Survival Guide: Moving 100s of Books Without an Emotional Breakdown

August 15, 2016 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Books, Chatterbox, Features

Survival Guide to Moving 100s of Books

Buying a house was exciting, but soon the reality hit me about how I was going to move the hundreds of books in my house.

If you’re anything like me, the mere thought of moving your bookshelves is enough to have you internally screaming “NOOOOO!”

There was denial, hiding in bed so I didn’t have to deal with it, lots of tears, an emotional breakdown, and finally, getting my books all packed up and safely moved into the new home.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? To avoid the 5 stages of heartbreak while moving your books, here’s some tips of moving books:

  1. Ask the shopping centre, variety store, bookstores for free boxes and cheer when they pass them onto you.
  2. Get more boxes than you need, to avoid crushing heartbreak when you realise you’ve just run out of another box.
  3. Massive big boxes may seem like a good idea, but they’re not for the person trying to lift them.
  4. Make sure the boxes are shallow and sturdy. This helps to pack them in safely but also makes it easy to lift.
  5. Take pictures of your bookshelf in your old place for the very last time.
  6. Don’t pack all your hardbacks in one box, spread them out amongst your paperbacks.
  7. Pack your books in the order they’re placed on the shelf with the spines up which makes it easy to unpack later.
  8. Label your boxes so that they’re descriptive and easy to identify later – not like the below.
  9. When it all gets too hard, stop and wail on Twitter. Fellow book nerds will emphasise.
  10. Put all your ARCs/your recent TBR in one box so you can pick them out easily.
  11. Tell your pretties you will be with them soon, and pack a few for the road so you won’t be without them.
  12. Avoid the bookstore after packing your books because you never want to see a book again (temporary effects will wear off in about 10 days).
  13. Move with the help of friends/removalists/family who will constantly say “why do you have so many books?!”
  14. Enjoy your boxes of books in your new home! Congratulations, you’ve survived and you can now plan out the library of your dreams.

Hint: Ways to Not Label Your Boxes 

yabooksthroneofglass box

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Tiktok@happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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52 responses to “Survival Guide: Moving 100s of Books Without an Emotional Breakdown

  1. eleonora_lydia

    I almost had a panic attack when I started thinking of how I would move all of my books from Greece to the UK next year. It was what made me to finally make the big decision and donate all the books I wasn't going to read. And of course right after that I went and ordered new books *giggles* 😉

  2. insidejksmind

    I know the feeling. I used double lined paper bags to bring 9 bags of books to my cabin because I have nowhere left in the house :,( It's so stressful but the other option is getting rid of all the books and (for me) that is so much worse.
    My recent post July wrap-up

  3. nereyda1003

    I moved to my new house about 3 years ago and I didn't hve as many books as I do now, maybe about 500ish at the time and moving my books was the worst part! I made the mistake of packing too many books in each box which made them way too heavy to move/lift. My book room is upstairs so carrying all those books upstairs was a pain in the ass. Between my boyfriend, his friend, my dad and father in law the books were finally all safely moved upstairs. I don't ever want to move again just having to think of having to move even more books!

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

  4. Oh wow! I can't remember how it was the last time we moved, because that was ten years ago. I now have my books spread in several places… some in my home office, some in the living room and several in our place in Spain. The separation between home and vacation place has thrown me for a loop more than once, though, and I've ended up with a couple of doubles…
    I'm glad your pretties survived the move – and that you did, too! I hope you'll share some pictures of your new shelves once they're ready, Jeann 🙂
    My recent post Audioreview: The Offer – Karina Halle

  5. aentee @ read at midnight

    You deserve some kind of Olympic medal for pulling through this, Jeann. I love books, but when I think about having to ever move mine I break out in hives. But here's to a new beginning, better bookshelves, and aesthetic af backgrounds for bookstagram and booktube ;)! Thanks for all the tips, I will have to revisit this post when it's my own time to move.

    • Hehe thank you Aentee! Excited about getting those bookshelves up and running, although I've surely been dragging my feet lol. So much to deal with atm.

  6. HAHAHA.

    I asked my parents to move all my boxes for me! So all I did was pack them really. I did the thing where I put all my hardcovers in one box, and that was not a wise idea. That ended up being one of the heavier boxes. Anyways, I don't have as many books as you, and I left some at home, so I was able to unpack them in about a day or so! It was the first I unpacked though.

    Also I filled up my boxes halfway so they were light enough to carry!
    My recent post Top Ten Tuesday #88

    • That's amazing that your parents helped out! Some of my family did come over and help us move on the day which was amazing. It's good that you only filled them up halfway though. I needed all the space I could get lol.

  7. hannahplusbooks

    I love reading about other people's experiences! Moving all my books was such a headache experience. I use those really deep tubs you can get from Big W or Officeworks that are about 80L and fill them up (but not too much, because you don't want books to bend!). However I lacked the organisational skill to put my TBRs into one container, which means whenever I ask my parents (who I am using as a storage centre) for a particular book, Mum has to go digging around a bit. Woops!
    My recent post Truly, Madly, Deeply Confused About How I Feel

  8. Hah, omg. I moved my room around and had to move my bookcase which is 4 shelves literally full of triple stacked books so it was a pain already, I can't imagine doing what you did. Omg, the spines up is so useful!!!! When I moved the shelf I put all the books on my massive table and floor but I put them in small stacks so I could easily place them back on the shelf. If I had to have move them into a box I 10/10 wouldn't have put them like that hah, I would v likely put them with covers up. LOL. This guide is totally useful, I'm glad you got it all done even though it was clearly hard work and are now enjoying your books in your new home Jeann <3
    My recent post Reading Roundups | #1

    • Oh my gosh, that is a LOT of books Siiri! Yeah, spines up does actually take more space which is probably why I kept on running out but it definitely makes it easier to find books that you need! Lol thank you so much Siiri! I\’m looking forward to getting them set up in my house.

    • I think even with few books, moving a pile of them is always going to be tough lol. I had the same problem when moving from my parents place.

  9. Where was this blog post for me a year ago!? For real, this is one of the reasons I despise moving house so much. I still have a giant unpacked box of academic books from my PhD years that may never see the light of day again because I expended so much energy re-organising and re-categorising all my fiction!

    • Oh man, I know I was looking for this kind of thing when I was moving myself! Yeah, moving house is definitely not on my top ten list of fun things to do.

  10. I m oved houses a few years ago and I can still remember the agony of packing all my books. We had a lot fo boxes, so that wasn't a problem. i actually only packed half of my boxes with books and then put lighter stuff like clothes on top, so I would still be able to carry the boxes. I often grouped books by author if possible. So one box would be labeled Kelley Armstrong and scarves for example. I packed my books by shelf so i could approximately put them back in the same order in the new house. And I wrote down a few of the authors or books on the box so i knew which books were where. The books I was reading or wanted to read next I packed less, so I still had something to read. Unpacking all the books when you arrive at your new house is the best though!
    My recent post Review: A Brit on the Side by Brenda St. John Brown

    • Oh yeah, I thought I was going to be doing that as well but packing books was the biggest task! Yeah, I packed mine by shelf too so I could put it back the way they were organised, especially useful for the rainbow shelves. Definitely, I\’ve already started pulling out some of my boxes so I can admire them hahaha.

  11. emmajanebug

    Great post! I'm hopefully moving soon myself, and all I've been thinking about is what I'm going to do with my books, so this is definitely helpful!! Luckily, they're not in any order on my shelves, so I don't have to worry about trying to remember how they were arranged!
    My recent post What To Tackle First: The Book or The Movie

  12. I love how your whole family collects books as well! Yes, I've been planning out my bookshelves but as soon as they're up and running, photo galore!

  13. annajayne99

    Moving sounds slightly scary with that many books. The times my family has moved it's been mum who has done a lot of the packing only because we were at school and Dad was busy with work. I'm sure we still helped but… Anyway my book collections seems meagre compared to yours so I probably won't have much trouble but one day I reckon I will end up with many books. I think with labelling I will have to write somewhere whether it's on the box or just in a notebook somewhere (I think Mum might have done that actually or maybe not I can't remember.) all the titles of the books that are in there. Though I'm sure that would take some time. Great tips! 🙂
    My recent post Throne of Glass In A Book Review

    • Yesss I have seen that type of labelling which is super handy. Yeah once you get into your own place, it's like BUY ALL THE BOOKS! until you realise you might have to move them at some point lol. Thanks for visiting!

  14. Asking for the grocery store boxes is a really great tip, I remember when we moved for the first time my mom taught me that and I was like GENIUS. I'm going to be moving out on my own for the first time and task of moving all these books is definitely daunting so this is a great post 🙂
    My recent post 2016 Mid Year Book Freak Out!

    • Yessss I learnt it from mum when we moved the first time! Who needs to buy boxes when they're getting thrown out all the time? Good luck Alise!

  15. treesofreverie

    We get several people a week come in to ask for boxes and we usually have to say no as we require the boxes to send the books back for returns. Some weeks we barely have enough for the bookstore! It's difficult when people don't understand this and start harassing my staff – but I'm glad I could help you out with some boxes!

    Our house sold before auction last week so I spent yesterday packing up my remaining books which I won't see now until early next year when the development of my new apartment will finish. It's scary thinking about how I won't see so many of my books for so long!!

    • I really appreciate when you put them aside for me, that helped me get through the last lot of books lol. Congrats on the house sale, although you\’ll definitely miss your books! I\’m still not up and running with my shelves and it\’s making me antsy. I guess it\’s more me being indecisive about where my shelves should go to begin with lol.

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