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How To Pack & Move Books Properly


Let’s not beat around the bush: books are heavy and awkward to move. Getting 60 or 100 books to a new address is a daunting task for moving, but it can also be one of the most satisfying – there’s nothing like reorganizing your prized book collection in a fresh new space, and there’s something about unpacking your books that can make a new house feel like home quickly.


When you move as much as the staff at Action Movers, you pick up a thing or two about moving awkward and heavy things. We’ve developed some company strategies for clients who house and maintain epic libraries in their homes, and while we can’t be held responsible for unpacking in accordance with the Dewey Decimal system, we can absolutely be trusted to share some tricks of the moving trade.

In this post, we’ll teach you how to pack and move your books properly.

Makes Cuts to Your Library

Moving can often provide excellent motivation to rid your home of clutter; maybe the garage, the living room, your kids toy bins, etc. The bookshelf is no exception. If you know you have a move coming up in the next month or two, take some time after work each day to comb through the titles on your shelf. Culling your collection may be tough to do, but it can also be cleansing – just like getting rid of a bag of clothes you haven’t worn since high school.

Ask yourself if you need to haul that paperback copy of The Notebook to your new house, or if the Microsoft Windows ‘95 for Dummies textbook is worth the grunt work. You’ll probably find many of your books are just taking up space, and adding weight to your move.

Consider donating your expendable books to your local library, an adult learning centre, school, or to family or friends who may have interest in helping recycle some stories. Take a photo of the titles you’re planning to donate, and then put them up for free on your various social media channels, as well – you’d be surprised who takes you up on a few free books.

Use Small Boxes

Work smarter, not harder, they say. Books are literally and figuratively paperweights, in that they’re made solely of paper, and they can weigh a ton in copious amounts. This means that packing and organizing the books that are coming with you to the new address should be packed with moving in mind. Pack your books in small boxes – there’s no way that moving three or four cardboard boxes weighing a combined 1000 pounds is sustainable for your family and friends helping you move, or your team of professional movers.

Smaller boxes will make moving a large amount of books an easily digestible feat, and you can pick up small boxes from a variety of places for free, or for little. Try the local liquor or wine shop, who may have alcohol boxes set aside from a recent shipment. These boxes are designed to transport 10-12 bottles of vino, so they’ll withstand the weight of your library collection. Another option is banana boxes from the local grocery store. Banana boxes are built to hold a solid 50 pounds of produce from a tropical country all the way up to Canada – they can handle the weight of moving your books across town.

Many hardware stores or contractor supply stores also sell boxes in a variety of sizes – 16” x 12” x 12” is a reasonable size to top out at.

Pack and Label Early

Like any piece of furniture, clothing, vinyl collections, or kitchen dishes, books require creative and smart packing solutions. As a general moving tip that bares weight everywhere, utilize what you have to make moving as simple, and as accommodating as humanly possible. This can mean using your wheeled luggage, suitcases, and backpacks to transport your books – boxes filled with your clothes alternatively, are much lighter and easier to move.

The same creativity tip is useful for labelling and organizing your book moving as well. Label and pack your books according to what shelf they came off (if that type of thing matters to you) and even take packing up as an opportunity to creatively and strategically organize in terms of genre, read and unread titles, or rooms – you may find that by organizing your cooking books with the living room selection, and the office selection makes for easier and smarter packing.


Whatever size library you’re currently housing, know that books are one of the more valuable assets in your home. They deserve proper care when moving.

Books are funny  things – they’re capable of transporting us to other worlds and realms, while it can prove difficult for us to move them down a simple flight of stairs. And yet, they’re irreplaceable momentos of nostalgic memory, sacred family heirlooms, and generational connectors that unite families, ideologies, and spread wisdom, knowledge, and joy.