For the Love of Books!
How to Pack Them for Your Move
If you’re an avid book lover, your collection of books probably is very important to you. This blog offers a guide on how to pack books for a move—across town or across the country.
Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to keeping your books safe and organized. Remember, when it comes to books that are priceless to you, it doesn’t matter whether you’re hiring a professional mover or moving yourself. Packing them correctly is the most important thing!
Sort Your Books and Organize Your Move
- Decide which books to keep and which ones you can re-home. The first step is always the hardest. But this one leads to a successful move. It’s also the step that will help you streamline the relocation of your books.
Reducing the number of books you take with you can be very freeing. This is the point where you can let go of books that no longer have the value that they once held with you.
We suggest donating unwanted books to your local used bookstore. It’s a great way to give back to your community. Think of it this way: You are giving someone else the opportunity to “love” what you are willing to part with.
- Organize Your Library: Most book collectors and avid readers have their libraries organized. If yours is not, moving is a great time to organize. Frequently used or valuable books should be packed in their own box and clearly labeled so they can be found easily. Then you can organize other books by genre, topic, and usage.
- Sort by size and type: As you begin to pack, keep your paperback books together and do the same with hard-bound books. This will help to avoid damage to your books.
Contents of boxes can and do shift. Place larger books on the bottom of the box and smaller ones on top.
- Sort by genre and topic: If you have a large book collection sort your books by genre or topic. Then label the box so it can easily be found and unpacked. For example, pack cookbooks together, and art books in another box. Do the same with novels, gardening books and regional books. You get the idea!
Carelessly tossing books in boxes leads to book damage and more time spent re-organizing at the end of your move!
- Sort by author: Some people have a vast collection and like to sort by author. If this is the case, sort your books by the author’s last name. This will make it easier to find and place books on the bookshelves in your new home.
- Sort by age or condition: Another consideration is how to handle old and new books. If you have a mixture, you can sort them by age or condition. Pack newer books in good condition together. Pack older books separately, as they may be more fragile and require additional care.
Boxes and Packing Materials
You want strong boxes for this part of your move. Heavy-duty moving boxes specifically designed for books are best. But if you’re on a budget, you can use cost-effective alternatives. For example, Bankers’ boxes with handles are cheap enough and work great for book boxes.
When it comes to books, it’s essential to choose the right size boxes. Keep your move practical by using smaller boxes for heavy books. This makes boxes easier to carry.
Bigger boxes should be reserved for light books or ones that are taller—like “coffee table books.” Reinforce your book boxes with plenty of heavy packing tape so the boxes do not break open.
Stack paperbacks horizontally. Hardcopy books need to be stacked upright with the spines facing out. Avoid packing books too tightly because this can damage the bindings.
Use packing paper to fill in the corners and the top of boxes to ensure your collection does not shift and become damaged.
Label Your Boxes
Many people, make a master list of book boxes and their contents. Once a box is sealed, you will not know the contents unless it is labeled. Be as specific as possible and use a marker that makes reading easy.
Labeling makes unpacking easier since you will be able to locate specific books. If your books are going to be in different rooms, label the boxes with that room listed.
Additional packing tips:
- Wrap books in acid-free packing paper: Delicate or valuable books, such as photo albums, comic books, and rare editions, can be wrapped in acid-free packing paper to ensure that they do not rub against each other.
- Stack paperbacks: Because paperbacks are easily damaged, stack them with spines aligned so that the covers don’t get creased. Keep them flat in the box and make sure the spines are not against the bottom of the box. This will keep the pages from being damaged.
- Talk to your moving company: When it comes to packing books, ask your moving company if they have any specific suggestions.
Packing books can be a fun task because it helps you filter through your books and get ready for a new chapter in life. However, moving books correctly does require planning and the right supplies.
Remember: take your time when packing books and don’t be afraid to use extra packing materials to ensure their safety. By following these steps and tips, you can ensure that your books arrive at your new home in great condition.
Some of this material was taken from This Old House.