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How to Pack Books for Moving

If you’re a student, a teacher or a book lover of any kind, there will be many occasions when you’ll need to know how to pack books for safe transit or storage. Whether you’re moving classrooms, moving library collections, moving home or moving into student accommodation, book storage and packing can pose a bit of a challenge, especially if you have lots of them.

Thanks to their regular shape and robust nature, books are relatively easy to pack. However, they are heavy and should only be moved in small batches to keep both them, and your back, in good condition.

A removal service or student moving company may offer a packing service and some space saving book storage, but if you are a true bibliophile or a bit strapped for cash, you’ll want to figure out how to pack books for yourself.

From space saving book storage to moving a library

As with all good projects, preparation is a very important part of how to pack books for moving.

  • Get hold of some strong cardboard boxes or plastic crates. These shouldn’t be too big as too many books in one box will be difficult to lift, especially if the books are hardbacked. Always keep Health & Safety in mind whether at work or home. phs Teacrate’s compact Personal Crate or easy-to-handle Stair Carry Crate are of manageable dimensions.
  • Don’t use second-hand cardboard boxes. These may be weakened from prior use and may also be tainted with previous contents. This may cause your books to smell or be stained.
  • Student moving services will tell you to only take the books you need. University storage facilities and college rooms are notoriously compact and you’ll have to get really creative finding storage ideas for small rooms, without having to find homes for all of your treasured books. Leave the at home for now and enjoy them during the mid-term holidays.
  • Re-home books that you’ll never read again. Sometimes you have to be ruthless when moving classrooms or leaving for a new home, especially if book storage is lacking at your new destination. Donate books to charity, educational support services, hospitals, nursing homes or libraries. Sell any valuable books that won’t fit into your new book storage solutions, and those that you have particularly liked can be gifted to friends or relatives.
  • Before packing, make sure each book storage box or crate is dry, clean, and damage-free. Don’t fall at the first hurdle, damaging books by placing them into damp or rough containers. Crates bought or hired from phs Teacrate will always arrive clean, dry and ready for the job, with no cracks or sharp edges to damage you or the books.
  • If using cardboard boxes, make sure to reinforce the bottom of each box with packaging tape. As we’ve already mentioned, moving library collections and books is heavy work and you won’t want the cardboard box to collapse under the weight. Plastic crates can be used without the worry of giving way. This makes crates excellent long-term classroom paper storage or university storage ideas for small rooms.
  • Line the boxes or crates with tissue paper or packing paper before placing books within, to provide a little insulation and protection. Grab a pen and label each box with its contents and destination.
  • Wrap sentimental or valuable books in soft, acid-free tissue paper which will better preserve the covers. This will also stop them jostling against other books while in transit.

Book storage solutions, easily handled

Now you’re ready to load your boxes or crates. Here are our top tips on how to pack books for moving into library storage, for school relocation or to a new home:

  • Load your largest, heaviest books first to prevent more delicate items being squashed.
  • Pick a technique and stick with it. Flat, upright or spines down, whichever helps you to pack books quickest. DON’T pack books with their spines facing towards the top of the box as this is likely to damage the bindings if they are pushed down.
  • Place a few sheets of packing paper between rows of books to prevent pages of one book getting trapped among pages of another and fill spaces with more packing paper or bubble wrap. Don’t be tempted to squash books in too tightly as they may be damaged when unpacking.
  • Do not overfill. Heavy boxes or crates mean that the books contained therein are probably squashed and in the process of being crushed or bent. Lighter boxes are also quicker and easier to handle.
  • Use plenty of tape on the bottom and seams of cardboard boxes but, if the boxes are being used for transport only or very short-term storage, be sparing at the top. After all, you’re going to have to get back into the boxes to unload them – tape or no tape.
  • Label destination building/corridor/room and contents of your home or classroom book storage so you won’t have to go hunting for boxes and crates or rifling through them to discover the contents.
  • Save your back by using a truck or skate to move packed book storage boxes. If you’re moving library books a short distance or within the same building, library trolleys could provide a perfect temporary home.

Don’t forget to re-use or recycle cardboard boxes once you’ve finished moving library collections or finished your school relocation. If you’ve hired crates from phs Teacrate, simply call us to collect from wherever the crates may be. Or you could recruit the crates for a long-term role as novel classroom storage ideas and space saving book storage. Crates are also perfect for university storage if kept neatly nested until it’s time to remember how to pack books for moving home again at the end of term…  

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