How To Pack Books For Moving – Best Tips, Dos, And Don’ts in the Bay Area

Despite the rise of digital novels, printed titles are still the most popular format among US readers. Combining this with the fact that most citizens relocate almost a dozen times in their life, learning how to pack books for moving will undoubtedly make your relocation significantly easier. Take a look at some of the top tips, dos, and don’ts that will allow you to move your entire collection without much trouble.

Whether you’re a fan of science fiction, fantasy, or classical literature, knowing how to secure your favorite novel properly will save you a lot of stress. If you can’t figure out what to do even after reading this blog, know that our San Francisco moving company in the Bay Area can assist you with all the necessary preparations.

Go Through Your Entire Collection Before You Start Packing Books for Moving

Bookworms and long-time readers can accumulate hundreds if not thousands of titles throughout their lifetime, meaning they usually have substantially more things to move each time they do it. Although you’ll want to relocate every piece of literature you own, doing so means you might have to take out some other things on your relocation to-do list. If you happen to own many titles yourself, going through the entire collection will help you decide what to do with each book, novel, and publication. This is also useful for making a relocation expenses checklist, as it’s the only way to assess the number of materials you’ll need to acquire.

Get Rid of Any Copies You Don’t Need Before Relocating

If you have a collection the size of a library, getting rid of extra copies and titles you don’t need could significantly shorten the time it takes you to prepare it for relocation. The process is the same as decluttering any other object, meaning you’ll only have to sort all the titles into one of the following categories:

  • Keep – These are the only titles that are going to get packed by the end of the move.
  • Sell – Any pieces you bought on an impulse but never found the time to read can simply be sold online or through a yard sale. Selling a limited edition of any publication could end up covering a big chunk of your relocation expenses.
  • Give away – If your friends and family wanted to take some novels off your back, the going away party would be the perfect opportunity to make the exchange.
  • Donate – Donating titles you don’t need will mean a lot to someone else who can’t afford to buy literature. There are plenty of charities that will accept your donation, including the local Goodwill.

If you’re not sure which titles to bring with you and which to get rid of, the video below might give you an idea of how to do it.

Place the Titles You Won’t Use Soon in Storage

Anyone who doesn’t want to give away even a single novel should place some of the titles into storage before the actual move. However, finding a facility with all the right conditions won’t always be easy. It needs to be freed from rats and other pests like silverfish, as these can easily damage both the containers and the volumes. The storage itself needs to be climate-controlled to prevent any mildew from forming and potentially ruining anything you’ve stored.

Before actually storing anything, you’ll need to prepare each tome properly, especially if you’re planning on leaving it in storage for a longer period. Most Bay Area moving companies recommend you only use acid-free paper for wrapping, as it won’t turn yellow over time. You should also avoid making handle holes on the containers, as these are great entry points for all kinds of pests. If you need help transporting your collection to these facilities, our local movers in the Bay Area can provide you with an excellent in and out of storage move. We even have top-notch storage units you could use.

storage space neatly organized
Consider storing some of the things you don’t need

Get Plenty of Boxes and Other Supplies

While preparing your book collection is going to be a lot more straightforward than packing dishes or other fragile items, you’ll still require a few different materials to do it properly. Once you’ve gone through your entire inventory, you should go out and get all the necessary supplies, including:

  • Boxes,
  • Paper,
  • Tape,
  • Labeling kit,
  • Bubble wrap.

What Is the Best Size Box for Moving Books?

With hardcover tomes going over a pound and the average 300-page paperback novels weighing about 16 ounces, it’s always better to place them in smaller containers that won’t crumble under the weight. Remember, while a single title isn’t really heavy, the weight can quickly stack up, which would make a fully stuffed large container nearly impossible to lift. While most major retailers offer all kinds of containers you can think of, boxes for books shouldn’t be bigger than 1.5 cubic feet. These are, in fact, the smallest standard-sized containers, ideal for boxing up both heavy and small items, making them an ideal choice for securing your collection.

Check Out These Tips on Where to Get Boxes for Free

Considering how these are some of the most used materials in general, finding a few containers for free could help you save quite a bit of money by the end of the move. Before you go out to search in other places, contact your close ones and check if they have any leftovers. If they don’t, some local stores should have what you need, but you’ll have to ask the managers to allow you to take some of their materials. Finally, you can look for some stuff online on websites such as Freecycle. Wherever you choose to get your materials, be sure that they are clean and relatively new, as using dirty containers will bring a lot more harm than good.

pile of boxes
Liquor stores, bookstores, and grocery stores are just some of the places where you can find a free box

How Best to Pack Books for Moving? Organize Your Collection by Cover Type, Size, or Even Genre

Literature comes in all shapes and sizes, so it’s always good to organize your entire collection before you box up anything. This will make the whole process much easier, as it will help you determine how to deal with each item. More expensive and rare editions will require more protection than others, so it’s up to you to decide how you want to deal with each title. Usually, it’s best to organize it by size and the cover type, as this will allow you to maximize the number of titles that can fit in a single container. You can also do it by genre or the room they got packed in, but these methods are often not as efficient.

books neatly put on a shelve
Organizing your collection makes the packing process significantly easier

How to Pack Books in Boxes

We can safely say that most people prefer to move their collection safely boxed up. However, this doesn’t mean you should randomly fill out each container as you go. If you’re not sure what to do, using one of the following three methods will allow you to maximize the number of titles that can fit inside each box while still keeping them safe:

  • Flat – Laying down one tome on top of another is the safest way to move your collection. However, if the items aren’t the same size, you’ll be left with a lot of space by the time you reach the top of the container.
  • Upright – Most people usually keep their titles in this position when they are on the bookshelf, making this a great way to transport them.
  • Spines up – This is very similar to the previous position, but the extra space on top allows you to have two layers, one on top of another. It’s important to note that you should never place anything with spines down, as the pages could easily get crushes or wrinkled under the weight.

Begin Securing Each Box Before You Lay Down Even a Single Book

Always ensure that each container is properly secured before you start filling it out. While this may seem like a no-brainer to most, many tend to skimp on the tape, which could cause the box to collapse under its own weight. To avoid any unnecessary relocation stressreinforce the bottom with a few layers of tape. Also, since you’ll probably have some space left even after you reach the top, use crumpled-up papers or bubble wrap to fill it out. If you’re relocating with pets, keep them from gnawing the packed containers, as this could potentially damage the titles that are immediately beneath the cardboard. Now, if you want to learn the best way to pack books for moving, check out how you can prepare paperback and hardcover publications for transport.

How Do You Pack Paperback Books for Moving?

Learning how to protect paperback books won’t be too tricky, as they are pretty easy to manage. Considering most of them are usually cheap and accessible, you won’t have to worry about wrapping them up before placing them inside the container.

While many distributors have unique printing sizes, most paperback novels come in only a few sizes. This means you won’t have to play puzzle games just to fit them in the same container, allowing you to pick and choose any of the methods we previously discussed.

Packing Hardcovers and Rare Editions Requires a Bit More Materials

Hardcovers and valuable editions should be protected with extra paper before being placed inside the container. To keep them safe during transport, lay them down or keep them upright, with spines facing the box’s sides. They also need to be packed tightly, but not too much that they get damaged during unpacking.

stack of books
Ensure that your titles are similar in size before you stack them in a container

How Do You Pack Books Without Boxes?

While they are not one of the most commonly forgotten things to pack, many people tend to forget about the ones they’ve lent to friends and family, especially if the exchange happened long ago. If they get returned suddenly, you can end up in a situation where there are still many titles waiting to be packed, but there’s nothing to place them into. Unless you plan on another supply run, there are several ways you can secure your collection without cardboard containers. While boxing up is still the most straightforward option, using one of these following alternatives will also allow you to move efficiently and prepare any remaining titles without too much hassle:

  • Suitcases,
  • Briefcases,
  • Backpacks,
  • Trash bags,
  • Hampers, baskets, and crates,
  • Furniture drawers.
person holding two suitcases
Suitcases are some of the most convenient items in your home you can use to move your collection

Label Each Packed Container Appropriately

Once you move into your new home in one of the best places to live in, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to unpack all your belongings right away. Since you’ll have plenty of tasks on your plate already, labeling each container will help you find all the things you need fairly quickly. We already mentioned several times that these could get pretty heavy, meaning that failing to label them properly could cause many problems throughout the entire process. An unmarked box like this could easily be mishandled, meaning you’ll have to overlook the whole loading process even if you’ve hired the best movers in San Francisco. Also, if you’ve packed your rental application and other papers inside a similar container, you won’t be able to tell them apart if you haven’t labeled them.

couple packing books
Remember to label the container as soon as you’re done packing

What Not to Do When Packing a Book

Now that we’ve gone over the relocation hacks, you should have a much clearer picture of what needs to be done. While the entire process is relatively straightforward, doing some of the steps incorrectly could potentially damage your collection. Before we end the blog, let’s go over some of the crucial things you should avoid when packing any book:

  • Using dirty supplies and materials,
  • Getting containers that are too large,
  • Storing the titles incorrectly,
  • Placing the items down at random angles,
  • Overstuffing the containers,
  • Not using enough tape,
  • Forgetting to label each container.
person taping boxes
Don’t skimp on the tape, or the container might crack open under the weight

Not Sure How to Pack Books for Moving? Don’t Worry, Our Bay Area Movers Have You Covered

While securing your book collection should be pretty straightforward, don’t hesitate to look for moving companies in the Bay Area if you need any help whatsoever. In fact, Bay Area Relocation might be the perfect company for you. Getting our residential moves will make your home relocation significantly easier whether you’re relocating to the city or a smaller Bay Area town. Similarly, anyone who needs to move a company will find our commercial relocations are unlike any other on the market. Our San Francisco movers and packers can even help you with almost any task you can think of, like packing plates or even relocating a piano. To start preparing, all you have to do is contact us, and you’ll be given a free quote on all the services our Bay Area moving company provides.

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