Even with the support of moving companies, relocating would be chaotic without those reliable pieces of cardboard. Not only are they easier to stack, lighter, and cheaper than other containers, but they're also more eco-friendly, with a recycling rate of 93.6%.
To help you save money and reduce waste, I've put together a list of places where you can often find free moving boxes. From local stores to online platforms, there are numerous options available for acquiring these essential moving supplies without spending a dime.
» Cut costs with these 10 money-saving tips when using a moving company.
Essential Moving Supplies
Moving is often linked to heightened stress levels. Whether you're relocating across town or settling in a new country, having the right supplies can make all the difference. Here's a rundown of the key tools and resources you'll need for your moving day:
- Moving boxes in different sizes
- Packing tape to seal boxes
- Protective packaging like bubble wrap for fragile items
- Markers to label boxes
- Furniture covers to protect your belongings from scratches and dust
- Dolly or hand truck to move heavy items
- Moving blankets for padding
- Toolset for disassembling and reassembling furniture
- Cleaning supplies and garbage bags
- Rope or bungee cords to secure everything on the truck or moving vehicle
- First aid kit in case any minor injuries occur
- Snacks and water to stay energized and hydrated
- Moving truck rental company
- Packing checklist so you can make sure you don't forget anything
Choose the Right Types of Moving Boxes
When choosing moving boxes, size is the main differentiator. Most resemble cubes, varying in width, height, and length. Some feature specialized designs, like rods for hanging clothes, safety sections for fragile glasses, or compartments for smaller items that could be easily misplaced.
Remember, bigger isn't always better with moving boxes. Larger boxes can tempt you to overfill them, increasing the risk of breakage and damage to your items. Plus, the bigger they are, the more they tend to cost.
Box Buying Advice for Cost-Conscious Movers
Boxes can significantly impact your budget during a move, especially for larger homes. They typically cost around $2 each, with prices varying by size—often a bit more, but seldom less.
Watch for sales at stores like Home Depot or Lowe's, where you can get 50 boxes for under $100. Larger purchases can also often bring additional savings. However, be cautious while shopping online because the quality could vary.
Also, if you opt for free boxes, carefully check them to ensure they aren't too worn or damp. Flimsy boxes breaking mid-move can turn your relocation into a nightmare. Consider spending a little money or looking for better free options online.
While cardboard is standard, there are alternative methods if you prefer the non-traditional route. Some companies, like AmeriSafe Moving Services, include supplies, packing services, and storage options in your moving package.
» Find out what moving companies will and won't move.
Expert Packing Tips
Without a proper strategy, you can end up with boxes bursting at the seams and contents falling or breaking. Let's not forget those overloaded boxes that become too heavy to carry. To avoid such issues, follow my top packing tips and moving checklist:
- Request moving quotes early so you can get estimates and calculate the total volume of items you want to move.
- Select a moving day that works best for you.
- Declutter before packing and remove unnecessary items to lighten your load.
- Start packing early. Begin with items you use less often, like out-of-season clothes and decorations.
- Use newspaper or magazine pages, towels, or blankets as insulation to protect delicate items.
- Avoid throwing everything together. Instead, create DIY box dividers for delicate items like bottles or kitchen supplies.
- Utilize small boxes for heavy items.
- Don't overload your boxes to prevent ripping.
- Mark each box with its contents and destination room.
- Seal every box with strong tape to prevent breakage.
- Pack your clothes in suitcases and drawers to maximize space.
If you aren't a fan of packing, Interstate Moving and Relocation Group offers hassle-free moves with full-service packing. You can let their expert movers handle everything for a smooth transition to your new home.
Where to Find Free Moving Boxes
You can find free moving boxes from various sources, but it takes time and effort. Don't wait until the last second; secure your free boxes early to make the process smoother. You can get them from:
Typically, a household in the United States throws away more than 9000 cardboard pieces each year. Various stores and businesses also frequently discard good boxes from orders and shipments. Some of the best places to get them for free are:
- Retail stores
- Liquor stores
- Moving companies like U-Haul
- Friends, family members, or neighbors
- Department stores like Kohl's and Macy's
You can use online local resources that offer free listings and facilitate community communication to find boxes for free. Examples include:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Local community groups on Facebook
Household Items as Alternatives
When free boxes aren't available, consider these money-saving alternatives:
- Use Rubbermaid tubs, boxes with lids, and laundry hampers.
- Repurpose tape-shut drawers and cabinets as makeshift boxes.
- Utilize larger, clean trash cans to gather last-minute items as you leave your old place.
» Watch out for these common moving day mistakes.
Move Smart With Budget-Friendly Box Solutions
Your move doesn't have to cost a lot. With the right supplies and strategies, you can make it easier on your wallet. You can find free boxes from local movers, businesses, and online sites.
Remember, a little planning and resourcefulness can go a long way in making your move efficient and budget-friendly. After your move, continue the cycle of kindness and sustainability by giving away your containers online.
» What's next? Here's a detailed guide on what you need to do when moving.