How to Pack Books for Moving

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Packing and moving books seems like an easy task, but there is definitely a right way to get the job done. By properly packing and labeling your books, you can help prevent damage to them during your move. United Van Lines has over 90 years of professional moving and packing experience. Use our expert tips on packing up your book collection in preparation for your move. 

What You’ll Need to Pack Your Books

Whether you are moving to an apartment in a nearby state or to a five-bedroom house across the country, packing your books is the same in any type of move. If you would prefer not to pack your books yourself (or anything else for that matter), America’s #1 Mover ®, United has packing, unpacking and more services for you to choose from to make your move as stress-free as possible. Our packers are here to help!

Here is a list of materials that will help you pack your books correctly.  

  • Small, sturdy cardboard boxes 
  • Packing tape (avoid using masking tape) 
  • Cushioning materials such as newsprint, packing paper or bubble wrap 
  • Permanent marker for labeling 

United’s Step-by-Step Instructions for Packing Books

Step 1: Find the Right Size Boxes

Pack books in small, sturdy boxes that distribute weight evenly, making it easier to transport your collection. If you only have large moving boxes, don’t fill them completely. Use packing paper, towels, clothes or blankets to fill any empty space.  

Step 2: Secure the Bottom of the Box

Use a double layer of packing tape to secure the bottom seam of each box. Packing tape layered around the box’s seams and edges not only adds support, but it also lets you pack more books into your box. 

Step 3: Use Newsprint Paper as Lining

Line the bottom and sides of the box with newsprint to give an extra layer of protection to your book covers during the move. 

Step 4: Organize Books by Size

Sort your books by size and alternate books with the bound edge up/down to make them easier to place in the box when you pack. This also prevents damage to your books during the move, since similar-sized books can be tightly packed.  

Step 5: Pack the Box

Place books on their edges in the box, alternating bound edges. Hardcover or heavy books should be packed in the box first to prevent damage to lighter or paperback books. (See video: How to Pack Books) 

Step 6: Fill in the Gaps

Crumple or ball-up packing paper, clothes, towels or similar soft items to fill in gaps between the books and box sides. This helps prevent books from shifting around in the box and getting damaged during the move.   

Step 7: Secure the Top of the Box

Use multiple layers of packing tape to close and seal the box. An unsealed box of books can easily open, causing books to fall out and become damaged. 

 Step 8: Label the Box

Use a dark, permanent marker to label the sides of your book boxes with their contents. 

United Van Lines Expert Tips for Packing Your Books

Wrap Your Rare Collections Separately

Wrap rare or collectible books individually using packing paper or bubble wrap. Acid-free paper is ideal since it helps prevent pages from yellowing. If your books are very rare or of high sentimental value, consider taking them with you in your car on moving day. Also check your moving company’s policies and special coverages for high-value items.  

Pack with Care: Separate Your Books to Prevent Damage

To protect a book’s delicate dust jacket, place pieces of cardboard in between each book cover to prevent them from becoming creased or damaged during the move. 

Use Your Suitcase

A suitcase with wheels is an excellent way to transport the heaviest hardcover books in your book collection. If your suitcase has interior straps use them to secure the books in place. 

Donate or Sell Some of Your Books

If you decide there are some books you do not want to pack, consider these options for how to move your books along without having to move them yourself: 

  • Donate to a school 
  • Donate to a charity 
  • Donate to a library 
  • Pass along to friends, family or neighbors 
  • Sell online or to a used bookstore 

In some states, book donations to charities, libraries or even non-profit school PTO/PTA groups are tax deductible. Check with your tax advisor about your specific state tax laws for tax deduction information. 

Packing Books for Long-Distance or Small Moves

Whether you are moving to an apartment in a nearby state or to a five-bedroom house across the country, packing your books takes time and effort to do correctly. If you would prefer not to pack your books yourself (or anything else for that matter), America’s #1 Mover®, United Van Lines, has packing, unpacking and other moving services to make your move as stress-free as possible.  

Moving More Than Just Books? Get Moving with United Van Lines

Complete your move with ease with United Van Lines’ professional moving services .With millions of customers moved, an exceptional rating and hundreds of locations, United is a full-service moving company you can trust with your most valuable possessions 

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