Packing books – it’s easy, right? Put books into a cardboard box, seal the box, job done. Well in fact, it’s a bit more delicate than that. And doing it right can make a huge difference to the speed and safety of your move while also preserving the condition of your precious literature. Yet while we toil over the finer details of moving fragile good such as glassware and crockery, quite rightly protecting each item with wrapping paper, books get short shrift, sometimes tossed carelessly around with little thought or consideration. This leads to all sorts of problems, not least of which are torn pages and damaged spines. And it’s not just the spine of a book that’s at risk – if you pack books without at least a little planning, you could end up with boxes so heavy, you do your own spine an injury.
Begin, of course, with sturdy cardboard boxes (use the Aussie Packing Shop for good quality ones), choosing small ones (depth about 15 inches). The smaller a box, the heavier the goods it can contain and books are cumulatively much weightier than we often realise. Have masking or packing tape to hand, along with either newspaper or discarded rags, both of which can be used for padding and filling up empty space within the boxes.
If you have hardbacks with slip-on dust covers, you can ensure they stay in good condition by lining your boxes with tissue or packing paper before you get started. Then it’s a case of biggest and heaviest books going in first. They should be packed flat rather than upright, and you should aim for two to three layers of books per box. Under-fill rather than over-fill your boxes – if there’s a space of a few centimetres at the top, that’s fine. Now you can stabilise the books, using the newspaper or rags (ie discards such as material from old towels, bed linen etc), using up all the empty space in each box.
Be generous with your masking tape when it’s time to seal each box – doubling-up is a good idea, making sure you’ve gone round the box twice for extra-good sealing. If you clearly label the boxes with ‘Books’, you and your movers will know that they are heavy containers which can go at the bottom in the van.