5 Places to Get Moving Boxes

Originally posted on September 16, 2022 3:00 pm
Updated on September 08, 2022 4:41 pm

When preparing for a move, the thought of packing away every single belonging that we own is often so daunting that finding boxes to cram said belongings into can be an imposing additional stressor. Fortunately, we’re here to help unpack the best sources of cardboard boxes for your moving needs—many of which are likely to net you at least a few boxes for free.

Moving Boxes Near Me

1.) Buy boxes online

If you can afford to wait for your boxes to be delivered, buying in bulk online can often result in some amazing deals. Amazon will ship moving boxes of every imaginable size and weight-bearing capability directly to your door, which can be especially useful if you need to box up particularly bulky items. For those looking to reduce the carbon footprint of their move, UsedCardboardBoxes.com provides, as one might imagine, access to dozens of varieties of pre-used cardboard boxes. Uboxes.com also offers a selection of moving kits, each designed for a specific purpose (such as packing up a college dorm or a house of 8-9 rooms), that also includes packing tape and other moving essentials.

2.) Buy boxes in-store

If you’re in a pinch, it may be worth it to run to the store to buy new boxes. This tends to be the fastest and most efficient option, though definitely not the cheapest or most environmentally friendly. Most hardware and home improvement stores, including national chains such as Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards, will sell boxes of varying sizes in-store. The same is true of large department stores such as Walmart and Target and of shipping services like FedEx and UPS. If you’ve nearly finished packing up your apartment but need one or two extra boxes to stuff your last few odds and ends into, these stores can be a convenient option. But, if you have the time and are willing to get creative, it’s very easy to do a bit of searching around elsewhere to find moving boxes at absolutely no cost to you.

3.) Ask nearby businesses for their boxes

Every day, thousands of commercial and consumable goods are shipped across the country to the retail outlets where they will be sold—and once they arrive, these stores then have to dispose of these containers. That doesn’t mean you should immediately resort to dumpster diving, however. Aside from the risk of being caught trespassing, many businesses break down and bale up their boxes after load-in to save room, so you’re likely to turn up empty-handed. Your best bet is to call ahead to request that they hold on to boxes for you. Many businesses are more than happy to provide boxes to those who need them free of charge, especially because it saves their staff the trouble of disposing of them. 

Some stores are a better source of boxes than others. Liquor stores and grocery stores receive shipments of heavy and fragile goods on a near-daily basis, and the types of boxes used to transport these items are usually excellent for moving purposes. Bookstores are also a good bet, as are coffee shops, pet stores, and pharmacies. As a general rule, local businesses and mom-and-pop stores will tend to be more willing to help you out than chains from larger corporations.

4.) Check in with your friends and neighbors

Depending on where you live, chances are there will be folks nearby who have themselves recently moved and now face the predicament of getting rid of their own moving boxes. It’s always worth asking your friends and neighbors or inquiring around at work to see if you have any recently-transplanted acquaintances or co-workers who are more than happy to have you take their boxes off of their hands. For those living in apartments, you can also sometimes “borrow” boxes from your neighbors by snagging them from your building’s communal recycling room—or even directly from your complex’s recycling bin, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty.

If all else fails, try sending out feelers online by making a Facebook post or Instagram story putting out a call for used boxes. You never know who you might be able to connect with!

5.) Search online marketplaces

It can also be helpful to specifically search online exchange websites and virtual marketplaces for moving boxes. Users on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace frequently post requests and offers for cardboard boxes, and it’s common for these items to be listed free of charge as long as you are willing to go pick them up yourself. U-Haul’s Customer Connect website also has a Box Exchange forum that serves as an eco-friendly initiative to encourage customers to share supplies and coordinate rentals together. The Freecylce Network, a grassroots program with similar environmentally-conscious goals, also helps users to communally reuse boxes to divert them from ending up in landfills. Just be sure to use caution and practice Covid safety when meeting up to swap goods with strangers.

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