Young couple sitting down in their home packing up their book collection.

Fact: Moving is stressful, and a lot of that stress comes from packing everything you own. On top of that, you can’t just throw it all in boxes. We all know that dishes and antiques need extra attention –but did you also know books need to be packed carefully too?

Packing books is very straightforward once you know the basics. But if you don’t, you’ll end up with ruined pages, ripped boxes, and damage to your other belongings. With the correct materials and a little bit of time, you can be a book packing wiz. To help out, we’ve created a helpful 3 step guide for packing your paperbacks:

  • Shrink and Sort Your Collection
  • Buy the Right Book-Packing Supplies
  • A Step-by-Step Method for Packing Books


Shrink and Sort Your Collection

Let’s face it, we’ve all accumulated a library’s worth of books over the years. That’s why our simplest and most helpful tip when preparing for a move is to reduce how many books you own.

This process can be time-consuming, so we suggest you set aside a few days. Only you know what books have meaning to you and which ones you’ll want to keep. This is also the perfect time to sort the books you’re keeping so they’ll be ready to be shelved right away in your new home. There are a few different ways you can sort your books:

  • Sort by paperback and hardback
  • Sort by author or genre
  • Sort by size
  • If you’ve already pre-sorted your books, pack as is

Once you have completed this task, parting ways with the books you no longer desire is the next step. There are many methods you can use, such as donating or selling them. However, one of our personal favorites is using BookCrossing. This is where you can donate your books and follow their journey as they are enjoyed by other avid readers!


Buy the Right Book-Packing Supplies

Another helpful moving hack for packing books is to start with the right supplies. All you’ll need are small extra sturdy boxes, packing paper or bubble wrap, packing tape, and a heavy duty marker. Below, we’ll explain why these supplies are critical for efficiently packing your beloved books.

Small sturdy box: Easier to carry and pack, these boxes measure 17’’x12 ⅜ x 12 ⅜’’ and are 1.5 cubic feet. This particular box size is also known as a book box. The advantage of using a book box is that it tends to fill up before it gets too heavy (and trust us, they get extremely heavy very quickly). They are also thicker than standard corrugated boxes so they can sustain weight.

Packing paper/bubble wrap: You’ll want to have plenty of this when packing your books. They are a perfect filler for your boxes. Not only will they take up odd spaces where books don’t fit, but they will help protect the books’ covers as well.

Packing tape: This may seem like an obvious supply to have, but it is still commonly overlooked. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where your choices are masking tape or duct tape. Using packing tape will ensure that your books are secured safely.

Heavy duty marker: After packing up your books, you’ll want to label the box. This is primarily for yourself so that when boxes get moved around you’ll know where your books are. Choosing a large, heavy duty black marker will make labeling and finding your books much easier.


A Step-by-Step Method for Packing Books

When packing for a move, there is always a method to the madness. The method we use for packing books is straightforward and simple, which if followed, will make the process more efficient. Here’s what we do:

  1. Put together the moving boxes
  2. Line each box with packing paper
  3. Place your sorted books into the box either spine down, upright, or flat
  4. Pad the books with packing paper/bubble wrap
  5. Close each box with packing tape
  6. Label box appropriately with a heavy duty marker

Remember when packing books to pack like sizes together and to place the heaviest books first. This will help with weight distribution and protection.


You are now ready to tackle packing up your books! If this still seems like a daunting task, head on over to our packing services page. We are more than happy to do it for you!