How to Pack Books? One of the great pleasures of being a reader is amassing an outstanding book collection—until it’s time to relocate, that is. While it may appear like packing books is as simple as pulling out the largest box you can find and stuffing it to the brim, it takes a lot more planning. You’ll need to go into the procedure with a plan that allows you to move your books quickly and safely, especially if you’re concerned about personal injury. And we’ve got a few pointers that might be useful.
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Items that are fragile, sharp, or unusually shaped frequently come to mind when we think of the most challenging items to pack up before a move (and don’t even get us started on boxing up the kitchen).
Why are books so difficult to pack when they are none of these things? A stack of books, on the other hand, is extremely weighty and unruly—and a crate of books even more so—despite the fact that a single book is light, compact, and far from delicate. If you simply empty your entire bookcase into a couple of moving boxes, you’ll wind up with a bulky box that’s a real—and literal—pain to handle. If it falls over while being transported, it may cause harm to your other items.
A better approach is to properly pack your books, following tried-and-true procedures perfected by book enthusiasts before you. Here’s everything you need to know about packing books, including our best advice for transporting your whole library from one location to another.
Read through these useful ideas for packing books before tackling that bookshelf, and plan your next steps from there.
1. Make Some Edit
Is it really necessary to have two copies of the same book? Or an extensively annotated tome you’ve been carting about since high school as a matter of habit? There’s a strong chance you have at least a few books you no longer want, and moving is an excellent time to get rid of them.
As for the second step, books are one of the most straightforward items to donate, so you’re in luck. Check with your local library to see if they take donations, or bring them to a local thrift store. Selling your books to a used-book dealer is another way to generate some additional cash. Other choices, such as a charity that will pick up your used books for free, can be found on Becoming Minimalist’s list of places to donate books.
2. Choose the right Boxes
When it comes to packing books, one crucial suggestion is to divide their weight by using numerous small or medium-sized boxes rather than a single large box. If you pack up too many books at once, you’ll quickly exceed the weight limits on large and extra-large boxes, and you’ll also run into the aforementioned safety hazards. To find out how many boxes you’ll need for your move in general, use our free moving box calculator, and add a few additional smalls and mediums to account for your collection.
3. If you must use huge boxes, don’t fill them all the way to the top.
We understand; sometimes you just have to make do with what you’ve got. You can utilize larger boxes instead of buying smaller ones if you have a lot of them and don’t want to buy smaller ones just for books. Fill larger boxes with books up to 60% of the way, then add light but bulky goods like linens or towels to the remainder of the space.
4. Books should never be packed in damaged boxes.
Because faulty cardboard might bow under great weight, it’s not safe to load books in a box that’s shredded, damp, or otherwise damaged. Only utilize boxes that are completely intact, and if at all feasible, pack your books in plastic bins rather than cardboard, as they are the most durable alternative.
5. Instead of boxes, use a rolling suitcase.
You’ll have to transfer your suitcases as well, so put them to good use. A rolling suitcase is ideal for packing books because it reduces the need for heavy lifting (so long as you have a ramp for the truck).
Keep in mind that it can still be dangerous in transit, so you’ll want to pack it in with other heavy goods to keep it secure. If you go this approach, instead of chucking books in without a plan, use the organizing techniques below.
6. Organize as you go
Pack your books in such a way that you can quickly pull them out of the box and place them on the shelf at your new home, making it easier to unpack them later.
How you go about accomplishing this is entirely up to you and how you like your books to be organized. Group your books ahead of time, whether by genre, author, color, or book type, to save time when you’re settling in.
7. Hardcovers should be stored upright, and paperbacks should be stored on their sides.
Packing books is similar to playing Tetris in that you may need to do some finagling to get everything to fit together in a logical order. Packing your hardcovers upright, with their spines against the side of the box, and your paperbacks on their sides in stacks is one way to make it happen. This assists in evenly distributing the weight of your books and protects their pages from being bent or ripped.
Naturally, this strategy may conflict with the preceding suggestion. When in doubt, opt for this method of packing books and organizing as much as you can as you go.
8. Fill in any blank areas.
There’s a considerable likelihood that, unlike Tetris, there will be gaps between your stacks of books. Use balled-up packing paper to fill up any empty spots and keep everything in its place to avoid things from shifting around. Socks or dish towels might also be used, as they serve the same purpose and must be packed up anyhow.
9. Treat your possessions with care.
Most books can simply be placed in your boxes, but other books, especially valuables like photo albums or vintage novels, or more fragile books such as comics, require a little extra attention. Depending on the book, this may entail wrapping it in an air-filled plastic wrap layer before placing it in the box and/or using a layer of cardboard to separate it from other things.
Pack books that are actually priceless to you in little boxes on their own or with a few other items and carry them with you rather than dumping them aboard the moving truck.
10. Put a Label
It can be tiresome to label all of your boxes, but it’s usually a good idea, especially for books. It not only makes it easy to arrange the boxes in the appropriate room for unpacking, but it also alerts you or your movers that the box is heavy and that extra caution should be exercised when carrying it.
Packing books is only half the battle; you must also follow best practices for moving books. Here’s what you need to know.
Carefully lift the boxes. Follow these steps to learn how to lift a box correctly so you don’t injure yourself when transporting your books to and from the moving van.
Don’t stack anything. Books should never be stacked in boxes and should always be placed on the moving truck’s floor. This keeps them from tipping over and damaging the stuff around them while in transit. It also protects you when you’re unloading the truck.
Keep breakables out of the way. If one of your book boxes moves around during transit, you’ll want to be sure it doesn’t cause too much damage. Just in case, keep these boxes away from breakables like glass, porcelain, and ceramic.
Consider hiring full-service movers if you want to delegate all of the work of packing and moving your books to someone else. They can pack, load, transfer, and even unpack your possessions so you don’t have to lift a finger throughout your relocation.