized authority in this field. He is now a regular contributor to the RemovalReviews blog and helps hundreds of thousands of people relocate easily with his expert advice.You can contact David Green directly at

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