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Where to Get Free Boxes

25 Places to Find Free Moving Boxes Near You

If you’re moving soon, you might be wondering “where can I find moving boxes near me?” Better yet – where can you find free moving boxes? After all, brand new moving boxes aren’t cheap. From hiring a moving company to renting a storage unit, the process of moving to a new home already comes with a handful of necessary expenses. Just think about it: The average cost of a local move is $1,250 and the average cost of a long-distance move is $4,890 (distance of 1,000 miles). Out of all of the moving costs, forking over one’s hard-earned money for a simple cardboard box is not ideal. As soon as the move is finished, you’ll only be recycling that $25 bundle of bankers boxes, anyway.

Thankfully, there are ways to avoid spending big bucks on moving boxes. Finding free moving supplies near you from various stores, online marketplaces and community groups, could save hundreds of dollars on moving expenses. With the exception of a few specialty boxes designed to fit certain TVs and mirrors, you could potentially move your entire home using free boxes.

How much do moving boxes cost?

According to CostHelper.com, typical costs for boxes run anywhere from $1 for a small box to $3.75 for an extra large one. However, specialty boxes (think: wardrobe boxes that allow you to store clothing on hangers and mirror boxes) cost much more. Packing paper runs $9 per pack on average, glass-packing kits cost $10 to $15 per box, and kitchen kits designed for packing glasses and dishes cost around $102.

A moving kit for a one-bedroom apartment runs $69-$90 and includes anywhere from 14 to 29 boxes. A moving kit for a two-bedroom house runs $178-$197 and contains 55-60 packing boxes. And a moving kit for a four-bedroom house runs $311-$404 and contains 86-119 boxes. (All kits also contain other supplies like packing tape, bubble wrap and markers.)

Here’s what you can expect to spend per cardboard moving box:

  • Small moving boxes: $1 to $1.70 each
  • Medium moving boxes: $2.35 to $2.79 each
  • Large moving boxes: $3 each
  • Extra-large moving boxes: $3.75 each
  • Wardrobe moving boxes: $8 each to $12 each
  • Picture boxes: $10 each

How many moving boxes do I need?

Generally, a studio move will require about $97 worth of boxes. You’ll need about $124 worth of boxes to move a one-bedroom home and about $178 worth of boxes for a three-bedroom home.

To figure out how many boxes you’ll need, use this packing calculator. The estimate will be based on the number of bedrooms in your home, the number of people you’re packing up, your packing style, and other factors.

Weight is also important. Moving boxes can hold about 30 to 150 pounds each depending on their size and whether they are single- or double-walled. If you overstuff them they might break.

25 Places to Find Free Moving Boxes Near You

Wondering where to get moving boxes in your area? Below, we’ve listed 25 places to find free boxes near you to ensure your move is as cost-efficient as possible. Happy box hunting!

U-Haul Box Exchange

The U-Haul Customer Connect Box Exchange feature allows people from all over the country to connect and find moving supplies. All you have to do is enter your location and/or a keyword, such as “Free Boxes,” to find someone near you who is giving away moving boxes. Usually, the people giving away moving boxes are folks who have recently moved themselves, and need to get a mountain of flattened moving boxes out of their house ASAP.

Craigslist

This online marketplace is a popular place to find just about everything. From couches for sale to job listings, your local Craigslist page is packed with an overwhelming number of great finds. The website even has a “Free” section, where locals can list the belongings they wish to give away. You can find it under “For Sale,” listed in chronological order. We recommend starting here to see if anyone is giving away moving boxes. You can also post your own ad to let people know you’re in the market for free boxes and supplies.

The Freecycle Network

Check The Freecycle Network while looking for free boxes. Similar to Craigslist, the non-profit Freecycle is a great way to find free stuff in your community. All you have to do is sign up (for free) to join your local Freecycle community group. Then, simply post in the network that you’re looking for free moving boxes.

Facebook Marketplace

This popular social media networking site allows users to list and advertise items to anyone in the world. It also makes it easy to find local items available for easy pickup. To find free boxes through Facebook Marketplace, simply type “free boxes” in the search tab. We recommend filtering the search by location, so that you can find free moving boxes in your general vicinity.

Nextdoor.com

Next time you’re wondering where to get moving boxes, check your local online community groups for answers. If you haven’t joined the Nextdoor.com neighborhood hub, then you should. Not only can you find helpful information about the area (think: city news, neighborhood updates, local services, etc.), but you can also find loads of free stuff being given away by your neighbors. Oftentimes, this includes moving boxes. The community platform hosts a “Classifieds” section devoted to goods for sale and free giveaways. Think of it as one big online garage sale in your neighborhood. If you don’t see any free moving boxes listed in the Classifieds section, simply post what you’re looking for and neighbors should respond quickly.

OfferUp

OfferUp is a mobile marketplace app that has absorbed another, similar app, Letgo. If you type “free boxes” in the search window, you’ll see all the local listings for the boxes people are willing to let go of.

Large retailers

You can be sure that large retailers will have a massive amount of boxes sitting around in the back. After all, they’re called “big-box stores” for a reason. With shipments coming in every day, you should be able to find just about every kind of box at your local Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Office Depot, Target, K-Mart and Best Buy – among others. Also consider dollar stores, shoe stores, sporting goods stores and gigantic home supply stores like IKEA. Pro tip: If you come to the store when the employees are stocking the shelves you can fill your cart with boxes in minutes. Of course, always ask first.

Liquor stores

Live near a wine and liquor store? It’s not a bad idea to pop in and ask the manager if you can take some boxes off their hands. Liquor stores receive a slew of shipments every week, which can easily be turned into moving boxes. Boxes from liquor stores are partitioned, so they could be good for packing wine glasses and other fragile items. Larger liquor stores receive more boxes than they know what to do with, so don’t be shy about asking!

Bookstores

Large-chain bookstores and small, locally-owned bookstores, alike, should have plenty of boxes you can use to pack up your knick-knacks, smaller items and (of course) books. You can also be sure that these heavy duty boxes will be anything but flimsy, given how heavy books happen to be. Keep in mind that you can ask local college and university bookstores for extra boxes as well.

Grocery stores

Both large grocery store chains and small grocers should have plenty of large boxes up for grabs. Grocery stores receive shipments weekly, sometimes daily, to maintain a fresh produce inventory, so there’s no telling how many sturdy boxes they recycle every day. Next time you are grocery shopping, we recommend letting a manager know that you’re moving soon, and would love to take those extra grocery store boxes off of their hands. They’ll happily let you take the boxes home with you.

Pharmacies

Similar to the other large retailers, chain pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS receive regular shipments of goods several times a week. You’ve probably noticed those large dumpsters behind the store filled to the brim with flattened boxes. We recommend calling ahead or asking inside the store what would be a good time to get some boxes so it coincides with the next shipment.

Arts, crafts and hobby stores

Try your nearest Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Jo-Ann or Utrecht store. Like other retailers, they get a lot of shipments of boxes of various sizes. So whether you need large moving boxes or small moving boxes, you should be able to findthe box sizes you need.

Coffee shops

Neighborhood coffee shops, both large chains like Starbucks and small-biz local ones, receive regular shipments of supplies like coffee, coffee-making supplies, food, and so on. You can score a range of different sizes of boxes, small ones in particular.

Bars

Like with the liquor stores, bars are great spots to scout for free moving boxes, those with partitions in particular (great for glasses). You just need to ask about the days the shipments come so you’re not too late. Smaller businesses tend to get rid of their boxes quickly as they don’t have the space to store them. And, if you happen to be moving around a holiday, even better. St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve and the Super Bowl are especially big drinking holidays, and bars stock up accordingly.

Restaurants

Restaurants – fast-food restaurants in particular – get a ton of perishable shipments pretty much daily. That means a regular influx of boxes – and a good resource to get free moving boxes. Just stay away from the boxes that have food stains on them as you’ll be risking your stuff smelling like whatever leaked in that box.

Offices

Why not use boxes from your workplace? With reams of paper being delivered every single day, you’re sure to find a slew of paper boxes with lids laying around and file boxes. If you work in a large office, chances are good that they have a recycling room somewhere in the building.

Recycling drop-off points

Ever been to a recycling drop-off location? It’s like hitting the moving box jackpot. Most cities have multiple recycling drop-off locations that accept flattened corrugated cardboard. Assuming these boxes are in good enough shape to use again, you’re likely to find multiple moving boxes for your relocation.

Auto shops

Local auto parts, auto repair, and oil change and brake shops regularly receive shipments of car parts and supplies. If you go in and ask, you might score some large boxes.

Apartment complexes

Apartment complexes tend to have a lot of people moving in and out, which makes them a good source to get some free boxes. You can either look for recycling bins on premises (ask for permission first) or ask at the apartment complex office.

College dorms

If you are moving around the beginning or the end of the school year, college dorms will see a lot of students moving in or out. You should be able to find both large moving moves and small moving boxes.

Friends and family

The easiest way to find free boxes is by simply asking your friends and family. Knock on doors, text, and call around to see if anyone has extra boxes from recent deliveries, or possibly from moving, themselves. In today’s world, where everyone is plugged in 24/7, you can also just post a status on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to let friends know that you are looking for moving supplies.

Yard and garage sales

Yard and garage sales are guaranteed to have boxes, so stop by and ask if they’d be willing to part with a few. If you come toward the end of the sale, even better.

Someone in the neighborhood who just moved

Maybe it’s your neighbor next door or someone down the block – take a walk in your neighborhood and see if anyone has moved recently. The telltale sign would be boxes set out for recycling on the curb (we recommend asking for permission to take them). Or ask around to see who had just moved in. Chances are, they have a ton of boxes they cannot wait to get rid of.

Schools

Chances are good that there are multiple elementary, middle and high schools in your area. Call up the front office, and ask if they have any boxes lying around. The beginning of the school year is a good time to check, as the school will be getting a slew of book and school supply shipments in the fall.

Libraries

Books are heavy, so the boxes they’re packed into must be sturdy enough to accommodate the weight. They will be perfect for your books and smaller items, as well as clothes and shoes.

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