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Moving Tips: Packing Books in 7 Simple Steps

Packing books is one of the toughest aspects of moving. Sure, you love your paperbacks and hardcovers, but they’re heavy, and they take up a great deal of space.

When it comes time to transport them from one spot to another, you’ll quickly find that they’re more than you can handle on your own. A medium sized box of books can easily weigh over a hundred pounds.

Don’t worry, though: this doesn’t mean you have to leave your treasured books behind. It simply means it’s time to come up with a better method for packing books.

Here are seven pro tips to get you started:

Step 1. Before Packing Start By Sorting

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Do yourself a favor – don’t start packing books without first sorting books. Here’s why:

Even if you’re a bona-fide book lover, it is likely there are at least a few volumes that you can afford to remove from your shelves. Just remember the D’s of deleting books from your library:

  • Duplicates and damaged books
  • Disliked or dissatisfied
  • Dated information
  • Digital versions available

Instead of moving these, lighten your load by giving them to charity or donating them to a friend or family member. You can also donate books to schools and libraries.

Start with one shelf at a time as you go through your book collection. Remove the volumes you don’t need anymore. Then arrange the rest into neat piles that you can pack later.

Step 2. Use the Right Boxes

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When it comes to books (or anything heavy – for that matter) using the right box is essential. Not only will the right box keep your books from busting loose, but it’ll also make them easier to move and manage.

For books, the “right box” is a medium-sized box made to transport weight. It should have handles on the side and a lid to protect books from dust and moisture during transit. Reinforce the box with tape along the seams and corners. Label it according to its contents and the room it should be unpacked in.

While used boxes can be great for packing up other items in your house, like clothing or bedding, it’s wise to skip them for books. They’re not durable enough, and run a high risk of breaking during transit.

Step 3. Prepare the Box

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Before you start packing books, get the box ready to move. There are a few steps to this process:

Make sure the box is empty. Obviously, you don’t want any squashed bugs or gross, unidentified substances worming their way into your books.

Tape the boxes. Reinforce boxes by running packing tape along the seams and bottom. Provide extra strength by double-taping the bottom. If you’re using a recycled box, tape the seams twice, as well.

Stage your boxes. Move the boxes you intend to use into the room where your books live. Having them close at hand will make them easier to pack and allow you to get on the road quicker.

Remember to label your boxes once they’re all taped and packed. If you have a box that’s very heavy, don’t shy away from asking for help to move it.

Step 4. Pack Hardcovers First
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If you’ve got a nice selection of hardcover books, pack them first. There are two reasons for this: hardcovers take up more space and tend to be heavier than paperbacks.

As you sort and organize your books, pull all the hardcovers together into one stack. Prepare a large or medium-sized box and slide the books in upright, with the spines of the books against the side of the box.

Leave a bit of room in the box, so you don’t damage the covers or spines of the books when you remove them later. If you’re very concerned about damaging the books, wrap them in packing paper before putting them in the box.

Step 5. Pack Paperbacks Next
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Paperbacks are a bit easier to pack than hardcovers. Instead of standing them upright in a box, these can be packed flat and stacked. If you’d prefer, you can also pack paperbacks spine-first, with their paper edges facing up. Be aware, though, that you shouldn’t pack books with their paper edges down and their spines facing up. This will cause warped books and bent edges.

Pro-tip: Got extra space in the box when you’re finished packing the paperbacks? Use paper, t-shirts, or packing peanuts to fill space and provide stability.

Step 6. Secure the Box
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Next, you’ll want to secure your boxes for transport. Secure your boxes by taping along the top seams with packing tape. If your box has a lid, tape around the borders of the lid with packing tape. Don’t forget to label the box!

Secure boxes prevent moisture, bugs, and dirt from getting inside. Additionally, they also stand a better chance of staying intact if they were to fall during transport.

Step 7. Stack Them in the Truck
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One of the great things about packing books is that they’re easy to stack. Because they’re not breakable or delicate, boxes of books can be stacked on top of one another in your moving truck. This frees up floor space for other items or furniture.

Just be sure that you’ve secured and labeled the boxes before stacking them. Always stack largest and heaviest items at the bottom of the stack.

Packing Books the Smart Way

All those heavy books can weigh on your mental and physical energy levels. While packing books can be difficult, there are methods to make the process less painful. By implementing these seven professional tips, you can pack books the fast, easy, and book-smart way.  We hope this helps you get on to your new destination faster than ever before!

Need help packing books, or anything else, for that matter? Contact Colonial Van Lines today!