Even if you use an electronic reader or tablet, you probably still own books that you’ll need to pack ahead of your move. Though a single book might feel light, it’s always surprising how just a few books can end up weighing several pounds. That’s why professional movers use book boxes that are sturdy enough to hold heavy books but small enough that they won’t be too heavy to pick up and carry. Check out these helpful tips on how to pack books.

Moving Supplies You’ll Need to Pack Your Books

  • Book boxes and a few larger boxes for coffee table books
  • Packing paper
  • Packing tape
  • Permanent black marker

Steps for Packing Books for a Move

1. Set up your packing station

Gather your packing supplies and set up a space to pack your books.

2. Organize the books and purge

There are several ways to organize your books for packing. You may want to keep certain books in particular rooms – such as packing your cookbooks with kitchen items, or children’s books with other things from your child’s bedroom. Or, you may want to go room to room and gather up all the books in your home and pack them together. Once you decide how you want to pack them, organize the books by size. Put your special books like collectors’ or first editions in a separate stack. Purge as you organize your books. You don’t want to pay the extra moving weight for books that have no use in your new place.

3. Prepare the moving box

Reinforce the bottom seam of the box with two layers of overlapping packing tape. Also, seal the bottom perpendicular seams for extra strength. Fill the bottom of the box with a layer of crushed packing paper.

4. Wrap your special books in packing paper

Your more valuable books require some extra TLC. Lay each book on a stack of packing paper and wrap it as you would a gift package. Use tape to secure the paper.

5. Choose a method for packing your books

You can pack books using either of the following methods:

  • Side-by-side: Stack the books in the box side by side as if you were placing them on a shelf. Place the first row with the spines facing inward and the second row with the spines touching the spines of the first row.
  • Flat: You can also safely pack books flat with the spines facing inward.

Fill the empty spaces and the top of the box with crumpled packing paper.

6. Pack your oversized books

Coffee table books and collectors’ editions are more challenging to pack. Use a larger box if your oversize books won’t fit in a typical book box. However, keep an eye on the box’s weight since even a few oversize books can make a moving box extremely heavy.

  • Wrap oversized books with several layers of packing paper. Secure the edges of the paper with tape.
  • Lay the wrapped book flat on the crumpled paper.
  • Layer three to five more wrapped books on the first, but no more than five.
  • Fill the remainder of the box with lightweight, cushioning items like throw pillows or an afghan.

7. Seal and label each box

Tape the box closed and label the contents and the destination room (maybe some will go in a den, some will go in a master bedroom, and so forth).