Packing and Storing Books

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 190 Posts

Contents label on box of books.I have moved a number of times and have found through experience that when moving my many books it is best to use a smaller box, when possible. A good choice for me is one that is 1 foot square. This will require the use of more boxes, but has saved my back and the consistent size makes stacking easier.


Similarly, I currently have a small house and can not have all of my books out on shelves. When I recently packed up some boxes with books that I had read I added a printed contents label to the outside. Now it is easier to find a specific book when I want to share it with a friend.

Bookshelf piled with books.

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March 13, 20132 found this helpful

What a great idea. I have many, many books and have a lot of them stored on bookshelves in the basement, but I recently found four more boxes of books that had been hidden behind some other things. I have absolutely no room on the bookshelves, but I do have lots of boxes and many huge shelves to put them on. I have been agonizing over what to do with the books I found, since they are ones I want to keep.


Now I know what I will do with them. I will take your advice, put them in smaller boxes and put the names and authors of the books on the outside of the boxes. That way I can always find what I want, since I will keep them all together on one of the shelves.

Thank you so much for solving my problem. (I am an English Major with a degree in writing and books are so precious to me. I have managed to cull my collection down, but I cannot bear to part with these books that I had thought were lost forever.) Thank you again for your suggestion!

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March 13, 20131 found this helpful

The last time I moved I asked the grocery store to save the egg boxes for me. These boxes are not only smallish but have little handle holes in the sides.


I like your idea about listing the inventory on the side!

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March 14, 20131 found this helpful

I usually pack my books in numerous boxes, wrapped in clothes, sheets, blankets, towels, stuffed animals, pillows, etc. I also use the towels and clothes as padding between the dishes. I know you're supposed to pack things from the same room in the same box, but it just works out better this way for me.

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March 18, 20131 found this helpful

My friends and I have quit loaning books to friends and family because we never get them back. I have a sister that borrowed a book from me about 10 years ago, that she still has. I asked her one time if she knew where it was because somebody else wanted to borrow it. She replied she knew where it was, but hadn't read it yet because she hadn't been able to get interested in it. We live about 200 miles apart so it isn't a matter of me being able to run over and ask for it, and I don't have a car.


I don't even care if I get it back anymore, but if I had it I would probably donate to the library or senior center library. I guess I am more surprised that my sister would do this, considering the relationship, and the fact that she is an ultra conservative Christian.

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March 9, 20180 found this helpful

Why dont u ask her to mail it using MEDIA RATE on the postage. It is cheapest way to do so. Not sure what conservative Christian has to do with it

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April 19, 20210 found this helpful

i thinks it means as a christian she should be concientious and honest.i too have lost books this way.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
April 19, 20210 found this helpful

Over the years, I have come to the realization that you should never loan a book that you don't mind losing forever. Libraries will order nearly any book for their community and it's easy to buy used books online. If you think that it is a particularly good fit, gift them another copy or just buy a new one for yourself.


Then there are no hard feelings or resentments if you don't get it back or (almost worst), it comes back in terrible condition.

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October 7, 20180 found this helpful

Oh thank you.
I am moving in the next few weeks and have been trying to figure out what to do with all of them.
This is going to solve my problems.

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October 7, 20181 found this helpful

I found it difficult to shelve books on book cases, since the book cases are so deep, I always end up shelving two rows of books, with the front row hiding the books on the row behind it. I discovered a way around this by purchasing media cabinets intended for storing DVDs.


They are shallower, the shelves have adjustable height, and I can fit more of them in my house, so now my books are all visible on the shelf. The media cabinets are so much more efficient in use of space, and less costly than book cases anyway.

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April 18, 20210 found this helpful

We book people always find methods to deal with volumes that don't fit on the shelves. Here are some variations I've found helpful:
1) I quite agree with smaller boxes- much easier to deal with! I've found liquor boxes (often fairly uniform in size) can be had free by checking with local stores that sell spirits and wine.
2) I've saved a lot of heartache (not to mention mildew and musty odors) by using a few small packets of desiccant in each tightly-packed box. The type that come with new shoes can be had by asking at shoe stores (they usually just toss 'em), but I have found that purchasing a bag of 100% silica gel cat litter (a few brands feature this) allows be to make my own larger sachets but wrapping the granules in dollar store basket-style coffee filters and taping them shut. These keep books dry for years, can be "recharged" by allowing them to dry on a hot sunny day, and reused for books or any other items that might be prone to moisture damage.
3) Finally, I use an alternative to the "inventory/contents label" written and pasted to the box. I use my phone to snap pictures of the books as I load them one layer at a time. I number the boxes of books, make a file that includes the box location AND related digital pics for each box, load them in a larger household inventory file, and I can quickly find a particular book by scanning the box contents from my laptop. It's worked like a charm.
4) One more thing: as a lifelong learner, with 40 years of teaching advanced lit and history courses, my books have been invaluable and well-loved tools. Having said that, I've come to that place in my life when I need to pass along many belongings, including books. I'm retired (third time's the charm, eh?), and if I ever teach a particular course again (less likely as time rolls on), the few precious books I'll keep, decades of digital resources saved on a hard drive, and the amazing riches of legit online sources will keep me from missing most of my books. I've loved books all my life, but I won't leave a random pile of them for my children to haul to the Goodwill or recycling bin. I need to find them good homes myself rather that store them- even safely and efficiently!- in my basement.

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April 22, 20210 found this helpful

I'm older&helped a friend of mine move from an apartment more than once. She had a big collection of books. I found the easiest way was to use the small vinyl/cloth bags stores sell. Books were put in spines up. Held several + fast to grab handles, a bag in each hand to load or unload.

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April 22, 20210 found this helpful

I'm older and have helped a friend of mine move from an apartment more than once. I found the easiest way was to pack the books spine up side by side in small vinyl/fabric shopping bags the stores sell. Easy to carry one in each hand for loading & view titles for organizing later.

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