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Outside The Box

A Moving And Shipping Blog

How Many Boxes Will I Need for my Move, and What Size Should I Get?

Posted in Packing on Nov 12, 2018, tagged with packing boxes, planning

When you’re moving, one of the most difficult things you’ll need to figure out in advance is how many moving boxes you’ll need and what sizes you should stock up on. Between your large items and assorted knick-knacks, it can feel impossible to envision the number of boxes it will take to pack everything up so that it stays safe throughout its travels, especially if you’re not well-versed with the moving process. Never fear—it can be done. We can help:

How many boxes do I need?

Rather than making multiple trips to buy more boxes during the stressful process of packing up your house, try to estimate how many boxes you’ll need before you start packing. Make your best estimate based on the number of rooms you have and the amount of stuff you’re planning to bring, and always err on the side of caution by picking up a few more than you think you’ll need.

PRO TIP: To cut down on the number of boxes you’ll need to buy, start to declutter your home as soon as you know you know you’re going to be moving. Get our decluttering tips.

There are a number of packing calculators available online that can help you estimate what you’ll need, but here is a rough guide to help you get an idea:

Number of Bedrooms Number of Boxes
1-2 8 small boxes
4 medium boxes
4 large boxes
2 wardrobe boxes
2-3 15 small boxes
6 medium boxes
8 large boxes
3 wardrobe boxes
3-5 20 small boxes
12 medium boxes
15 large boxes
6 wardrobe boxes
5-7 30 small boxes
18 medium boxes
25 large boxes
10 wardrobe boxes

Box sizes

Moving boxes come in a range of sizes from small to extra large, as well as in specialty sizes designed for specific items. The variety of box sizes you’ll need is highly dependent on the type and number of belongings you own.

Each box size serves a different purpose and should be used to pack specific types of things. Using different sizes appropriately will not only streamline the packing and unpacking process, it will also make carrying the boxes easier.

PRO TIP: To make lifting and loading the boxes a less painful process, each box should weigh no more than 40 to 45 pounds. Accomplish this by saving heavy items like books for small boxes and using larger boxes for lighter items such as pillows and linens.

Small boxes

Dimensions Weight capacity
16 x 10 x 10
16 x 12.5 x 12.5
60 lbs

These are boxes people often need the most of, because they’re used to pack large quantities of smaller items, such as:

  • Books
  • CDs, DVDs, cassettes, or VHS (if you haven’t gotten rid of yours yet, or you’re a collector)
  • Small appliances
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Dishes
  • Knicknacks
  • Tools
  • Canned food
  • Small decor items
  • Collectibles like pins, figurines
  • Vases

Medium boxes

Dimensions Weight capacity
18 x 14 x 12
18 x 18 x 24
65 lbs

Medium boxes can be used to pack up slightly larger items:

  • Pots and pans
  • Electronics
  • Larger kitchen appliances
  • Decorative items
  • Large books
  • Lamps
  • Clocks
  • Pet supplies
  • Mixing bowls
  • Coffee maker
  • Children’s toys
  • Tupperware
  • Records
  • Larger collectibles

Large boxes

Dimensions Weight capacity
20 x 20 x 15
22 x 22 x 21.5
70 lbs

Be careful not to overfill large boxes just because you have empty space. As we mentioned earlier, try to keep your boxes under 45 pounds to make them easier to carry. To keep them on the lighter side, pack your large boxes with:

  • Pillows
  • Light but large toys, such as stuffed animals
  • Blankets
  • Couch and chair cushions
  • Lampshades
  • Speakers
  • Board games
  • Towels and linens
  • Clothing

Extra-large boxes

Dimensions Weight capacity
23 x 23 x 16
24 x 18 x 24
70 lbs

Extra-large boxes are perfect for large, bulky, or oddly shaped items. Though they are very large, take care not to overpack them and make an impossible-to-lift box. In extra-large boxes, pack:

  • Blankets and comforters
  • Large pillows
  • Sports equipment
  • Seasonal clothing such as winter coats
  • Oversized stuffed animals
  • Towels and linens

Specialized boxes

Some items are oddly shaped and difficult to pack in standard box sizes, or they’re fragile items that require additional care and protection when packing. You will need a specialized box for these items. There are a variety to choose from:

  • Wardrobe boxes - These specialty boxes come in small, medium, and large sizes, and have a metal rod so you can hang important clothing items that shouldn’t be folded or packed flat.
  • Kitchen boxes or dish packs - These boxes have insertable dividers that make them ideal for packing up dishes, glassware, and bottles.
  • Picture boxes - Ideal for picture frames, artwork, and mirrors.
  • Flat-screen T.V. boxes - These boxes are made up of several sturdy pieces so they are customizable to the size of your television. 
  • Lamp boxes - For tall lamps up to 48 inches tall.
  • File or banker boxes - Double-walled so you can hang your files
  • Mattress boxes - For additional protection or long-term storage, you can pack your mattress in a mattress box after wrapping it. Typically available in sizes from crib to california king.

Conclusion

Moving is a stressful time. There’s a lot that needs to get done, supplies that need to be picked up, and a limited amount of time to work with. Make the process a little less painful by grabbing all the supplies you need ahead of time, so you’re not always having to stop packing to run out to the store andgrab more boxes or tape. If you’re not sure how many you’ll need, don’t worry—estimating the number of boxes you need is easier than you think. You just have to consider:

  • How big your home is
  • How many people are living in your home
  • How much stuff there is to pack

And always pick up a few more than your estimate, just to be safe.