During the stressful and chaotic process of moving house, packing books isn’t typically put on the high-priority list of things to get done. It’s understandable. Packing books, after all, is much easier than packing, say, a kitchen that is full of breakable items. But while books require a less tedious packing process than some other belongings, you don’t just want to throw them in a box and hope for the best. Instead, you need to know the basic principles and safety rules of packing them to ensure they make it to your new home unharmed. To prevent damage to your favorite reads and to prolong their shelf life, here are some simple steps to follow when packing your book collection.
Step 1: Sort.
A handful of books may not seem like much weight. But the more books you cram into a box, the heavier the load will become. The number one problem people make when packing books for a move is putting too many in one box. This can cause many problems on moving day, such as personal injury or a box breaking. The biggest problem, though, is this: The final price of your move is based on the total weight of your shipment. This means that the heavier your boxes are, the more costly your move will be.
So consider this: Do you really need to take every book you own? If you take the time to go through your book collection, you will most likely come across many that you no longer want or feel the desire to hold onto. Consider giving these books to a friend who loves to read, or donating them to a library, school or charity shop. You can also recycle any paperbacks that are too worn-out or damaged to be given away.
Step 2: Gather Supplies.
In order to pack your books, you will need to have the right packing supplies to avoid any damage during transport. Here’s what you’ll need:
Book boxes. Wimpy boxes won’t work when packing your books, so you’ll need to collect book boxes that can handle the job. Book boxes are
- Strong, because they are made out of thick cardboard.
- Small-medium in size (20” x 11” x 11”).
- Clean, dry and free of pre-existing damage.
Packing paper. Soft packing paper is a must-have supply when packing your book collection. Use it to separate rows of books arranged inside your boxes and to fill empty spots to prevent rattling during shipment.
Packing tape. Heavy boxes have an increased risk of breaking. This is why strong, high-quality packing tape is so important. You will need to use it to seal your boxes, but also to provide additional reinforcement on their bottom and sides.
Permanent marker. Be sure to use a permanent marker to label each box of books. This will make things easier when arriving at your new home.
Step 3: Pack them.
When packing your books, there are three different methods you can choose to arrange them: upright, flat and spine down. The safest method is to lie them flat in a box in stacks. If you choose this method, be sure to place heavier books on the bottom and lighter ones on top. When you have sorted through your book collection and have collected the necessary packing supplies, you can finally take the steps to pack them.
- Individually wrap any valuable books you have in soft packing paper.
- Line the bottom of your boxes with packing paper to further insulate it. This will provide them with extra protection during the move.
- Don’t arrange books too tightly. This could cause damage to covers and pages.
- Don’t let the pages or covers of different books directly touch each other. To do this, pack one row of books then place a couple of sheets of packing paper over them. Then pack the next row of books.
- Fill any large gaps inside your boxes with crumpled pieces of packing paper to eliminate movement.
- Place a final sheet of packing paper on the very top of your books. Then close the lid and secure it with tape.
- Label your box with a permanent marker.
Safety Rules to Remember
The key to packing books is taking the necessary safety measures to pack and ship them. Avoiding any of the basic rules listed below when packing your books can result in damage.
- Keep the weight of a single book-filled box under 40 pounds.
- Use small- to medium-sized boxes.
- Double tape the seams of your book boxes – even containers that are new.
- Place the heaviest books on the bottom of each box.
- Use extra care when packing books of value by wrapping them in soft packing paper. You may also want to transport books of high value (first-edition collections, etc.) yourself to ensure they are handled with utmost care.
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