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How to pack books for relocation or storage

Posted on September 18, 2023 by Thomas Firbank Removals
How to pack books for relocation or storage

Books on a bookshelf, they just keep themselves to themselves. Making the task of packing your books seem like an easy one, in theory.  However, once they leave those shelves there are all kinds of calamities they might run into, and suddenly they take up so much space! Plus, it’s likely that your book collection boxes are going to become the heaviest to move, so it is worth getting your head around storing your books in advance. Here is our guide to packing and storing books, for the short and long term. 

Table of Contents 

  • Retaining the value of your books 
  • Packing books in boxes- an overview 
  • Packing materials 
  • What to avoid when packing books 
  • Packing books for storage 
  • Thomas Firbank – Bath’s favourite removal and storage company 

Retaining the value of your books 

When books are old and collectible, maintaining their condition is important.  Protecting spines, corners and bindings is important when packing for transportation.  Storing your books in the home away from harsh sunlight is also important. Similarly, if you are storing books in a storage container or other location, water damage or mould issues could also impede the condition of your books and degrade them tragically.  For these reasons, both packing and storing are important. 

Packing Books in Boxes – an overview

Books are heavy, so for these, you will need strong and small cardboard boxes so that these heavy boxes are easy to move and not overloaded.  Pack books flat and pad the edges with fabric and material or paper and bubble wrap to protect their edges. Use packing tape to close the boxes and label them clearly.  You will want to label them as HEAVY when it comes to moving them, and for yourself, you may want to label which books are in the box so you know which sectors of your library are where.  Place the heaviest books in first.  Professional packers can handle this part of the move, if you have a reliable removals and storage company, however you may wish to do this part yourself. 

Packing Materials 

  • Packing boxes – Corrugated cardboard offers the best protection and remember, small and sturdy will win the race. 
  • Bubble wrap – Save bubble wrap in advance for packing processes or you can buy it on the roll if you require a lot.  Bubble wrap can be ideal for cushioning the spines and corners of rare and collectible books. 
  • Brown packing tape– is the most environmentally friendly tape you can use. Important for sealing boxes and attaching inventory labels onto boxes. 
  • Newspaper, plastic wrap, cardboard wedges, t-shirts, and towels.  It is always good to have a stash of soft materials for cushioning to fill in any gaps in boxes. 
  • Labels and pens – Sharpie markers are great for labelling boxes and labels when packing.  It is worth having a few around in case any get mislaid while packing. 

All of these you can source yourself, or your removals and storage company may be able to deliver all the packing materials you will need in advance. Assessing your bookshelves in advance you can discuss with them how many boxes they think you will need for your move.  Getting all the materials you need to hand in advance is more time-efficient than having to source more materials when you are in the packing process. 

What to avoid when packing books 

Overfilling a box of books is going to make a very heavy box.  Boxes that are heavy and cumbersome and packed badly can slow the moving process down.  It’s worth filling many small boxes than it is to try to pack as many books in as few boxes as possible. 

  • Packing slowly and methodically will help you on the other side. Whether your books are changing location or heading into storage, it will always help you later if the boxes are labelled clearly. Always label your boxes so you can see on the outside what is contained on the inside. 
  • Moisture is to be avoided when packing and transporting books. Let no box of books be left out in the rain or stored where there could be dampness and condensation. 
  • Create a box of books that you are most likely to need to keep close by or out of storage, a priority box of books so that you do not need to rummage through all the boxes later looking for that one quotation or recipe. 

How to Pack Books for Storage

Packing directly for storage, you will consider if they are going into long or short-term storage. Thomas Firbank can suggest which storage option would suit you best based on your circumstances.  Again, we can handle the professional packing service for storage, but if you want to do it yourself, bear these points in mind. 

  • Assess the storage environment.  At Thomas Firbank our storage units are all completely secure and condensation-free, so we can guarantee our customers peace of mind.  If you are not using a professional storage container, you will want to be sure that your storage environment will be without water damage, dampness, and rodents over the long term. 
  • Plastic, transparent, stackable boxes are excellent for storing books for a while as they protect against moisture damage, and you can see the books through the box.  Remember to fill the gaps in the boxes with dry packing materials like bubble wrap, fabric, or paper. 
  • Pack books for storage in the same way, with the spine down, and flat. This preserves the overall form of the book and prevents any bending during transportation or storage. 
  • Avoid storing boxes directly on a concrete floor without air circulation as they will accumulate dampness from the ground and depreciate.
  • Vacuum all plastic boxes before using them to eliminate any pests or mould particles. 
  • If you are storing items longer term discuss with a professional removals and storage team your options for ensuring condensation and ventilation are addressed for your entire duration.  

Thomas Firbank – Bath’s favourite removals and storage company 

Whether you are moving, renovating, downsizing, or upsizing, our skilled team are happy to advise and assist you throughout the process. Our Man and Van service covers small moves around Bath, useful for businesses too. Our storage facilities are also used by small businesses, students, and families alike and we tailor make our packages to each situation. Check out our reviews to see why we are Bath’s favourite removals and storage company. Whether you are moving to Bath, within Bath, or here from overseas, let us be your lighthouse.  It is our mission to ensure any move you undertake is smooth and stress-free. Similarly, any of your items in our safekeeping will be protected in temperature-controlled, secure environments with CCTV, until you are ready to recreate your new bookshelf.  Make contact with our friendly team today and we can discuss options and give you a quote.