How to Move Books Easily and Safely

If you’ve got a home library, or even a decent-sized collection of books, you’ll find that they can be a real hassle to move. You may have a few treasured books that need some extra protection, but the real problem is weight—a box full of books is no fun to lift and carry.

We’ll try to help you deal with both of those challenges!

1. Lighten That Load

Like any part of the moving process, it’s important to get serious about what you don’t want to move.

Books are one of the best opportunities: They weigh a lot, they’re usually cheap to replace (even free if you don’t mind a visit to the library), it’s easy to figure out which ones you aren’t likely to read again, and there are a lot of opportunities to pass them on to somebody else who can use them.

You can donate extra books to Goodwill or Savers, and even sell more valuable items online at websites like Powell’s or BookScouter.

Plus, here in the Minneapolis area we also have plenty of Little Free Libraries around the city, so you can have some fun giving directly back to your community—just make sure not to pick up too many new books while you’re at it!

They're heavy with knowledge, but they're also heavy with weight. Image Credit: Flickr
They’re heavy with knowledge, but they’re also heavy with weight.
Image Credit: Flickr

2. Sort Before You Pack

Once you’ve got a big pile of the books you want to keep, it can help to sort them according to size. This well help a lot during the packing step.

3. Distribute the Weight

Now that you’ve got the books sorted, here’s the trick that will help you deal with that weight problem: Instead of putting all your books into the same boxes, look for extra spaces in other boxes and fill them with books.

A box holding holiday lights or DVDs won’t weigh much, so go ahead and fill half of the box with those items and the other half with books. Since you’ve sorted your books by size, it should be easy to find the right books to fill the right spaces.

Whether you’re splitting your books or putting them all in one heavy box, make sure the box is tough enough to handle the weight.

4. Extra Protection

If you do have especially valuable books, or just books you love so much you want to keep them in perfect condition, you can take some extra steps.

For hardcover books, you can load them into a box the same way you’d put them on a shelf: standing upright in a row. This will keep them stable, but don’t pack them too tightly. For more valuable books, it may be worth wrapping them in brown paper to avoid any scuffing.

For paperbacks, cut a piece of cardboard about the size of the book and place it against the back of the book. Then wrap the book and cardboard in bubble wrap. This will keep the book safe from scratches and prevent it from bending.

For any books, make sure to never pack them with the spines facing up, as this can cause the spines to bend and warp. Any extra spaces in boxes can be filled with crumpled paper to prevent the books from shifting—just don’t use newspaper, as the ink can rub off and damage the books.


Thanks for reading our tips, and if you need some help shifting those boxes, give the College Muscle Movers a call—we’ll take care of it, no matter how heavy those books are!