Moving books might seem simple, after all you just toss them into a box, right? You’re not completely wrong, but there are exceptions to the rule. More importantly, if you pack your books incorrectly it could lead to broken boxes, damaged books, and injured backs. Even if you hire professional movers to haul the boxes for you, you’ll still need to do the packing, which isn’t quite as simple as you might think. For best results, read the strategies below on how to pack and move your home library.
Declutter Your Library
If you’re a bibliophile, the thought of getting rid of some of your precious books can be a heart wrenching. However, it’s in your best interest to lighten the load. After all, the less stuff you have, the cheaper the move will be whether you’re making a local or cross-country move. And who doesn’t love saving money?
Don’t rush this process. Try to start at least a month before your move. That way you will have the time to consider each book carefully. Instead of throwing your books in the trash, consider the following options:
- Donate to charity – most charities will gladly accept your books so long as they are in good condition. You can also donate directly to libraries, schools, orphanages, etc.
- Sell them – there’s a fairly large second-hard market for books, so why not make a little extra cash from them? Offer your books at yard sales or sell them online through Amazon or through various online booksellers.
- Pass them along to friends and/or family members – Ask people you know if they want to take some books off your hands. Chances are there are probably a few you’re getting rid of that someone would be interested in.
- Recycle – if your books are heavily damaged, your only option would be to recycle it. Avoid throwing your books in the trash if possible! Your old books can enjoy a new life as wrapping paper or paper bags if you recycle.
Organize Your Books
Once you’ve narrowed down your books, it’s time to organize them. Before you move anything though, make sure to take a picture of your current library setup so you can replicate it in your new home. Of course, you might decide you want to try a different organization method later on!
Separate your books into hardcover and paperbacks. If you don’t, the hardcover books could damage your paperbacks. From there, group the books up by size. That way, you can maximize the amount of space the books take in the box. You can go further with your organization and organize your book by genre, author, etc. Whatever is easiest for you to remember and unpack when you get to your new place. After all, there’s nothing quite like relaxing with your favorite book after a stressful moving day!
Choose Your Packing Materials Wisely
It might be tempting to put all of your books into one or two large boxes, but that’s ultimately an injury waiting to happen. Books are heavy. You might not think about the weight often in your day-to-day life. After all, you’re likely only holding one book at a time. An average hardcover weighs between 1 to 3 pounds while a paperback can weigh between 0.5 to 1 pound. Even if you’re hiring professional NJ movers to help with moving, you still want to keep your boxes to a max of 30 pounds since you might still need to move the boxes yourself from one room to another. More importantly, if you back your box full of heavy books, it can compromise the structural integrity of the box. This could lead to broken boxes and, at worse, a serious injury.
Your best bet is to choose smaller boxes. Sure, it might be tedious to pack dozens of smaller boxes, but it will ultimately be easier to move several small boxes versus one heavy box. Plus, smaller boxes mean better organization so you’re not putting your mystery novels with your romance.
Besides the box, you want to make sure you have other packing materials such as tape, packing paper, and permanent markers. Make sure to label the packed books as heavy so the movers know what to expect.
Pack Your Books Properly
Sure, you can just dump your books into boxes willy-nilly, but it will be easier for you and the movers if you are intentional with your packing. Besides organizing and getting the right materials for the job, the actual packing part can ensure your books arrive in good condition. Before you start packing, line the boxes you plan on using with packing paper. If you have delicate and/or rare books, consider packing these separately or placing cardboard sheets between the books to prevent damage.
When stacking your books, pack your books with the spine down. If you’re stacking the books, pack the lighter books on top of the heavier ones. Try not to squeeze too much into the box. You don’t want the sides or top bulging! Leave a little space on the sides and top and stuff the empty space with packing paper to prevent any shifting during the move. You might also want to get some desiccant to keep your books nice and dry. After all, moisture can ruin books and warp the book shape. Not to mention it can lead to mold and rot.
Ship Books Media Mail
If you decide to go the DIY route, you might want to consider shipping your books via media mail. That way, you don’t have to worry about lugging the heavy boxes on and off a truck! Even if you’re using professional movers, shipping the books might end up being cheaper, especially if you’re making a long distance move. You can ship giant boxes of books for around $0.45 a pound! You can even schedule a pickup with the USPS so you don’t have to lug the boxes down to the post office.
So, what’s the catch? The USPS reserves the right to open and search the packages to ensure the contents adhere to the service’s standards. That means you can’t sneak in other items into these boxes. You will need to check the media mail website to see what does count. Be forewarned that media mail packages cannot contain advertising and things like comic books do not count. While the USPS won’t check every box, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Move Your Home Library Safely
If you want to make sure you have your favorite books on hand when you move into your new place, then hire professional movers to relocate your home library. Reputable NJ movers have years of experience and have moved pretty much everything you can imagine. And if you need, they can put any extra boxes in storage for you. Just make sure they know you will need a storage solution ahead of time!
Should I stack books or spine down?
Stacking books is great if you have books that are all the same size and fit into a box. Spines down ensures your pages are less likely to be damaged.
Where can I get small, sturdy boxes?
There are many places where you can get small boxes. You can contact the moving company you are using as they will have a variety of box sizes available. You can also ask local stores that tend to receive heavy items (liquor stores, local bookstores, etc). Finally, you can check at work though the boxes that you get from here will likely be more lightweight.
What happens if a box falls apart during a move?
Sometimes you’re just unlucky. Maybe the box got wet or it was just too heavy. If you use professional movers, they will re-pack the books for you, but you will be charged a packing and material fee for the new box. For DIY moves, you’ll either have to put the boxes in the trunk or back seat of your car (if it fits) or find another box as you don’t want loose books flying around in the back of a moving truck.