In a perfect world, you’d buy high-quality boxes that are specifically made for moving home. But in the real world, these can get expensive, and it’s just not in the moving budget (which can get expensive fast).
To save yourself some money, there are plenty of local places where you’ll find good-quality, free boxes you can use to pack your belongings.
In this post, we’ll share the top places you can find free moving boxes and help you figure out how many you’ll need for your move.
Want to know how much your move to Boulder will cost? Check out our post where we help you work out all the costs.
Where to Find Free Moving Boxes
Even if you’re moving during Covid-19, there are so many great places you can get free boxes to save yourself some money on your move:
If you have a local recycling center in your zip code, give them a call and ask if they have boxes you can take off their hands. People tend to take stockpiles of cardboard to recycle centers, so they probably have an overflow of boxes they wouldn’t mind you taking.
Always ask if you can take boxes from a recycling center before you do though, they might have policies in place stopping you from doing it.
Supermarket boxes are sturdy since they transport bottles and large quantities of food. Most grocery stores have set stock days, go to your local store on a restock day and ask a manager if they have any packing boxes you can have.
Facebook community groups or the Facebook Marketplace are a great place to ask for free boxes. Most people have some old boxes lying around they’d be happy to get rid of. Or you could ask people to save their delivery boxes for you and go collect them when they have them available.
Don’t forget to message family and friends to let them know you’re collecting cardboard boxes too. They’ll save any they get for you to help out.
Schools get regular deliveries of books, uniforms, supplies, etc. so will also have a surplus of boxes. If you have kids, get them to ask a teacher if there are spare boxes you could pick up.
If not, give them a ring on the day and ask if they have any spare boxes you could take off their hands. Just like stores, they’ll be happy they have less to recycle.
Liquor stores boxes are big and strong – perfect for moving. Bottles of alcohol are heavy, so they need big, sturdy boxes for deliveries. Ring up your local liquor stores and ask if they have any spare boxes or when they’ll have their next shipment day for you to pop in for.
Are there local restaurants in your neighborhood? While you’re calling different businesses, give them a call, too. Most restaurants get frequent shipments (every couple of days) so they may be able to put some boxes aside for you.
Craigslist has a great “free” section that has everything from sofas to workout gear. You might be able to find a post for free boxes there.
Alternatively, you could set up your own ad look for free boxes. You might get lucky and find someone local who has just finished moving into their house and wants to get rid of their boxes.
If you’re driving around your neighborhood and spot a yard sale, pull over and ask if they have any spare boxes they want to get rid of. People usually start yard sales with tons of boxes filled with stuff, by the end of the day they’ll probably have some boxes they’d like gone.
Coffee shops like Starbucks are another great spot. They get regular deliveries of bulky items so will have a lot of sturdy cardboard boxes left. And since these are smaller shops, they’ll be happy to offload their unwanted boxes instead of filling up their recycling bins.
How Many Free Moving Boxes Do You Need?
The number of boxes you need will depend on the size of your home. The larger your space, the more boxes you’ll need. Here’s a quick guide to give you an idea of how many boxes you’ll need to collect:
- 15 small boxes
- 18-20 medium boxes
- 10 large boxes
- 4-5 extra-large boxes
- 35 small boxes
- 36-38 medium boxes
- 20 large boxes
- 8-10 extra-large boxes
Don’t be worried about having too many boxes. It’s always best to have too many than not enough to pack your belongings well.
Choosing the Right Size Box for all Your Possessions
You’ll need a range of different box sizes to pack all your belongings. Here’s a quick guide to help you figure out what size boxes you’ll need:
- Small (16″ x 12″ x 12″): Perfect for books, DVDs, small gadgets, and fragile items.
- Medium (18″ x 16″ x 18″): Perfect for towels, bedding, and larger decorative items.
- Large (18″ x 18″ x 24”): Perfect for small appliances, curtains, and throw pillows.
- Extra-large (24″ x 20″ x 24”): Perfect for large lightweight items like comforters, pillows, larger kitchen items, and sports equipment. Try not to pack heavy items in large boxes – they’ll be too hard to lift.
Need Help Packing?
Getting a good supply of boxes is just the first step in the packing process, but it will make life so much easier having plenty of quality boxes to grab.
If you’re finding the process of packing up all of your belongings a bit daunting and you’re not sure where to begin, check out our guide on our go-to packing tips to make the job easier.