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Where to Get Free Moving Boxes

Posted in Packing on Jan 07, 2015, tagged with packing materials

Between hiring movers or renting a truck, making necessary updates, and packing up your stuff, moving can be extremely expensive. One simple way to reduce the cost of your move (and your carbon footprint) is to use used moving boxes instead of buying brand new boxes. Many people, as well as businesses, are overwhelmed with the number of boxes they have, and will be happy to get rid of them. 

As long as they are in good condition, used boxes can be used for packing up the majority of your belongings. Anything especially heavy, fragile, valuable, or sentimental should be packed into a new box for added strength and security.

The trick to finding free moving boxes is to know where to look. Check out these sources:

Start with friends, family and neighbors

As soon as you find out you're moving, ask around and find out if any of your friends or family have boxes they are willing to give to you. If someone does have boxes, it is most likely because they recently moved or purchased something and are currently trying to figure out what to do with all of the boxes. You are their solution! 

Try Craigslist or check with your Facebook community

Check marketplace listings in your area, such as Craigslist, Freecycle, or Facebook Marketplace. If someone is looking to get rid of boxes, they will have no problem giving them to you for way less than you'd spend if you bought them new—or better yet, for free. 

Ask local shops

If neither of the two options above works out, try making a trip around town and checking with local stores. Stop in at:

  • Department stores
  • Liquor stores: Boxes from liquor stores tend to be small and strong—ideal for books, CDs, and other small belongings.
  • Office supply stores
  • Book stores
  • Electronic stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Schools
  • Your workplace

We do not recommend going dumpster diving at these locations. Go into the store and speak with the store manager and ask if they have any available boxes, ideally with lids. 

PACKING TIP: If you are using used boxes, make sure they are strong and secure before you box anything up. Check for rips and tears, and use extra tape when you assemble them. 

When not to use used boxes

While you can easily use used boxes for some of your belongings, there are times when you should always use a new box:

  • Heavy items, such as books
  • Valuable items, such as electronics or expensive pieces
  • Fragile items, such as family heirlooms, dishes, or glassware
  • Sentimental items
  • Clothing


Finding used boxes for your move can help keep your costs low. Get used moving boxes from:

  • Friends and family
  • Craigslist, Freecycle, or Facebook Marketplace
  • Local shops, schools, and businesses

Once you've acquired your moving supplies, you can start packing! Keep moving with our packing guide.