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13 Places to Get Free Moving Boxes

November 20, 2018

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Everyone knows there are three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and that moving isn’t cheap. Between hiring a moving truck, whatever you end up paying in transportation fees, and having to put a down-payment or deposit on a new place, moving costs can add up quickly. Fortunately, there is one typical moving expense that you can actually get for free: packing supplies. More specifically, you can find cardboard boxes to pack your belongings in pretty easily if you know where to look. Below are 13 places you can find free moving boxes for your next move.

1. Nextdoor App

If you don’t have this app already, you should, and you can download it here. Once you sign up, you can “join” your neighborhood board to see what your neighbors are posting about. Typical topics of conversation are weekly happenings, crime reports, yard sales, and help wanted notices. Often times you’ll find people posting about free moving boxes right on the newsfeed. If not, you can post your own question asking if anyone has any packing materials you can take off their hands or if they know anyone who recently moved and may have some extra supplies left over.

2. Friends and Neighbors

You never know what your friends are stockpiling in their basements. It is not uncommon to find some of your closest acquaintances have a stack of boxes laying around that they’ve been saving for a moment like this.

3. Freecycle

Freecycle is an awesome community network with over 9 million members worldwide. Groups are moderated by local volunteers and membership is free! Log on, sign up to join your local community group and see what people are offering for no cost. You can also post that you’re looking for moving supplies and wait to see if anyone responds.

4. Office Buildings

First, check your own office to see if there are any boxes left over from recent shipments. If not, stop by the offices of businesses in your area and ask at reception if they know where any unclaimed boxes may be. Large corporate offices tend to have recycling rooms so that would probably be your best bet.

5. Schools

During the back to school season schools are getting a lot of supply shipments for their classrooms. Usually these supplies are ordered in bulk, meaning bigger boxes for your larger items.

6. Liquor Stores

Liquor stores are basically known for having boxes on top of boxes from their shipments of alcohol. These boxes are built to be sturdy, since they had to transport heavy liquid. This means they are more likely to hold up when you’re attempting to shove your entire shoe collection in one box. They also sometimes come with separators built in, which are perfect to pack fragile items like glassware.

7. Big Box Stores

Think Walmart, Costco, Petsmart, or Target. All of these types of retail locations are also getting inventory deliveries all the time. They’re also more likely to have object specific or large boxes for things like televisions and mirrors.

8. Grocery Stores

Similar to the aforementioned retail stores, grocery stores are getting weekly loads of food to stock their shelves. Many discard their boxes in a designated place, normally behind the building, to be picked up by a crew and brought to recycling centers. Cardboard in these locations are going to be recycled anyways so might as well recycle them yourself into moving supplies!

9. Office Supply Stores

Stores like Staples and Office Depot are perfect if you're looking for boxes with lids. You know those boxes you've seen that reams of paper are usually sold in? These types of containers are great because you don't even need packing tape to seal them up!

10. Craigslist

Believe it or not, there is a specific board on Craigslist for finding or relinquishing free boxes for pick up. You can search through the listings and images to find the boxes you need, or you can post about certain sized boxes that you’re looking for and hope someone responds.

11. U-Haul Box Exchange

Almost identical to Freecycle, U-Haul has set up their own Customer Connect - an online network for finding and offering up spare boxes. All you need to do is enter your location on the website and find someone near you who is giving away their boxes.

12. Mobile Selling Apps

While it can be somewhat rare to find people giving away items for free on apps like Letgo and OfferUp, it isn’t unheard of. Many people are putting their belongings up for sale because they recently moved and don’t have room for all of their stuff in their new place. Shoot them a message to see if they have any leftover moving boxes they’d be willing to give you.

13. Facebook/Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace works the same way as mobile selling apps. People post items they’re looking to sell or have taken off their hands so you may be able to find someone getting rid of boxes there. If not, you can post on your own feed that you’re looking for moving supplies and hope your friends pull through.

We’re confident that you’ll find free moving boxes in at least one of these places so make sure to check them out! As you know, moving can be expensive so saving money anywhere will make your bank account smile.

Have you found free moving boxes in places not mentioned in this list? Share your tips with us by tagging @ApartmentList on Twitter or Instagram.

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Nicole DiCenso
Nicole is a Marketing Specialist and contributing author at Apartment List where she writes content on rental life and trends. Nicole previously worked in sales at HubSpot and Forrester and has a BA in Marketing from Bryant University. Read More

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