A Step-by-Step Guide to Packing Your Books While Moving

by Janna
Published: Last Updated on

I’m moving this coming weekend, which means I still have to pack up my entire apartment because I’m a huge procrastinator. I’ve decided to tackle packing my books first because 1) it’s super fun and 2) it’s the least complicated* packing I’ll do all week. I’ve moved four times in five years and I always end up packing my books up as follows.

Step 1

Sit in front of your bookshelf and admire all the beautiful books in your collection.


Step 2

Find an appropriately sized suitcase with wheels to place books in. Bemoan how heavy the suitcase will be.

Step 3

Grab five to seven books at a time based on size and pack them into the suitcase.

Step 4

See a book that you love and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why did I love this book so much? Oh yeah, that one character!
  • I can’t remember the exact passage I loved from this one. What was it again (as you leaf through the book until you find it)?
  • What was the story about again?
  • How old was I when I read this?
  • What deep, deep thoughts do I have about how much this book means to me?
  • Should I read this again for old time’s sake?
  • I don’t remember reading this. Should I give it away? (The answer to this question is always NO.)

Repeat this step too many times.

Step 5

Realize an hour has gone by and you only have 15 books in your suitcase.

Step 6

Go back to putting 5-7 books in the suitcase at once.

IMG_6820Step 7

Realize the suitcase you chose isn’t big enough on its own so find a supporting suitcase.

Step 8

Gracefully finish packing the books in the suitcase and find a way to zip it shut.

Step 9

On moving day, slowly wheel the heaviest suitcase of your life down the stairs out of your old apartment and then slowly wheel the heaviest suitcase of your life up the stairs of your new apartment.

Step 10

Unpack all your books onto the bookshelves. Live a little and make some changes to your shelving arrangements. Make sure to reserve at least one shelf for all of your favorites.

Step 11

Sit in front of your bookshelf and admire all the beautiful books in your collection.

*It turns out that taking pictures at every step of the packing process takes much longer than you originally intended, thereby making the book packing way more complicated than necessary. Oh well. I have the rest of the week to pack everything else, right?!

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Holly (2 Kids & Tired) June 14, 2016 - 3:21 pm

Love this and so accurate.

True story. When we moved from California to Idaho (11 years ago) I broke the laws of physics to get our entire house into the largest U-haul van. It was truly a feat of wonder. However, the van was so weighted down that it was impossible to drive. The reason? I had too many books. It wasn’t the furniture, it was the books. We had to get a second truck. No lie. My husband still likes to remind me about it.

Janna June 15, 2016 - 7:10 am

Haha! That is the best moving story I’ve ever heard. You can NEVER have too many books, right?!

Mel June 15, 2016 - 9:08 am

I definitely do not adhere to Step 10. I always take detailed photos with my phone of my bookshelf so that when I unpack I can make sure all the books are in the exact same places as they were before…haha. It may be a little crazy…but it’s also very comforting to have ONE THING that is exactly as you know it and you can navigate without any extra thought.

I also always pack my books in tiny little boxes that can only fit a handful, because I’m weak weak weak.

Good luck with the move!


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