How to pack books for moving

How to pack books for moving

Learn how to pack books for moving 

What you will need to pack books properly

  • Correct size moving box
  • Unprinted paper or bubble wrap
  • Tape
  • Marker
  • Packet of Silica 

We know that more and more people are reading their books with kindles these days but we we also know that a lot of people still have a great book collection that they will want to have packed and transported safely when they move.  Here at the Guru of Moving we will not only give you a quick guide on how to pack books for moving but also a step by step guide on how to pack books for moving. These guides will help to ensure all your books arrive in perfect condition. If you decide that you do not want to move all your books, also check out our post on where to donate books when moving.

Quick guide on packing books for moving – 

  1. Use the right size box.
  2. Line the bottom of the box with paper.
  3. Stand books upright
  4. Use unprinted paper to fill in any gaps
  5. Close the box and tape in securely.
  6. Label the box.


Step by step guide on how to pack books for moving – 

Use the right size box

When packing your books for moving, the boxes can get extremely heavy especially when the wrong size boxes are used. If you want to make your life easier and also keep your movers happy we recommend using a box no bigger than a standard book box which is 1.5 cubic feet and measures 17”x12 3/8”x 12 3/8”.  We recommend these book boxes.  As book boxes do get heavy it is important to make sure that the boxes are properly tape. If you are not sure how to do this check out the video on How to tape a moving box.

Line the bottom of your box with paper

Take 8 – 12 sheets of unprinted paper, crumple each one into a ball and use them to line the bottom of your box. Doing this will help provide a soft base for your books to help protect them but will also act as a layer of protection should you box be placed on damp ground.

Decide on your technique for packing books.

Below are the 3 recommended techniques for packing books for moving.

  1. Upright / Standing – This is typically the most recommended technique for packing books for moving.  This is the way you would usually see books neatly arranged on bookshelves.  To pack books this way face pages to the outside of the box with the spine facing inward, for the second row, repeat this but have spines touching and pages facing the other outside wall, if you have room for a few more books, separate the books with more crushed paper.
  2. Pack the books flat – Place your books flat along the bottom of the box.  Place pages towards the wall and have the spines touching each other. When one layer has been completed, place a layer of crushed paper on top and keep repeating this until the box is full.
  3. Spin down – This way is a perfectly acceptable way but you will not be able to fit as many books in the box. If you are going to add another layer on top be sure to separate each layer with paper as with this method there is an increased risk of damaging the pages due to the fact that the pages are facing upwards.

Leave some space at the top of the box

We recommend not packing your boxes all the way to the top and instead leaving around 6 inches of space at the top for extra packing material. Grab some more crushed paper and use it to fill the box to the top. This will help to give an extra level of protection to your books. Lastly we recommend placing a packet of silica in each book if you do not plan on opening the box within the next few weeks. This will help to absorb any water vapor and also help to limit the growth of any mould.

Check, Tape and Label your box

The final step is to to check, tape and label your boxes. Tape the box when you are completely happy using the same technique outlined above. Lastly label each box with a sharpie, listing the contents of each box and what room you would like them to go to in your new home.

Additional tips for packing books for moving – 

  • Expensive books or books with sentimental value should be individually wrapped with paper before packing. They should also be separated with cardboard to ensure that the spines remain straight during transit and side-to-side friction does not damage the cover.
  • Place larger or heavier books at the bottom as this will help to ensure the smaller, lighter books remain intact.
  • Only pack books that you really want to keep.  As books tend to be heavy and most moving companies will charge by the weight it is a great idea to only pack the books that you actually want to keep, and it will also save you money.
  • Donate unwanted books. We like to donate to our local charity Children’s Book Project but or a full list of ideas of where to donate your unwanted books check out where to donate your books when moving