Packing books for moving
Whether it’s one shelf full or an entire library, books need to be carefully packed to stay protected. When packing books, consider their weight and distribute them so you can easily carry the boxes. We recommend using small boxes and keeping the weight under 40 lbs.
How to move books
- Use sturdy boxes. Used or found boxes may not be in very good condition and aren’t typically designed to protect your items during a long distance move.
- Tape the box well. Place a double layer of packing tape along the bottom seam and any corners or edges to add support.
- Prepare the box. Add crushed packing paper to the bottom of the box to create a layer of protection.
- Organize the books. Group them by size for easier packing.
- Wrap special books in packing paper. Items that are older, fragile or special should be wrapped to provide extra protection. If it’s a very high value book, we recommend keeping it with you during the move.
- Pack. There are three ways to place books in the box:
- Upright (like on a shelf). Place each book with pages facing the outside of the box. Rows should be spine to spine, and if there’s a third row, use a layer of packing paper to keep pages from touching. This method is best for hardbacks.
- Laid flat. Stack books on top of each other and place packing paper between stacks to prevent pages from touching. This option is best for paperbacks.
- Spine down. Place books in the box with the pages upright, then add packing paper to keep them secure. Best for large or heavy books.
- Fill any extra space. Use crushed packing paper to keep the contents from shifting.
- Tape the box closed. Apply two layers of packing tape to the top for extra protection.
- Label each box. Write “books” on the box to make loading and unloading easier.
Watch this process in action:
What to do with unwanted books
If you decide to sort through your collection before the move, there are several places you can donate books you no longer need or want. The Salvation Army, Goodwill, libraries and resale shops are great places to donate items that are still in good condition. Donations are tax deductible, so remember to save your donation receipt!
Pack yourself and save
If you have more questions about how to move books, we’ll be happy to help. Just leave a comment below.
Want to see more packing tips? Check out this resource to learn how to pack household items.
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