Tuesday, May 21

How to Pack Books for Moving – Everything You Need to Know

Whether you have a couple of vintage titles or you are an avid reader with a sizable home library, knowing how to pack books for moving is an essential skill. Books are not light items and, unlike clothes, can’t be bent to fit the shape of a container or a box. Well, even if they could, we don’t want to contemplate such an option due to the sentimental and financial value of those items. So, we’ll go by the book (no pun intended) in order to show you how to prepare your titles for safe transport to a new home, without any missing pages.

Make Some Hard Decisions

People love their books. That’s a simple truth. Still, if you’re moving cross-country or overseas, it may not be possible to bring all of them with you. Even if possible, it’s going to cost you a lot. So sift through your library and sort books into categories. Rare or, in other ways, valuable editions should be on the list for packing. Beloved ones, too. And those you definitely plan to read or reread.

However, are there some titles you’ve already read and won’t pick them up again? Or some that you bought a few years back and never thought about them afterward? If so, consider giving them away to family or friends, donating them to schools or charities, or selling them before you arrange all the details with your moving service providers. A garage sale is an excellent way to do it. You’ll have a chance to say goodbye to the old neighborhood while at the same time improving your budget. Using storage services is also a convenient solution for the titles you don’t want to get rid of, but can’t or don’t want to take with you.

What Boxes to Use for Books

When the selection process is over, it’s time to get down to some book-packing tips. It is highly advisable to put books into lots of smaller boxes. As we said before, these items can be hefty, especially the hardcovers. Putting a large number of them in a big box will make the moving day a living hell for you or anyone else trying to carry them to the truck. So, divide them into as many smaller, durable boxes as possible.

Boxes used for wine or liquor bottles are particularly handy for the job since they are quite sturdy. Still, you wouldn’t want to leave anything to chance, so use tape to reinforce each box meant for heavy loads. That is especially true for boxes made of recycled materials.

Since you probably won’t find a formula for everything to fit perfectly, use some cushioning to fill the gaps and prevent the books from moving during the trip. As always, boxes should be appropriately labeled, so that nothing gets misplaced or lost, and they should form the lowest layer of the cargo in the truck. You wouldn’t want a box with some hardback nine-volume encyclopedia to fall on the one with crystal glasses that you inherited from your grandma.

If you don’t have faith in boxes and crates, a suitcase can pose as a perfect shelter for your books. But, for your and your movers’ sake, let it be a suitcase with wheels.

Tips for Packing Hardbacks

Hardback is usually a sign of a more valuable or higher quality edition, so you should give them a bit more thought and care when packing. Of course, if it’s not so, just stack them one on top of another. Be mindful, though, that they’ll still be heavy, so keep the weight in mind.

If they are valuable, then you’ll need a more thoughtful approach. For pricey ones, use packing paper to wrap them up and then stack them. Luxurious ones are even more of a task, but you’ll find it well worth the effort in the long run. Wrap them in paper first, and then put a sturdy cardboard plate between each two. That plate, along with other appropriate cushioning methods, will protect the covers but also prevent the books from moving during the trip. If they can’t move, there’s a smaller chance of them falling over and making a mess. 

Cushioning can be anything soft, like old clothes or towels. 

It is vital, however, that the books stay dry. Any moisture can wreak havoc on the book covers. In case you need to put your books in storage for a while, always be sure that it’s dry and free of pests.

It goes without saying that the rarest and most valuable books should be entitled to the best possible boxes. They may even be worthy of hiring professional packing services to prepare them for the long drive ahead.

How to Pack Paperbacks

There’s not much wisdom here since the main goal is to avoid damage on pages and covers. So put them one next to the other, with the spine facing down. That way, the risk of bending is minimized, especially when combined with cushioning that fills empty corners. If the box (and you) can handle more than one layer, put larger and heavier books on the bottom and lighter ones above them.

Follow our handy tips, and you and your favorite reads will be set and ready to go in no time. And one final word: don’t forget to separate your all-time favorite and carry it with you. It may be a good companion on the road, or in the first few days at your new home.