10 Places to Get Moving Boxes for Free

published May 1, 2018
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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Moving is a lot of work. Well in advance, you create checklists and gather resources for the big day. At the top of most lists is collecting moving boxes. Cardboard boxes are one moving expense that can be had for free — here are our favorite spots to grab them.

  1. Craigslist: Do a quick search in the free section (found underneath the “for sale” heading). On our quick check we found at least 20 sources for free boxes.
  2. Freecycle: Join your local group and put out the word or search to see if anyone is already offering them.
  3. Liquor stores: Boxes from liquor stores tend to be small and sturdy — great for fragile kitchen glasses and pantry ingredients.
  4. Bookstores: The books have to get to the bookstores somehow. And your cookbooks have to get from your old place to your new one.
  5. Grocery stores: Ask the manager to save apple boxes for you to pick up — these freebies are perfect for moving fragile items.
  6. McDonald’s fry boxes: We first learned about this solution from an Apartment Therapy reader. We were curious and dug a little deeper. Apparently, these boxes are strong and also excellent for hauling heavy items that require a smaller-sized box. Because the original contents of the box are frozen, you won’t have to worry about the boxes being smelly (or greasy).
  7. Starbucks: Having worked at Starbucks a long, long time ago, I know from experience that a store will receive at least one or two shipments per week (so it’s a good chance that they’ll have boxes on a weekly basis). Because Starbucks boxes range in size, ask them to hold their larger-sized containers for moving lighter, bulkier items.
  8. U-haul box exchange: U-haul has created a message board, which allows you to search by location for free boxes in your area.
  9. Schools: Schools get a ton of deliveries. Try connecting with the janitorial staff and offer to take boxes off their hands and save them the time of breaking them down for recycling.
  10. Your workplace: If you take public transportation to work, it’s likely not worth it. But if you drive, ask your office manager or the folks at the loading dock if they have any clean boxes you can have. If they don’t, tell them your move date and ask them to set some aside for you to pick up another day.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 10 Places to Get Moving Boxes Free of Charge

What are some other ways you’ve gotten moving boxes free of charge? Tell us in the comments below!