The cost of moving is enough to put anyone in a stress bubble for a while. Putting down a security deposit on a rental, or a down payment on a home is already enough to put a dent in most budgets. Then, you have to factor in the cost of movers, paying off old utility bills, and sometimes putting a deposit down with the new service providers. Fortunately, if you put forth a tiny bit of effort, you won’t have to add to these expenses by paying for moving boxes. There are plenty of places where you can find free boxes, so don’t even think about wasting your money buying moving boxes.
Office Supply Store
The first place you want to call or stop in is your local office supply store. Places like Office Max and Staples typically have those super strong boxes that packs of computer paper come in. They are perfect for everything from pots and pans to books to DVDs. Plus, since they have a lid, you don’t need to use tape with them. Even if they do not have any of these boxes, the still will likely have others that are strong enough for heavy items.
No one has to tell you how heavy books are. The boxes that they are shipped in are more than capable of handling whatever you pack in them. Most bookstores get a shipment in once or twice a week. If you live in a major city where the bookstore sees a ton of daily traffic, shipments may be more frequent.
Check out Barnes & Noble, Borders, or whatever store you happen to have in your area for free moving boxes.
Bars and Restaurants
Liquor boxes are extremely strong. Most of the ones you find in these venues don’t have lids because they are delivered with a plastic-wrapped top, so it is easy to check-in inventory. These are great for plants, toiletries, clothes, and other things you are taking in your car. Restaurants will have a French fry, produce, and dry storage boxes. The great thing about picking them up from these places is the bar back or dishwasher is often eager to help you carry them to your car. The more you take, the less they have to break down and haul to the dumpster.
Unless someone else who is moving beats you there on whatever day you stop in, you can almost always count on your local grocer having free moving boxes. If you are really lucky, you can get your hands on banana boxes that are fairly large and very strong.
Unless you live in a very remote area, there is a very good chance that you have a Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid around the corner from you; maybe even all three. You can almost always find boxes at these stores. You may want to call ahead and let them know you are coming. This way, they won’t break them down, and it will save you from having to tape them back together. Simply stack the small boxes into medium boxes, and medium into large, so you can fit more in your car.
The great thing about liquor stores is that they get the same boxes bars get, but they have lids. This is often the first place many people hit up for free moving boxes first, so it is not a bad idea to call ahead. You can buy beer for your friends coming to help you pack while you’re here.
Home Improvement Stores
Places like Lowes and Home Depot will generally have a ton of boxes, but sometimes actually finding someone who can “okay” you to take some, and tell you where to pick them up is a challenge. You often have better luck at Ace, ACO, or your locally-owned small hardware stores. It is never hard to find a manager or owner at these places. No to mention, they may just give you a coupon to use when you need to buy home improvement or garden items for your new place.
Use Unpakt’s Box Guide to help you estimate how many moving boxes you will need to find.