My Dad was in the military when I was growing up and that meant moving every two to four years as we got assigned new duty stations. That gives us plenty of experience and also makes me dread moving again that much more.
Even after my dad retired we still seemed to end up moving every two to four years. Sometimes it was a new job for my dad and other times it was me leaving for college, moving into an apartment or switching jobs myself. The one good thing about moving so many times is I now know how to move my stuff pretty well!
In addition to learning how to move I’ve also learned how to save money while moving. One of the biggest costs can be packing materials (moving boxes, wrapping paper, bubble wrap, etc.) and I’m going to share with you how I managed to get these items for free!
How and Where to Get Free Boxes for Moving
The how part of getting free boxes is the easiest part. All you have to do is ask someone who has some spare boxes! The real question is where is that person that has some spare boxes and how do you locate them!
One of the best places to search for free moving boxes is craigslist, especially if you live in an area where people move often such as near a military base. I generally find my boxes in the free section of craigslist. These boxes tend to be the highest quality boxes because they’re normally moving boxes.
The last two times we’ve moved I’ve found my boxes on craigslist. The first time we got a ton of great moving boxes and supplies from a couple who had just moved back to the US from Korea (military). Just last weekend I was able to get a ton of great moving boxes and supplies from a couple that moved to the US from Germany for a three year position in their company.
If there aren’t any boxes posted for free on craigslist you can always try putting up a wanted ad. I haven’t ever had to do it but you might get a response for someone looking to get rid of all of the boxes out of their freshly unpacked house!
Liquor Stores and Grocery Stores
Liquor stores and grocery stores are great places to get boxes. These won’t be your standard moving boxes but most of them are pretty sturdy, especially liquor store boxes. The items we buy have to get to the liquor and grocery stores safely and most of them come in boxes.
Ask to speak to the store manager and let them know that you’re going to be moving soon. Ask if they have any boxes they can spare and when would be a good time to come pick them up. If the store allows you to get the boxes it will likely be after they receive a shipment from their supplier.
Some stores won’t allow you to take boxes though. Why? They actually sell their boxes to recyclers after they break them down and bale them.
In fact, I doubt you’ll ever get a box from Wal-Mart for this reason. Wal-Mart goes as far as to print the value of each box right on the box. I’ve seen some boxes say something like “This box is worth $0.42 to Wal-Mart. Make sure you break it down and recycle it.”
Another option for a place to get boxes is your employer! If your place of employment orders any type of supplies or use cases of paper on a regular basis you should be able to find some boxes at work. Just ask to see if whoever unpacks the supplies could hold some for you instead of throwing them away.
This worked great for me when I moved to Florida. I worked for an accounting firm before I moved and we use a TON of paper to print the tax returns we delivered to our clients. They saved all of the paper boxes for me and they worked great because they’re sturdy and they’re all the same size so I could stack them easily.
If you work in a hospital you may be able to get medical supply boxes as well. No matter where you work, try to think of something you use that comes in boxes and chances are you might be able to score some free boxes.
Make Sure the Boxes Are Fit For Your Use
Make sure that the boxes you get will work for you before you take them home. If the boxes won’t suit your purpose and you take them home you’re going to be the one stuck getting rid of them. Having extra junk cluttering up your house is the last thing you need when you’re moving.
How often have you moved? Do you have any other tips for getting free boxes? Let us know in the comments down below!
Photo by: Meathead Movers