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How to Pack Books for Moving – Best Tips From Packing Experts

Posted in How-to on March 31, 2022

Relocations can be very stressful and time-consuming, with certain items requiring a lot more attention than others. While most people don’t bother preparing novels and handbooks, a book lover who owns a large collection will want to know how to pack books for moving to make sure the transportation goes smoothly and problem-free.

Why Is It Important to Know How to Pack Books for Moving Properly?

If you are a book-lover, you probably take a lot of care of your precious collection, and there is no need to explain why properly packing them for relocation is so essential. There are plenty of problems that could occur if you’re not careful with boxing everything up correctly. Some of which are:

  • Ripped pages,
  • Bent spines,
  • Water or humid damage,
  • Leather bindings dehydration,
  • Dog-eared corners.

This is not the scenario you want happening, especially if some of them are rare copies or have sentimental value to you. Not finding time to educate yourself on properly preparing packages for long-distance moving is one of the most common relocating mistakes people make. Unless you’re planning on getting professional help, you should take time to learn how to secure all of your literature for a smooth transition.

This Is why you need to carefully go through our relocation tips to avoid the risk of damaging your items. It’s better to spend more time securing every single thing than not being able to fix the damage done.

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Make a Selection of Titles You Will Definitely Move

One task that should be on your relocating to-do list is decluttering and getting rid of all the unnecessary items. When it comes to your book collections, try and distinguish between the ones that are very valuable to you and the ones that are not.

You should also consider that they can be extremely heavy, and most long-distance movers charge their services by weight of the inventory. So if your relocating budget isn’t that flexible, and you still want to move safely, you should be careful about how many boxes of literature you’ll bring to the new home. Our tip is to choose only the most valuable tomes you own and the ones with sentimental value. Once you move to a different city, you’ll most definitely want to explore all the libraries and bookstores in your neighborhood.

Give Away or Sell the Books You’re Not Planning to Pack

Not transporting a part of your book collection to your new home doesn’t necessarily mean you should throw them into the garbage. There are plenty of things you can do with these nonessential items. If you’re trying to earn and save some money, you can sell them online or through a garage sale. If you don’t feel like selling them, you can donate them to a local charity, library, or school. That would make someone happy, and you’ll get rid of items for your move.

It’s Best To Place All the Tomes You’re Not Moving Into Storage

You can also consider getting a storage service and leaving all the nonessential items in the units until you figure out what to do with them. You should consider asking the company how safe their storage lockers are and if they are climate controlled. You’ll need to take some measures to protect items in storage. Keep in mind the humidity and pests in the storage unit, as these can both destroy your editions if you leave them stored for too long.

A person packing books for moving across the country
There is no need to overpack and carry too many heavy volumes to your new home

Gather All the Necessary Packing Supplies, Materials, and Boxes

When organizing your packing for a move, you need to be sure you’ve prepared all the necessary supplies for securing and protecting your belongings for transportation. For securing them properly, you should gather a few strong cardboard boxes for books. You can use some old containers lying around your home or purchase new ones. Consider finding sturdy cardboard crates that will be able to handle the heavier weight of these items.

You’re going to require lots of tape for securing the containers and keeping them closed throughout the transport. You should find some packaging paper for filling up the space between the packed items as if you’re packaging fragile items, so there’s no tumbling and eventual damage.

Don’t use the free second-hand boxes previously used for storing various food products. These types of packages can attract tiny insects that could damage your books while in transport. They could also possibly have some stains from foods that could get on your precious belongings. Newspapers can also leave stains, so be aware of that too.

What Is the Best Way of Packing Books for Moving?

If you’re planning on relocating efficiently, you should carefully read through packing tips for moving cross country on how to pack books in boxes in the best possible way. The first thing you should keep in mind is not to overfill the containers as you won’t be able to lift them, and they could potentially break. Besides the containers, you can also use suitcases – the wheels will be very practical for carrying heavier items.

Avoid Packing Them in Boxes Like They’re on a Shelf

Should books be packed spine up or down? Believe it or not, it is never recommended to pack volumes into a box-like you would place them on a shelf. You should lay each title facing flat and build them up in columns.

Remember that you should start with the larger editions on the bottom and go up from there. Also, remember to pack binding to binding, so the spines support one another. The layers can overlap as long as they are lined up in a way they don’t break or bend.

How to Protect Paperback Books?

Paperbacks can be boxed up in a few different ways. You can use the standard way, previously mentioned above, and stack them in towers. They can also be used for filling up the empty spaces, but keep in mind not to put any book spines on an angle. You should stack them right up to the top edge, so you leave just enough space for the container to be closed. This means almost no room in the container should be left unfilled once you’re done.

How to Protect a Fragile or Antique Edition Book?

Fragile or super valuable editions need to be boxed up extra carefully. You will need to wrap them up individually into packaging paper for relocating for added protection. For very old editions, use a form that is acid-free so it doesn’t cause any damage to the covers. You could also line a box with one layer of balled-up paper so the covers don’t get nicked.

If the issues are antique, you need to be super careful when preparing them for transport. Once you damage such a valuable book, it will probably never regain its maximum value again. When placing them into packages, be sure you leave a bit of gap between them, so they get better air circulation that will prevent condensation and possible damage.

The packages shouldn’t be exposed to light during transportation, especially if the road takes a more extended period of time. Minimize the exposure to light and ask to get a vehicle that has enough dark space for these valuable items.

Here’s a youtube video that carefully explains how you should move an entire collection of volumes, safe and sound.

Don’t Forget to Label Each Box

Properly organizing your house inventory for the move is a process that requires a lot of patience and time. It’s always smart to organize everything systematically and in a particular order (including your literature collection), so try to avoid last-minute moves at all costs.

Labeling each box is going to make unpacking after the move process so much easier and more manageable. Write down on each box what is inside of it. And also label the crates. This way, you won’t have to open up everything at once, but you’ll know where your most critical editions are, which is great if you’re relocating with kids that need to study for school.

If you’re shipping valuable editions in containers, you should write on the surface that they need to be handled with care. This way, movers will know they need to be extra careful when loading and unloading packages.

Two girls labeling wrapped books
Label the containers with fragile editions so the movers know to handle them with care

Put the Packages With Tomes at the Bottom of the Transportation Truck

Once you finish preparing and protecting all of the items inside the crates, the only thing left to do is load the relocation truck. Our tip is to put the containers carrying the tomes at the bottom of the truck for safe transport. This way, there will be no risk of them falling over, getting damaged, or damaging items underneath them with their heavyweight.

A couple loading a transportation truck
When the heavy boxes are on the bottom of the truck, it's safer for the other packages

Consider Hiring Professional Help From Cross Country Movers

If you don’t feel like doing all the relocation work on your own, and you feel as if it is too stressful, you might want to consider hiring professionals to help you with moving across the country. It’s essential to know how to choose a relocation company and research all the cross-country moving services they have to offer you.

You must check if a relocation company is legitimate and you’re not falling for some relocating scams. Be sure you go through their website, research them online, read through reviews, check the licenses, and contact the company to get any information you need. If the company is reputable, you should consider booking their moving services for a stress-free relocation. A good company will cover each part of the relocation process and offer you anything you need, from packing services to premium relocation insurance.

Use These Tips to Transport Your Book Collection Safely

Whether you’re doing everything on your own or with the help of professionals, preparing, organizing, and boxing up your tome collection is going to be much easier with these tips. The ones that are the most important to you, you can always take by your side throughout the trip to avoid stressing about them getting lost or damaged.

One of the essential hacks we forgot to mention is to keep a book or two with you for the trip to your destination and new home. It could help you reduce anxiety about relocation and make the road more fun. It could also be great for keeping the kids busy. Lastly, making friends in the new city will be more fun when discussing interesting novels.

Lucy Lucas

Born and raised in Miami Lucy is a content writer with a love of moving and packing. She is an expert at making sure everything fits into her suitcase.

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