The hardest work is over: you’ve moved to a new city, unpacked in your new home, and started settling into your new routine. Thank goodness for those full-service movers who did all the heavy lifting for you. There’s just one issue: what should you do with all of those used moving boxes? It’s a shame to just get rid of them, so here are some ideas to repurpose or re-home your moving materials.
Moving boxes are generally sturdy and variably sized, so reuse them as storage for your seasonal items like holiday decorations, season-specific clothes, or seldom-used things like wrapping paper. Don’t forget to re-label once you have repurposed them! Alternatively, use the smaller ones to send packages or wrap gifts, and one of the larger boxes to store the smaller ones for future use.
Pass them on
Offer them first to family and friends, particularly anyone who is moving or dealing with putting things in storage. Charities can also be a great place for boxes, as they often have donations that need to be boxed and transported or know of people who need moving materials. Spaces like Craigslist or your local Freecycle or NextDoor are also a great place to list a bunch of free moving materials available for pickup.
Turn it into something new
Cardboard is great for making castles and playhouses for kids, cats, or a whole lot of other animals. It also makes great stick puppets, cat scratching posts or pads, or with some paint and creativity, planters for your seedlings or boxes for creative storage — or a whole host of other low-cost DIY projects. Older children might want to do the crafting themselves, which is a great way to get the kids involved in settling into your new home! Truly, you never know when you’ll need solid cardboard, so keep at least a few boxes around for good measure.
There are lots of sites that will provide spaces for the public to buy/sell moving materials, like U-Haul’s forum. Look around at your local movers and shipping supply stores to see if any of them will resell your supplies.
Check with your new home town or city, but some cities will assist you in recycling all of your moving materials if they have a “free stuff” space. You may even just be able to bind them with twine and leave them out with the rest of the recycling.
Compost and turn it into a garden
Many community garden programs now use “lasagna gardening”, which creates fertile soil on top of existing grass or dirt. The process requires a fair amount of newspaper and cardboard, so your used moving materials might just be exactly what you need to build a “lasagna garden” in your new yard and save money on your move, or perhaps you donate it to an organization that can use it for that purpose.
Now that you’ve found a new purpose or new home for all of those boxes, you can finally begin to figure out just where everything will go in your new home…