How to pack books for moving

Don’t let your home library get ruined whilst moving house. In just 8 steps, we’ll show you how to protect all your books.

By Sam Smith

May 25th 2023

Packing boxes for moving comes with one major challenge: if you have a lot of books, they are very heavy. Some books are also delicate, and it’s also easy to break the spine on hardback books if they aren’t handled carefully. Even a bent cover or bent pages can be annoying!

You’ll also need to pack books properly to ensure they don’t get damp during the move – not only does moisture ruin the pages, it doesn’t smell great either.

Here’s a quick overview of how to pack books for moving:

  1. Go through your books to see if there are any books you could sell or donate to your local charity shop
  2. Sort your books into similar sizes
  3. Securely tape the bottom of each box with packing tape
  4. Line the bottom of your boxes with packing paper
  5. Put books in your boxes, starting with the heaviest books at the bottom
  6. Fill in any gaps in your boxes with protective packaging
  7. Seal your boxes securely
  8. Clearly label the boxes 

Equipment & supplies you need to pack books for moving house

It’s really important to use the right equipment to pack your books – flimsy boxes or plastic bags aren’t going to cut it. Here’s what you need when it comes to properly packing your books for moving:

  • Smallish cardboard book boxes for moving – don’t overfill them or make them too heavy to carry. Try not to go above 15kg in weight per box
  • Strong packing paper to line your boxes, especially at the bottom, to add an extra layer of strength
  • Package filler, such as packing peanuts, to fill in any gaps in your boxes and prevent your books sliding around
  • Packaging tape to seal your boxes securely – make sure it’s strong
  • A marker pen to label your boxes

A step-by-step guide to packing books for moving

Once you have all the supplies you need to pack up your books, here’s what you need to do:

1. Sell or donate books you don’t want

Before any book goes in any box, go through your collection to see if there are any books you could sell or donate to your local charity shop. Some tips also take books, too. Streamlining your collection will mean you won’t have quite so many books to pack…

2. Sort your books by size

Once you have your core collection ready, sort your books into similar sizes (this will help when it comes to putting them in boxes).

3. Tape the bottom of the box

Securely tape the bottom of your first box with packing tape – double layering is best as it provides extra strength.

4. Line the bottom of the box with packaging paper

We recommend using  a couple of layers of strong packing paper to add strength. You could also use bubble wrap for this.

5. Pack the heaviest books first

Now you’re ready to put books in your box. They’re already sorted into similar sizes, now you need to start with the heaviest books at the bottom. When the box is full, you should be able to comfortably carry it – don’t go over around 15kg in weight per box. There are a few ways you can pack books:

    • Flat, on their backs
    • Standing upright with their spines against the sides of the box
    • With their spines on the bottom of the box

Most people pack them flat as you can put them one on top of the other without feeling liked you’re going to damage the spines.

6. Fill any gaps

Use protective packaging materials such as packing peanuts and filler paper.

7. Seal your box securely

This helps prevent moisture getting into the box and ruining your books (but if it does, here’s how to repair them).

8. Label the box

Write the name of the room the box will be going into in your new home. 


When you’re in your new home, you might want to unpack your books first, especially if you have a lot of them. While you don’t really need them so they’re not important to unpack first in the same way the kettle might be, it will free up a lot of space so you can more comfortably unpack everything else.

Protect your book collection with SmithPackaging

Hauling books during a house move is a hefty process. The last thing you want is wet and damaged books. Our moving boxes are super strong and have handles to make lifting easier. Order today and start packing tomorrow.

Moving House?

It’s one of the most stressful events of our lives. You’ll stare at your belongings and wonder what you’re going to do with it all. Do you just throw it all away and start again?

That’s why we’ve created a complete moving house guide for you.

It comes with a printable checklist to help you ever step of the way.

The Ultimate Moving House Guide.