by Carrie Schmidt
At the end of 2020, my husband and I moved from Kentucky to Georgia. Yes, yes that does mean we sold our house in one state and bought a house in another - in a pandemic. I don't recommend it. It's certainly not for the faint of heart. Something else that isn't for the faint of heart... moving when you
hoard* collect books! Nevertheless, I survived to tell the tale, and because I care for all of you and want to save you some stress when the time comes for you to move your book collection from one residence to another, I have some tips to help you survive it as well.
*It's not hoarding if it's books. The internet says so.
My perspective is that of an avid reader & reviewer & book marketer who reads mostly on her Kindle these days but needs to have the paperbacks around to hug on occasion too. But I also know that authors have copious author copies laying (lying?) around - and the more books you've published, the more author copies you have. Hopefully, all of us can relate on some level to my survival tale, even if just with empathy :)
Boxes, Boxes Everywhere
The first thing you need to know about moving with books is how to select the right boxes in which to pack them. Now you might be tempted to go for the bigger boxes to pile in as many books as possible and make quick work of your task. Beware of that temptation, dear reader, and arm yourself against it. The more books per box, the heavier those boxes be. While this seems like a basic concept, when you're neck deep in boxes and to-do lists and sleepless nights, it can be more difficult to think logically.
The moving experts I consulted (aka Google) said the best boxes for moving books are the 10x10 or 12x12 sizes. I ordered one hundred 12x12 boxes*, and they seemed to be pretty much perfect for the job. I also tried to limit myself to packing only about 20 books per box (and filling in the rest of the space with packing paper or towels or pillows, etc. as another safeguard to keep the weight down. To protect the books in case the movers dumped the boxes in a puddle or, you know, something equally horrific, I lined the bottom and sides with sheets of newsprint and made sure that the spines were up against the sides of the box, rather than the pages.
*I had to order 25 more... if you want to do the math, about 20 books per box, 125 boxes... you'll have a good idea of how many books i own.
You Did Not Just Say That
Finding the right box size and getting all those tomes packed is but one hurdle to moving with books. Another hill you must climb is the perhaps-well-meaning-but-still-painful comments you'll get from your realtor, your father-in-law, and other misguided people. You'll hear audacious things like:
- You can only keep about twelve books out for the pictures,
- Are you really taking all those books with you?,
- and the (closely related) Can't you get rid of some of those books so you don't have to move them all?
Let Them Go, Let Them Go
And no, I don't mean donating them or giving them away - we've already put that idea from our minds. I mean, once they are packed, there are some things to adjust to.
- Be prepared to get a little twitchy when you don't have easy access to your books for an undetermined amount of time. This comes and goes so keep your ereader handy to take a bit of the edge off.
- Once you and your books are reunited* they may stay in boxes for a while. I mean, you don't want to put them all in bookcases and on shelves and then realize you really need to arrange the room setup again. That's a lot of unnecessary work, and moving is enough work on its own, so I give you the freedom to let them stay comfy & cozy in their boxes for a little longer if needed.
*When we got back to our hotel the day we closed on our house in Georgia, our moving truck was parked there too! You know what means, right? My books knew where I was & they found me!!
Sort-of a Problem
This last thing isn't really a problem, per se - but it is something you'll want to think about at least a little bit ahead of time. Currently my books are in sorted piles all over my dining room/library floor (yes, still) but before I could even get that far, I had to decide HOW I wanted to sort them for shelving purposes. There are about as many ways to sort books as there are genres (which is one way to sort them). You could sort them by:
- author, alphabetically
- read status (i.e. TBR, for review, read, re-readable faves, etc.)
- trivial pursuit category (Anne Bogel - aka Modern Mrs. Darcy - says this is how her assistant sorts her own books and I thought that was ingenious!)
And then of course, you can use combinations of the above. For instance, I sort by author but I also have a separate bookcase for books I've been asked to review/launch teams, etc. and a china hutch that I've repurposed into a home for our most cherished books.
My book sisters (and partners at JustRead Tours) have done beautiful jobs sorting their books by color and gave me permission to share their shelves as examples of how pretty it can turn out!
Rachel's book nook
And of course there is the ol' tried and true method of just putting them on the nearest shelf in whichever order they come out of the box because you know you'll be double and triple stacking them before too long anyway ;)
Have you moved with books before?
Do you have any helpful tips for rookies?
How do YOU sort your books?
Chat with me in the comments to be entered to win a book from my stash (US only) or a book of choice from Book Depository if international
Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She also loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers’ Retreat and JustRead Publicity Tours, Carrie lives in Georgia with her husband Eric. She can be found lurking at various blogs and websites (because she can’t stop talking about books) but her main home is the blog she started in 2015 – ReadingIsMySuperPower.org.