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How to Pack Books When Moving House

Martha Lott
Written by Martha Lott
11th September 2018

Your books will be one of the heaviest items to pack when it comes to moving house. Many of us will underestimate the importance of packing books correctly by not over filling the box. Poorly stacked books will lead to dented spines, torn pages and potentially water damage to your collection.

People often misjudge the consequences that could come from not packing your books safely, especially if you have any special editions and valuable books. A bit of tissue paper, bubble wrap and small cardboard boxes is all you need to ensure no damage is done to your beloved book collection.

House removal experts Compare My Move have put together this ultimate guide with everything you need to know about packing every type of book, from the best method to pack antique books to the suitcase trick.

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This article will cover the following points

Tips For Packing Books How to Pack Different Books Paperback Books Hardback Books Fragile Books Antique Books Storing Books

Tips For Packing Books

We’ve created a step by step guide on packing your books for moving house. These 6 steps should be taken before you start to pack your books away to prevent any kind of damage to your favourite collection.

how to pack books


1. Declutter

Before starting to pack your books in to the boxes, you must first sort through them and decide which books you want to bring with you and which ones to donate. This way, you won’t have to carry your whole collection and you’ll be donating to a good cause along the way. Decluttering before moving house is beneficial to do with all of your personal belongings, not just with your books.

2. Categorise

After you’ve chosen the books that will be coming with you to the new house and which ones are going to the charity shop, you should then categorise them. Get together separate piles of the different types of book, such as paperback, hardback, antique books, fragile books and books you’re going to put in storage.  

3. Use Small Boxes

Many people will make the mistake of packing all their books in to one big cardboard box. By doing this, the box is going to be extremely heavy to carry and more than likely will break, damaging your books. Instead, spread the weight of your books over a few small to medium sized boxes, the books will slot neatly in and be much easier to lift.

4. Prepare the Boxes

You’ll want to prepare your boxes efficiently to maximise the safety of your books, especially if you have any valuable or sentimental ones. Firstly, get together a few small to medium sized boxes for packing your books. Place tissue paper along the bottom of the box to act as a protective layer to the spines of the books. Make sure you have plenty of protective materials on hand such as bubble wrap and tissue paper to fill any gaps and prevent damage.

5. Pack Books in a Suitcase

Using a suitcase with wheels to transport books will relieve any heavy lifting as you can drag the weight of the books. By packing your books into a suitcase, you’re not only making it easier to transport, but you’d be taking the suitcase with you anyway. You should pack the heaviest books in the suitcase to spread the weight out.

6. Get Creative

An item like a laundry basket or a hamper/picnic basket can double up as a crate to carry your books. You won’t have to worry about the bottom of it breaking like you would with a cardboard box. This is also a fun alternative to help get everyone involved in the packing, if you’re moving house with children.

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How to Pack Different Books

There’s a variety of different type of books that all require specific treatment when it comes to packing for moving house. You should always pack the same type of book together, so all of your antique and valuable books are together in the box throughout the move.

We’ve put together the ultimate guide on packing specific books, so you know exactly how to pack each type of book to prevent torn pages and damage to the covers.

How to Pack Paperback Books

  1. Pack the books spine down and the pages facing outwards to prevent ripped pages.
  2. Don’t fill the boxes, carry the weight over a few boxes.
  3. Fill in any gaps and the top of the books with tissue paper.
  4. Once you’ve packed the books, cover the top with bubble wrap and tissue paper and tape the box shut.
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How to Pack Hardback Books

  1. Line the box with paper or tissue to stop damage to the spine.
  2. As hardback books are the heaviest, pack them in a few smaller boxes instead of one big one.
  3. If you’re packing two layers of books, pack the heaviest books at the bottom.
  4. Add in packs of silica gel on top to absorb any moisture that could damage the books.

How to Pack Fragile Books

  1. Wrap any extremely fragile books in paper before packing for extra protection.
  2. Place pieces of cardboard between each book to prevent damage.
  3. Once stacked, cover the top of the books with bubble wrap and seal the box with tape.
  4. Label the box with a fragile label to make the removal company aware.

How to Pack Antique Books

  1. Don’t touch the books with any food or drink grease that could be on your hands.
  2. Wrap your valuable or first edition books in tissue and extra bubble wrap to prevent any torn pages.
  3. Don’t over pack the box, keep some space between the books to prevent damage to the covers.
  4. Try not to expose the books or box of books to light during the move.
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How to Pack Books for Storage

  1. Make sure the books are clean and free of any dirt before they go in storage.
  2. Keep the same books together, for example all hardback books in the same box.
  3. If you’re storing old or fragile books for a long time, use acid-free tissue and boxes to avoid decay.
  4. Keep the books in storage off the ground to avoid moisture and any leaks damaging them.

Save on Your Home Removal Costs

Now that you've sorted through and packed your books for moving house, you should sort out your home removal. Compare My Move will help you get connected with up to 6 professional removal companies in your area, saving you up to 70% off the cost along the way.