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We all know someone (or maybe we are that someone) who just loves books, never gives a book away, takes all the books anyone wants to give them, and dreams of one day having a house big enough to contain an actual library. But here’s the thing – what will happen when that “library,” be it budding or full-blown, has to be moved?
If you’ve been hoarding books for years, and now you have to move, here are some tips that will help to get you through the process.
You know who you are. You have shelves full of books, you keep a database of books you’ve read, and you make little “rating” notes inside the covers of your books, either on a numerical scale of 1-5 (one being excellent and five being poor) or an alphabetical scale (E for excellent, VG for very good, G for good, P for poor, and S for – well, for “sucked”). They are arranged by category, and then alphabetically by author.
If you have to move, this is the perfect time to weed out your collection. Why are you keeping those “S” books? Are you ever going to read them again? Now, look through the other books you have and ask yourself the same question – “Will I ever re-read these books?” If the answer is no, sell them, donate them to charity, or give them to friends. You don’t need to move them.
Find some small boxes. Books are very, very heavy, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that fewer boxes are necessarily better. You’ll find it far easier moving 20 small boxes than you will 10 big ones. Usually, a box that would hold, say, a dozen quarts of wine is going to be about all that you should use for your books. If you must use larger boxes, don’t fill them all the way – use the rest of the space for lighter items that you also need to move.
If you have a wheeled suitcase, that can be another great way to move books. Just be sure that the bottom isn’t made of flimsy cardboard. You can also use shopping bags to carry about a dozen books at a time.
If you’re compulsive about alphabetizing your library, take your books off the shelves in order, and box them in order. Then label them accordingly. If your library is in disarray, you might consider organizing your books according to category, or by “read” and “unread.” This will save you a lot of time when you’re ready to re-shelve. For that matter, if you want everything back in the same order, you could take pictures of your bookshelves before you box your books, so you can be sure that they go back in the same order.
It can be tempting to wait to box your books, thinking that you’ll get around to reading them before your move. Books are best dealt with early, though, because they are heavy, and take up a lot of space. Box them up, and place the boxes against walls so that you still have room to maneuver. Don’t pack them at an angle, or on their spines – if you do, they could end up being warped.
Professional movers transport personal libraries all the time. They know how to take care of your books, and if you explain your filing system, they can box up your books in such a way that they will be in order and ready to shelve on arrival at your new home. You could definitely do it yourself, but you might save a lot of backbreaking labour by calling in the pros.
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