Moving to a new home is an exciting time. And an average American moves about 11 times in their lifetime. Considering the life experience you get by meeting new people and knowing new lifestyles, it is amazing. However, moving is also an expensive affair.
While you are serious about moving but concerned about how to relocate on a minimum budget, you need to know that moving boxes play a major role in determining the moving cost, and getting boxes for free can help you relocate cheaply.
Now you may ask the question – “But where to find free boxes?”
Fortunately, we lay down here 15 places where you can find free boxes.
Here are the places where we can find free boxes for moving
Craiglist is perhaps the best place to find free things for all sections and moving boxes are no different. An online marketplace, Craiglist has moving boxes of all sizes on offer. Just go straight to the ‘Free’ section to check the items that people prefer giving away. There will be everything from couches to footwear and you need to search for free moving boxes. There will be boxes of different sizes and you have greater chances of finding quality boxes at the beginning of the week as people would have just moved in on weekend. You can also put an ad asking for moving boxes and those having them will inform you.
Just like Craiglist, Freecycle is also a great place to find free moving boxes. Just sign up (for free) to join the local online Freecycle group and see if free moving boxes are available. Moving boxes may be available at multiple sources and you may never know where. Once you start searching, you may receive responses within an hour. Freecycle has members who care about the environment and who think about how to make use of their boxes which are no longer required at home. When you’re lucky, you will get boxes of your required sizes within a short time.
This online community is helpful not just to find the neighborhood services, updates, and news but also to find free moving boxes. When you join Nextdoor.com, you will come to know about loads of free stuff given away by neighbours and that includes moving boxes. If lucky, you will get the perfect conditioned boxes of multiple sizes that may perfectly suit your demands. The ‘Classifieds’ section on Nextdoor.com with a large cache of goods for sale and free takeaways may seem like an online garage sale in the neighborhood and you can make the best use of it. If you fail to find moving boxes, just raise a request with descriptions of what you are looking for and within hours, you will find positive responses.
- U-Haul Customer Connect
U-Haul recently launched this service to help you find moving boxes from people who have recently moved in and want to get rid of them. This service is available across the country. This way U-Haul ensures an environment-friendly service and you get the opportunity to collect free moving boxes. Enter your zip code or city into the search box and you’ll find the moving boxes near you.
- Liquor stores
Walk into the nearby liquor store and check with the store manager if there are boxes that they want to get rid of. Every time, stock arrives in sturdy and durable cardboard cartons, and normally shops would dump them in the garbage after unpacking. Each store will have boxes of different sizes and check with multiple liquor shops. If lucky, you will get some good boxes in which you can wrap your belongings.
- Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble book stores need to be your next target. Why? Because books travel in sturdy boxes and each Barnes & Noble store will have many boxes which they may offer you happily. Just try your luck and always remember to be there on time, which means when they receive book shipments as many people might know this trick.
Do not be limited to just Barnes & Noble. Instead, check with every bookstore in the neighborhood. Usually, no bookstore will stop you from taking home a few boxes as it would relieve them from the headache of disposing of them.
We love Starbucks for coffee. And to make premium coffee, the coffee shop needs coffee grounds, machines, filters, flavorings, and cream. How do they come every week? Little nice boxes of different sizes and about 2-3 shipments happen normally every week. This means, your neighborhood Starbucks would have dozens of boxes. Just get in touch with the store manager and ask for boxes. I am sure you will find cardboard cartons of multiple sizes with ease.
- Local classifieds
Local classifieds marketplaces have thousands of listings that are your local folks giving away free boxes. A simple search can get you boxes but remember that there might be hundreds of other people waiting for boxes. While you can get free boxes there, sometimes people sell boxes for $1. This is a great place to find free or cheap boxes for moving.
- Grocery shops
It is no surprise that grocery shops near you have plenty of boxes as they receive shipments almost every day. The sturdy boxes then travel to recycling plants but when you talk to the store manager next time, he will be only happy to spare you some, especially when you are his regular customer. There’s no reason you shouldn’t approach a grocery shop near you and pick a few boxes. The boxes will be of different sizes and it becomes easier to get pack items of different sizes.
Your nearby pharmacy will have boxes as medicines stocks are regularly shipped in cardboard cartons. Once the delivery is made, the chemist will move these boxes to a recycling unit and when you inform them about your decision to relocate the home and need for boxes, the chemist will happily hand them over for no charge. Just see this next time when you visit the pharmacy.
- Friends and family
Before you visit any grocery shop or a bookstore, knock on the doors of your friend’s or relatives’ homes to check whether they have got boxes. There can be extra boxes from recent deliveries. If someone has moved recently, things become easier. You can even check with friends on Facebook, WhatsApp, or such apps for moving boxes.
Why shouldn’t you check whether your office has got empty boxes? Perhaps some new shipment would have arrived at the office and the boxes might have staked somewhere. They won’t mind you picking up a few boxes, especially when you’re an employee. Even if you are not an employee, it won’t refuse your boxes. If your boss feels it cool to take a few of them, grab them home.
- Recycling drop off points
Haven’t you visited the recycling point in your city? Almost every city will have one. And it is here that cardboard boxes are flattened. Visit a recycling point in your area and it would be like hitting a jackpot. You’ll find plenty of boxes in multiple sizes.
- Schools or colleges
Interestingly, schools and colleges in your area are also places to check for free boxes. A lot of items reach the schools and colleges from time to time. The boxes that carry these items might be lying around. Though most boxes might have been recycled, there can be many left behind. Just ask the front desk and you can take home some of them.
Try Letgo or a similar app where you can see free listings in addition to regular buys. Search for ‘boxes’ in your area and check the word ‘Free’ across the listings to get free boxes on offer.
While you move home, the safety of your household belongings will be the priority. A trustworthy moving company at your side can make you relaxed during the process. Here are the top-rated movers in the US.
Is there anything specific that I need to know while box hunting?
While you hunt for boxes to wrap your belongings, it is important to keep in mind a few dos and don’ts.
- Get permission for taking boxes
Do not just rush into an office and start searching among the trash for boxes. This is not just fair but is even illegal. Approach the front desk and ask permission to do that. It would be better if you seek an appointment over the call and request if you could check the boxes to see whether there are some suitable pieces. Do not show you are in a hurry and also ensure you’re not breaking any law by taking out boxes. If someone is not willing to give you boxes, do not hurt with your words or actions. This is an etiquette you need to follow.
- Don’t take broken boxes
While you pick boxes, ensure they are intact as a torn-up box won’t hold up well during a move. This is because you may have many hard items that may be moved roughly. And when the box is not sturdy, it may not succeed in moving efficiently. Moving boxes that are wet, warped, broken, or torn should not be used to move belongings.
- Give advertisements that you are looking for free boxes
There are plenty of websites where you can advertise asking for free boxes. From Facebook Marketplace to Nextdoor.com, you can raise a request for boxes and, surely, you will start receiving responses within a short time. There may be people in your neighborhood that would have recently moved in. And when they come to know that you need boxes, they would be only too happy to help you. By letting others know you need it, your chances to find free boxes become easier.
- Never use dirty or smelly boxes
Just like skipping boxes in poor condition, you need to avoid smelly or dirty boxes as well. Do not pick boxes that were previously holding food or items that emitted a strong odor. This is because you do not want the household items to smell like the food items. A big way to avoid this mistake is not to pick boxes from trash or restaurants.
- Never accept boxes from strangers
While you do box hunting, skip strangers and their boxes. Instead, pick from boxes from a Facebook Marketplace ad. Confirm you go to pick boxes along with a friend and the area where you agree to meet should also be well lit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need specialty boxes?
The need for specialty boxes is based on the household belongings you have. When you have normal belongings, ordinary cardboard boxes will do. However, if you have appliances and electronics items, it is better to pack them in special boxes for their utmost safety.
Won’t a moving company provide moving boxes?
Should I compromise on box quality as it would save the moving cost?
Never! The safety of your belongings is the most important factor to consider while moving. Even if you are getting boxes for free, do not use them unless they are sturdy enough to hold your belongings. Also, do not pick smelly or dirty boxes just because they are free or are available cheap. Discuss in detail with your mover as most professional ones can guide you through the process.