According to recent research by the National Association of Realtors (2017), the typical first time home buyer is 45 and has a household median income of $88,800. If, like me, your own property is a Pinterest fantasy, I’m going to guess you have to move house a lot. That’s a stressful situation at the best of times, and books can make it even more hard work. Here’s how to move home as a book lover and keep your sanity.
before the move
Check out your new area. You need to figure out where the following things are: the library, the bookshops, and that sweet independent cafe with the good cake. Trust me, when your deliveries haven’t arrived or when your Ikea wardrobe looks more like an apocalypse than a wardrobe, you’ll need the therapy.
A good library will tell you a lot about the area you’re moving to. Who’s there and what are they doing? What events do they advertise? Do you feel comfortable when you walk in? What activities do they have for kids—and will your kids like them? Libraries give you an immediate entry point into the community and they’re the first thing I look for when I move.
during the move
Pack early, pack often. Here’s eight tips on moving a ton of books (I would add a ninth—buy pizza for anybody who helps, otherwise you will not hear the end of it from them). If you have to leave books in storage for a while, make you leave them somewhere dry and secure. This isn’t the time to figure out that your new garage roof leaks. If you have a precious or valuable collection, consider getting specialist help and advice. You don’t want them to be a casualty of the move.
Remember that books are heavy! Boxes of books are heavier still. Take the move process as steadily as you can and, if it’s possible, break it up into several journeys. Make it as easy on yourself as you can, wherever you can.
Don’t forget to leave one book out for emergencies…(I’ll explain why at the end.)
Also, pizza. You’ll be hungry and need to eat fast, and so pizza. Or if you’re British, it’s official that you have a chippy tea for the first evening.
After the move
Unpack your books when you have somewhere clean and safe for them to go. There’s no point in piling them on top a rickety bookshelf that the last tenant “forgot” to take with them, or a surface that you’ll have to move them from in a couple of hours.
If the house has been uninhabited for a while, then you may need to air it out before you unpack. Open all the windows. Think of how beautiful your books are going to look on their sexy new bookshelves. Take a deep breath. (Oh, did I not mention the new bookshelves? New bookshelves are a joy and one of the few fun parts of moving house. Here’s a gallery of inspiration from Vogue…).
Head back to the library and get everyone in your house signed up. If you have kids, get them booked into an activity or picking out a book to take home. If they’re feeling a bit unsettled by the move and are of an appropriate age, then the Bath, Book, Bed routine may work wonders for them.
Remember that emergency book I mentioned earlier? Now’s the time to crack that one out for yourself. Ignore everything that needs doing, just for a moment or two, and get stuck in. You deserve it.