Sunday, August 12, 2007

estimate moving boxes books books moving needed gah!

The Renaissance Woman and the Mermaid Girl are off to Vancouver for Little Girl of the 1920's Camp, and I'm back here packing. Really, truly packing this time around. And, intermittently, posing queries to the Oracle of Google along the lines of "books how many boxes moving" and "boxes estimate move 3 bedroom". Just to get an idea of how often I should be hitting the local greasy spoon dumpster for more empty hash-brown boxes.

So far the answers have been totally unsatisfactory. U-haul's basic box kit for a 3-4 bedroom house, for example, which should more than take care of the shoebox in which we dwell, includes only 30 small boxes. 30! I mean, I've only packed my books and MG's so far and already we're at box #34. Yes, I appear to own 26 boxes of books, and we've allowed our not-quite-seven-year-old to accumulate 8 boxes. And that's not counting the books we kept out for her to look at in the next couple of weeks, or the ones I've got squirrelled in my night table. Or the cookbooks. Or the reference books from the living room. Or any of RW's books, which based on my quick visual estimate number fewer than mine but more than MG's. I figure we'll have 50 or 60 boxes of books by the time we get done with it.

And that's after some serious weeding on RW's and my part in the past year or two.

Clearly, the movers' estimates are not meant for Book People. In fact, I've found little Internet guidance out there for Book People who in the course of human events have to schlep all their stuff from one house to another. What I have found has been reassuring--clearly, I'm not the only lunatic out there. But it still doesn't help me figure out what size truck to order.

How about you? How many books do you have? And if you've moved in the last, oh, five or ten years, how many boxes did it take?

17 Comments:

Blogger JM said...

I feel your pain. I only moved 400 or so books, and the book boxes did end up being the bulk of the boxes in the truck. Because the friends helping me were both English grad students as well, they knew what it meant when the labels on a few boxes simply read: "Nortons". It meant "use the dolly for this box and don't try to move three boxes at a time."

I packed my books in bankers boxes (the long ones). Good for carrying (handles) and also good for stacking. I think I used 15 boxes for my relatively small number of books.

Good luck...

9:42 AM  
Anonymous ppb said...

I own 2456 books. So far. Not counting the music books, which take up a whole bookshelf. I joined Library Thing, hence I know. I can't remember how much they weighed, but I do know that at my last move, books constituted a full 33% of my household weight. And I have a piano!

11:05 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Well I've moved every year for the last 10.... Last move we had about 26 boxes... Don't sound like many, but there were also books in various part of the house that got packed with misc junk from those rooms! Plus we had an old suitcase filled with childrens soft cover books!!

12:42 PM  
Blogger S. said...

Last move? Uh. Well, it was over 150. Maybe more like 180? (Hiding head in shame.)

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Arwen said...

I keep being forced to let books go because of the amount I move. I have grown to find this acceptable (it took awhile), since the "core" books are perhaps different than the 3 textbooks for that course that time or the hundreds of pulp fiction books I've read. I like books in a number of genres: it is true that there are great writers in each genre, and it is also true that sometimes you're just reading a genre novel. Those I can let go, and only once or twice have had a twinge of regret, compared to many boxes of books I've let go.
I currently have 3 or 4 boxes of books in storage, and I'd estimate 15 or so boxes for adult books and 4 for children's books in the house. Small boxes, mind you. I often use large boxes, and then wonder why I can't lift them, because I have not yet learned that books are heavy.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Arwen said...

Or, a rough estimate: I own about 500 adult books and the kids own 250 or so?

5:35 PM  
Blogger susan said...

I have no idea how many books I have, and I think that the issues in your post are the reason why I never count book boxes when I move. So I'll just say, "lots."

7:41 PM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Thanks, everyone-- this is fascinating! And it's nice to know I'm not alone in my, er, loving attachment to dead trees with black stuff on them.

12:17 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...

I don't remember how many boxes -- I try to block out all my moving experiences because they're always so miserable. I do know that a good hand-truck is crucial. Lift with your legs. And you don't have many stairs at the Seattle end, but a friend of mine once gave me very good advice about stairs: the heaviest thing you're carrying up and down the stairs is YOU. Make as few trips as possible. A "bucket brigade" on stairs saves everybody's legs.

6:05 AM  
Anonymous paige said...

We're book people who move across the country every two years or so. We're also kitchen people--we cook a lot and seem to have a fair bit of kitcheny stuff. Between the two, we usually have about 130-150 boxes for a family of 3. This last move, we were a family of 3.5 (we were ready to meet our baby in Ethiopia) so we had a few extra things--I think we were closer to the 150 mark in February while we moved from Ohio to San Francisco.

We pare down and pare down, but for every book that disappears, two more seem to arrive--we're addicts, I tell you!

8:58 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

I don't count book boxes. Not all of ours are out of storage yet. Like, say, 10 paper boxes-worth.

My kitchen, which is well-equipped, was about 15 boxes, one of them large.

My DVDs fit into two boxes, the tv, another box for the DVD player and PS2. 5 bins of craft supplies. 5 medium boxes and two wardrobe boxes of clothes. Bathrooms, one box each. Matt's studio (shudder) I don't remember. But it was daily fights for the month before we moved. Sports/camping gear, 3 boxes. Kids' toys and impedimentia, 5 boxes.

It was a 24-foot truck, and that only by the grace of flat-pack furniture and truck-loading wizards.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Books, Computers & Puppets, Oh My! said...

I haven't moved in 8 years and hope not to do so anytime soon. I do know I have 800 books in my Amazon/ Ebay inventory - and those all all for sale! I suspect my personal library is just as large - and I dumped at least 12 boxes at Half PRice books this summer

4:40 PM  
Blogger wen said...

i had a ton of books. hundreds and hundreds. hard to say, since i never counted. i've largely purged the collection, but i'd say it still took me about 30 boxes to move. i did a phd and eventually let all those go, and i let most of my fiction collection go too. but alas, i am a book person.

my tip for you: put the books in the same sized boxes and don't make them too big. i have used either the ingram book boxes (that my local bookstore kindly gave me) because they were meant for books, and also staples file boxes (the white ones come like 6 to a pack). that way they stack easily and are uniform and not too huge to move. i learned the hard way about that.

when putting them in the truck, i started in the back, and lined them up across the back, a few deep, and a few high. i then tied them off and loaded other things. it worked well.

good luck!

5:18 PM  
Blogger jo(e) said...

I moved eight years ago. Every day, I'd drive to a liquor store and get as many empty boxes as they had and pack them full with books. No idea how many I ended up with .... but all the friends and relatives who helped us move kept saying, "You have too many damned books."

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can get 25 extra book boxes from ULine. They're much cheaper than any other online seller of boxes that I found, and the only catch is that you need to buy a LOT of boxes. That wasn't a problem for me!

I only had 20 boxes of books, but I am just one 28-year-old person and I got rid of a bunch of boxes before I moved. Also, in addition to the 20 boxes of books, I have lots of boxes of old course packs and things like that.

Ah, the joys of moving! Good luck!

--ALG

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and in terms of total moving volume, I had 600 cubic feet, including all of my furniture and boxes and suitcases and plastic drawers and things, when I moved on August 1. It was 100 boxes, and I already said that about 20 were full of books. (If this is helpful, 20 boxes of books took up two tall bookcases, in some cases double-layered in books, one medium bookcase, one short bookcase, and some part of one kitchen cabinet for the cookbooks. Also, several very high stacks of books in my room that didn't fit into any shelves, and one rectangular milk crate of books that I put on top of the short bookcase for extra shelf space.)

Another 20 were full of stationery, course packs from college, notes from college, and lots and lots of paper. I found paid phone bills from ten years ago, but didn't have time to go through the paper to throw it all out, so, once again, I moved it to my new apt.

I had 6-7 medium boxes of kitchen stuff (who knew I had that many plastic storage containers? and I threw out all of the ones that were missing tops!), and 2 boxes of photographs. The rest was just...stuff. For example, I apparently have a LOT of socks. My shoes took up one big box and one medium box. My board games took up one medium box. I managed to pack up almost all of the linen in the other boxes, as padding for the tops of book boxes (so they could be stacked straight and without the tops caving in), fragile kitchen stuff, framed photographs, etc.

All of this--100 boxes, 600 cubic feet--resided in my bedroom (I moved out of a three bedroom apt that I shared with two roommates), kitchen, and living room. It was, in theory, a "one bedroom apartment"'s worth of stuff, but clearly, I stuffed a lot into a very small space. I am always amazed when I go to people's houses and they don't have much stuff.

--ALG

11:20 AM  
Blogger Rudy said...

I've stopped using bankers boxes or the U-Haul designated 'book boxes' for packing books-- they're too heavy when full! I use wine boxes. And my last move had over 40 of them....

9:21 AM  

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