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Can anyone help me calculate how many boxes I'll need?

DonnaLDonnaL Registered User Posts: 4,981 Senior Member
edited March 2010 in Parent Cafe
As I've mentioned briefly elsewhere, I'm probably going to be moving in the next six weeks or so (exactly where, I'm not 100% sure yet). But it occurred to me that I really ought to start thinking about packing. And I have a lot of books. 350 feet of bookshelves, in fact. Constituting the vast majority of my possessions that have to be put in boxes. Does anyone know of any way of figuring out how many boxes (standard size for packing, if there is such a thing) I would need for all those books? More specifically than "many"? Oy. The last time I moved, 10 years ago, when my ex and I separated and I moved into an apartment, my new place was only about 3 miles away, and I was able to move most of my books and other possessions myself, in my car, over a period of several months. This time, I won't have that luxury, since if things go according to plan I'll be moving back to Manhattan from New Jersey. Probably Washington Heights, specifically Hudson Heights if anyone is familiar with that neighborhood. I've applied for an apartment, but it's a 5-year sublease in a co-op and I need board approval, so I don't want to go into too many identifying details about the location just yet, except to say that the apartment is right on the Hudson River with wonderful views from the living room and bedroom windows, and is only a short walk away from Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters.

It makes my stomach hurt to wonder about how I'm going to find the time to get ready to move so soon, assuming I get the apartment I want, or, if not, am able to find another place. It isn't as if I'm in a position to take any time off from work. I still get reminded now and then of how much time I "took off" (as if it were a vacation!) last summer. So when I look around my apartment and see how much there is to do, I just feel like going to bed and pulling the covers over my head!

But I do need to get out of here. I feel so isolated and lonely here -- all my friends live in the City, and I've had exactly 1 (one) person come to visit me in the 10 years I've been here, since apparently it's an uphill trip both ways to travel from NYC to New Jersey and back again. And ever since my surgery last summer, I've felt too exhausted to stay in the City after work to get together with people, knowing that I would have to go back to New Jersey at the end of the evening.

I only stayed here all these years to be close to J. Now that he's in college, I don't need to do that anymore. I didn't move last year because one major stressful life event per calendar year is plenty. But if I don't do it now, it'll be another year before it's feasible, because my lease is up for renewal in May.

And I just can't take the commute on Route 3 and in through the Lincoln Tunnel anymore. An hour or more of traffic to go 13 miles, every single day for the last 23 years, whether I drive or take the bus. I feel like I've been slowly driven out of my mind. Taking the A train down from 181st Street every day will be an immense relief by comparison. Not to mention the large sums of money I'll be able to save on parking, tolls, and gas. (I do plan to keep my car at least for a while, and see how much I end up using it on weekends, but it'll definitely be cheaper to leave the car parked in a garage uptown than the $450 per month I pay now to park it at the Port Authority Bus terminal garage -- which is about the lowest price one could find in midtown.)

It will also, finally, be a chance to get rid of all my "old" clothes, which still take up a substantial percentage of my closet space. I'm the only woman in my position I know who's kept her old clothing that long (it's been 5 years now), and the only reason I've done so is that I wanted to be able to give J., who's approximately the same size as I am (maybe 1/2 inch shorter), the chance to take any he wants for himself. Not that he needs suits and sports jackets and button-down shirts and khaki pants now or for the foreseeable future, but he might someday, who knows? So I've told him that his vacation in another week is his last chance to decide what he wants; whatever he doesn't want gets donated or disposed of.

So it's important for me to move as soon as I can for a lot of reasons. Moving back to Manhattan will feel to me in many ways like a return from a 23-year exile. I was born in Manhattan (oddly enough, at the old Jewish Memorial Hospital in Washington Heights, not so far from where I'll be moving!), and grew up there, on the Upper East Side, in an apartment where my father still lives. I moved to New Jersey when I got married (my ex is a New Jerseyite), but even after all these years have never been able to answer "New Jersey" to the question "where are you from?" I'm still a New Yorker at heart, and always hoped to move back someday, and I truly believe that if I am able to move back, it will be the best thing for me. Even if I can't remotely afford to live anyplace centrally located anymore.

Anyway, I do need to order some boxes so I can get started, but it would be nice to know how many I need just for the books. 50? 100? 1,000,000? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Post edited by DonnaL on

Replies to: Can anyone help me calculate how many boxes I'll need?

  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 Registered User Posts: 14,783 Senior Member
    And I have a lot of books. 350 feet of bookshelves, in fact.

    You need a Kindle, lol.

    I'm kidding-I have a lot of books also. Drives my husband nuts-"You've read it already. Why do you need to keep it?"

    Here in Texas, I have bought moving boxes from U-Haul. I wonder if they (or perhaps professional moving companies) have some kind of "formula" for calculating that. The problem with books is that the box can hold them in terms of volume, but they get so very heavy. I have 4 herniated discs, so I'm always thinking in those kinds of terms.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful. Good luck with the move. I think it would be wonderful to live in Manhattan. Someday I'll win the lottery and buy an apartment there.
  • PRJPRJ Registered User Posts: 1,877 Senior Member
    U Haul has two box sizes for books - 12x12x12 and 16x12x12. You don't want to go any bigger than that because the box will get too heavy. H and I packed up some books yesterday to donate and I'm guessing we fit about 3 shelf feet of books into a box somewhere between the 2 U Haul sizes. So if you use that as a guide, you'd need 100+ boxes for 350 shelf feet. Yikes!

    Hope that helps :)
  • KajonKajon Registered User Posts: 4,367 Senior Member
    I agree, keep the boxes small enough for you to lift. I am curious about all your books. I just had this conversation with my husband and I got him to let go of about 4 feet of books.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,014 Senior Member
    You are having a mover, right? Have them come in to give you an estimate. They are professionals. You could buy/rent those boxes from them or get them somewhere else. You shouldn't pack your clothes, just get wardrobe boxes from them. The will come pick up those boxes after you have unpacked.

    We are also moving in a few months, except we are moving out of the country Most of our stuff will go in the storage. We are in the process of throwing things out.
  • BatlloBatllo - Posts: 3,047 Senior Member
    I would encourage you to cull your library to only the books you treasure most, just as you are doing with your clothes. Donating the books you can live without to the local library will help keep your moving costs down.
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 21,631 Senior Member
    I agree with having a mover estimate for you, and with using a mover in the first place.

    If you want to save money, it is possible to find a mover who will do a limited job. When we moved from one house to another in the same town, I moved most of our things that would normally be packed--china, lamps, kitchen stuff, linens, clothes--myself over a period of days using and reusing a few boxes. I'd pack the glasses in the linen napkins, for example, and just put it all away at the new house, then bring back the boxes for a refill. (Of course, the was not a matter of driving from NJ to NYC and back, which is a royal pain.) The movers moved the heavy stuff: furniture and the boxes of books.

    Personally, I think you should hire them to do the whole job, packing and all, if you can afford it. But I have never reduced my library. I can't imagine it. :D
  • aibarraibarr Registered User Posts: 4,249 Senior Member
    Go with a BIG moving company; ones you've heard from before! I had an absolute nightmare with a moving company that I'd found using the same methods that I use to find everything else I need: the Internet.

    Long story short, the cross-country move ended up arriving two weeks after they were suppose to be there (LONG after my new job started); all of my stuff was melted, dented, destroyed, or dirty; they charged me $7000 more than they said they would; and my husband still has to leave the room whenever I talk about the experience. The company shut down and reopened as a different company, so we could never take them to court.

    Bekins is one I've heard generally good things about. Ask for a binding estimate; they'll come out to your apartment and give you a not-to-exceed amount.

    There are a lot of "moving box calculators" out there that'll give you an estimate of how many boxes you'll need overall, but I'd just go ahead and give U-Haul (eh... they're usually not that helpful) or a moving estimator a call and ask how many book boxes in particular you'll need for however many linear feet of bookshelves you have.

    Good luck! DON'T go with a no-name mover...
  • wbowwbow Registered User Posts: 972 Member
    i have moved 16 times in the last 30 years. many of the moves have been local. i pack everything and they move whatever i have in a box.

    if you are using a moving company, fantastic. if you are packing yourself, head to a uhaul store and buy as many small boxes as your car can carry--but the right kind of tape and markers and just get to it! uhaul will take back any unused boxes (ones that are still flat) so you can't buy too many!

    buy only small boxes for the books--big boxes are only for fluffy linens, pillows, etc--they just get too heavy for even the pros to move!

    good luck!
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,461 Senior Member
    Agreed..stick with the smaller boxes. AND try to reduce the number of books to those that you really want to keep. My inlaws have moved many times and always with tons of books. The movers charge more to move those heavy boxes...at least their movers did. Last move, they finally donated many books to the library used book sale. The library was grateful for the donations and really...the inlaws were happy to have less to move.

    I do hope you are having movers. Just loading and unloading that volume (sorry about the pun) of books will be something.
  • srwsrw Registered User Posts: 1,480 Senior Member
    If you can find an Avon person in your area, ask for some of the boxes. They are very sturdy, have a good lid and are small enough to pack with books and still carry. I do think that you should get rid of some of your books though, you probably have lots that you really don't intend on reading again. I also have tons of books, but got to the point where I really needed to get rid of some. I did the BIG sort and I found a book bank in my area, made an appointment to bring them the books. About two weeks later I get, in the mail, a nice statement from them with the valuation of the donation for $1500. It came in handy at tax time.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,461 Senior Member
    Is there 350 feet of book shelf space in the new place?
  • scualumscualum Registered User Posts: 2,863 Senior Member
    Keep all of your books ... I'm another book collector and when I last did a major move and got rid of some of my books in the process, well it has taken more than 5 years to get some of them back.

    They are old friends - and in many ways not replaceable.

    As for how many boxes, I would go for smaller boxes and plan on about 40 books per box. Otherwise they get too heavy. First one won't be - but number 90 will be... Pack them in a sequence that makes it easy to put them back on the shelf - e.g. start in the upper left most shelf and work down to lower right most. I'm assuming that they are in some kind of order now - you will be much happier if you preserve that order in the packing process...
  • wbowwbow Registered User Posts: 972 Member
    40 books per box? that's way too many....
  • maineparentmaineparent Registered User Posts: 898 Member
    You may also want to check with your local library... ours here has a book sale in the spring and another in the fall... most of the books for sale have been donated.... it is a key fundraiser for the library.....average $3K to $4K each sale.... they also bring in a professional book reseller before the sale to identify and buy significant books.... and to help them price other special books.... besides the normal prices for the everyday books...

    I have gotten great books at these sales.....West Point Fitness Book, The Science of Beauty, Bedtime Etiquette (each chapter is a different situation, ie overnight on a boat, coming home after a bachelor's party, you get the drift!!) so I strongly urge you to share your vast collection with others in your community.... or seek out the library of the community you are going TO.... that way you can visit your books without living with them!!
  • CountingDownCountingDown Registered User Posts: 12,413 Senior Member
    **Binding** quote -- this saved our tails when we moved down here. They seriously underestimated our books!
This discussion has been closed.