No matter when, where, or how you are moving, there is one item that is absolutely critical to the success of your move — moving boxes. Moving boxes come in every shape and size, and whether you fill them with fragile items wrapped in bubble wrap or use them for heavy items, you will need quite a few.
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But we also know a thing or two about moving supplies. Whether you need help finding heavy-duty boxes that can hold your valuables or cheap moving boxes to pack with clothes, we can tell you just the place to find them!
There are several ways you can acquire moving boxes, from purchasing them from your moving company to picking them up for free, and we are going to cover them all. So get your notepad ready as we dive into the best way to acquire moving supplies in preparation for your upcoming move.
Where to find the right boxes for your move
There are several locations to acquire moving boxes depending on your needs. Don’t feel restricted to getting moving boxes from just one location, and remember to ensure every box you select is sturdy enough to survive your move!
Where to find free boxes
Moving can be both exciting and financially overwhelming, and looking for free moving boxes can help take some of the pressure off your wallet.
The good news is, there are lots of places you can look for packing boxes people are trying to unload, including:
- Check Craigslist. Visit the free section on Craigslist to see if anyone who has recently moved is offering their boxes for free.
- Post on social media. Post on your social media accounts asking if any of your friends or family have boxes you can use for your move. Also check any social media marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone is listing boxes or other packing materials.
- Visit liquor stores. Liquor stores often receive their bottles in cardboard boxes, only to unload them to display the bottles on the shelves. While these are typically small moving boxes, they are very sturdy and work well for packing glassware and valuables.
- Ask bookstores. Like liquor stores, bookstores often receive their wares in boxes that are later discarded. Built for books, the box sizes will vary, but they will definitely be sturdy.
- Save Amazon boxes. You’ll probably order from Amazon at least a few times as you prepare for your move, so set aside the boxes to use for your move. We also recommend keeping any cushioning or packing paper that you can use as you pack your valuables.
- Go to big box stores. Large retailers like Walmart and Target can be a great place to grab flat-screen tv moving boxes and other large moving boxes you won’t find at book stores or liquor stores.
- Check home improvement stores. Like big box retailers, home improvement stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot often have extra large used boxes on hand that they will let you take for free.
- Use U-Haul’s box exchange. U-Haul has a section on their website where people can list their boxes for free for others to use after they move into their new home. While there aren’t always a lot of listings, it’s always worth checking.
- Ask your grocery store. Many local stores receive produce and other food items in boxes which they later discard. While it is always worth it to take a look, we recommend caution when using boxes from the grocery store as they are typically more flimsy, can contain pests, and may sometimes be damaged or weakened by liquids during transit.
- Look around your office. Offices often get shipments in medium moving boxes that are later tossed to the side. If you find a pile in your office, ask your boss if it’s okay for you to take them for your move.
- Join Freecycle. Freecycle is a neighborhood app that allows individuals to list items they want to give away for free. While you’ll have to weed through listings for other items, there are many people who post their moving boxes and they might be just down the block, making pickup easy.
- Download the Nextdoor app. Similar to Freecycle, Nextdoor is an app which allows people to sell items to their neighbors or list them for free. If you tried Freecycle and found your community wasn’t very active there, give Nextdoor a try!
- Check out yard sales. Oftentimes, people cleaning out their house for a yard sale are also finding boxes along the way, and they may be willing to part with them for free. This is a great place to find wardrobe moving boxes and other unique shipping boxes that you won’t find anywhere else.
- Visit college residence halls. If you live near a college and are lucky enough to move at the beginning or end of the school year, it might be worth it to drive by the campus to see if any students have left boxes on the curb. Just be cautious of any boxes that have become weak from being left in the elements too long.
- Check recycling drop-off points. If you live near a recycling center, it might be worth seeing if they have some moving boxes you can take for free. Just be very cautious, as these boxes are often of poor quality or damaged beyond use.
Where to buy boxes
If you are preparing for a last-minute move, you may not have the time to drive around town looking for free moving boxes. In these cases, there are several places you can purchase the right boxes for your upcoming move, including:
- EcoBox: EcoBox is a moving box company that sells all box sizes. Whether you need an extra large box or a bunch of small moving boxes, they have it all. All their boxes are purchased secondhand or picked up from recycling centers, so you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint, too.
- ContainerExchanger: ContainerExchanger is a website that sells cardboard boxes in bulk. Even though this may not be a solution for all movers, if you need a lot of boxes, this is your best bet.
- Cheapmovingboxes.com: Cheapmovingboxes.com is a website that does exactly what it says — they offer a wide variety of box sizes for sale at low prices.
- Pro movers: Many of the best long-distance moving companies and local movers sell packing supplies. While they aren’t the cheapest, it can be very convenient for those using full-service movers as your boxes will arrive with the moving truck and you won’t have to worry about storing them prior to your move.
- U-Haul: In addition to their free box exchange, U-Haul moving boxes are available for purchase.
- Amazon: Amazon also sells a variety of moving boxes on their site that can conveniently be delivered right to your door. Bonus: you can use also the free box the boxes arrive in!
- Uboxes: Another option with delivery, Uboxes offers moving box kits which include boxes, packing tape, and a permanent marker.
- Lowe’s and Home Depot: While it is always worthwhile to ask for free boxes first, these locations also have moving boxes for purchase on an in-store pickup basis.
- Office supply stores: Office supply stores offer a variety of specialty moving boxes, some of which can be useful for moving specific items. If you need a bankers box, wardrobe box, or another speciality box that you can’t find anywhere else, Staples or Office Depot will probably have them.
Where to Rent Moving Boxes
There are several companies that allow you to rent moving boxes.
The process of using rentable moving boxes is surprisingly straightforward. Start by inventorying your household goods so you can get an idea of how many containers you’ll need. Next, research companies that offer moving box rentals in your area to check availability for both your starting and ending locations, and to get quotes.
Once you’ve decided on a company, you can typically schedule delivery online or by phone, or pick up your plastic boxes yourself. After you’ve unpacked everything at the end of your move, you can schedule a pickup or drop off the empty containers at your convenience.
Here are some of our top picks if you’re interested in using these services.
Whether you’re moving a home or business, U-Haul Ready-To-Go-Boxes is a great choice. There’s no assembly required, no minimum order size or rental period, and you can pick them up and return them at your convenience for DIY moves.
Sizes are generally24” x 20” x 12” (length, width, height) and rental prices are $2.50 per unit per week or $30 for 20 containers in most areas. If you need to keep them longer than expected, it’s $1.50 per container for each additional week.
You’ll also need to return your containers to the same location you got them from, which means they won’t work for long-distance moves.
Bungobox moving containers are up to 50% less expensive than cardboard boxes, with pre-assembled boxes that are delivered right to your home.
Bungobox will drop containers off before moving and pick them up when you settle into your new home or apartment. The containers have built-in grip-style handles for easy lifting and they are washed and sanitized between customers, so they’re always clean.
- Large Bungobox – 27” x 17” x 12”
- XL Bungbox – 28” x 20” x 15”
- Bungowardrobe (for clothing) — 24” x 48” x 20”
Depending on how many boxes you need, you’ll likely spend between $95 and $365 for a 1-week rental. Better yet, many areas offer free delivery and pick up for your boxes.
Bungobox has a limited coverage area, primarily serving the East Coast and Texas. Their prices vary from location to location, so you’ll need to enter your origin and destination zip codes for an exact quote.
Founded nearly three decades ago, Rentacrate is one of the pioneers of the rentable moving box business. They offer moving containers to renters, homeowners, and businesses at more than a dozen service centers nationwide. You can complete the entire process online, from getting a quote to scheduling delivery and pickup.
Latching lids keep items safe and make for easy packing and Rentacrate provides dollies for easy stacking and transportation. Sizing for the boxes is 24.25” x 15.15” x 12.75” and Rentacrate’s moving bundles start at $150. You’ll need to put in specific information about your move (locations, number of crates, etc) to get a specific quote.
Rentacrate’s prices vary from location to location. For residential movers, Rentacrate’s service area is limited to the areas closest to its distribution centers: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, DC Metro Area, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, NY / NJ Metro Area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tampa.
Specialty boxes can come in handy for a variety of reasons during your move:
- When you need to ship a delicate or fragile item, a sturdy and secure box will give you peace of mind.
- Other times, you may need specific box sizes, shapes, small moving boxes, or extra large moving boxes to accommodate an oddly shaped item or one that requires specific dimensions.
- Specialty moving boxes designed for items like electronics, artwork, mirrors, and clothing can make the process much easier:
- TV moving boxes (sturdy big box for a flat-screen TV)
- Heavy-duty boxes
- Large moving boxes
- Wardrobe moving boxes
Looking for the perfect moving boxes for your next move? Comparison shopping is the way to go! Just like you get free quotes from a moving cost calculator before making your move, you’ll want to compare and price out the different moving box options. With the advent of online shopping, finding the best deals and prices has never been easier.
Numerous comparison shopping sites — like Google shopping, Shopzilla, and BizRate — allow you to easily compare prices and product features, saving you money and time since you won’t have to drive to the local store. Additionally, when it comes to choosing between rental and purchase options for moving boxes, comparison shopping can help you make the right decision.
Remember that beyond comparing prices, you also need to evaluate quality and consider box sizing. Although you might be able to get flimsy small boxes for free, this might cause more frustration than buying a few extra large boxes sturdy enough for your valuables and family heirlooms.
Moving box tips
Not all moving boxes are created equal. As you shop around for the perfect cardboard moving boxes for your move, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:
- It’s best to have a variety of moving box sizes, from small boxes for books and valuables, to larger boxes which can accommodate linens, decorations, and more.
- Try to estimate how many boxes you will need in advance and order extra, so you won’t be left not having enough boxes.
- Always choose the highest-quality boxes you can afford.
- If you can, look for double- or triple-wall moving boxes to keep your items safe in transit to your new home.
- Try to pack valuable items in boxes that fit them well with lots of protection to lower the chances of damage in transit.
Other packing supplies you will need
Quality moving boxes are essential to having your move go smoothly, but they aren’t the only thing you are going to need.
As you shop for moving boxes, ensure you pick up the following packing supplies:
- Moving blankets
- Packing tape
- Bubble wrap or other bubble cushioning
- Packing paper
- Box dividers (for glassware)
FAQs about where to get moving boxes
Where can I find the cheapest moving boxes?
The cheapest moving boxes can usually be found for free on websites like Craigslist, Nextdoor, or Freecycle. You can also ask around at local liquor stores, book stores, and retail shops. Many online retailers also specialize in discounted moving boxes and packing supplies.
Can I get free moving boxes at Home Depot?
Home Depot may have some moving boxes available for free, but they aren’t guaranteed. To find out if the Home Depot near you offers moving boxes for free, you’ll need to visit on a weekday and ask customer service.
What can I use instead of moving boxes?
Moving boxes aren’t the only vestibule you can use to move items to your new home. In a bind, you can also pack items in laundry baskets, suitcases, garbage bags, and sturdy plastic bins.
What size moving box should I buy?
You should buy a variety of moving box sizes. Most moves require a variety of small, medium, and large moving boxes. If you have specialty items, you will likely want to grab a few specialty boxes as well, such as wardrobe moving boxes or a TV box.
What are some good places to get free moving boxes?
There are many places to acquire free moving boxes, but it is best to check with friends and family first, before heading anywhere else. After that, check social media and Craigslist, or consider making a trip to a local retail store on stocking day.
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