7 Clever Places To Find Moving Boxes For Free

There’s no reason to buy boxes when plenty of businesses are TRYING to give them away. Here are some unexpected places to find free moving boxes.

Planning a move takes a lot of time and energy. You’re going to be making dozens of lists, checking them twice, and then writing more.

One of the most important yet easily overlooked steps in the moving process is finding boxes for your stuff. It sounds like an easy problem to solve, but chances are, you have way more things to move than you realize.

As you start packing up one room at a time, those boxes you were able to borrow from friends and family members are going to fill up fast.

You’ll also see that all boxes aren’t created equal! The kind of container you need will depend on what you’re packing.

Types Of Boxes

Types Of Boxes
Source: Moving.com

If you’re like most of us, you picture a box as a four-sided piece of cardboard that comes in various sizes (usually the wrong size for what you need at the time). 

You’d be surprised, then, to learn that boxes come in all shapes and sizes. If you get the right ones, you won’t have to push and shove to fit things in whatever box you’re stuck with!

Check out these box types, then do an inventory of your belongings to see how many of each you may need:

Small boxes are usually sturdier and can hold heavier items. They average 1.5 cubic feet or smaller. 

Medium boxes are slightly larger at around 3 cubic feet. They’re frequently used as catch-alls. 

Large boxes are about 4.5 cubic feet and are good for your bigger but lightweight items. Avoid storing books or other heavy things in a large box. Sure, they’ll fit, but who wants to carry them?

Don’t forget about mattress boxes. Did you know these exist? They’re an amazing invention for people who don’t want to get their mattresses dirty when they move. A mattress box protects your bed from damage and comes in all typical mattress sizes, including one for cribs.

If you have breakables, you’ll need some dish-pack boxes. They protect your breakables with dividers to keep them from bumping into each other. That way, you don’t have to spend hours and a ton of money wrapping each of your dishes and fragile knick-knacks in bubble wrap.

Transporting your mirrors doesn’t have to be a nightmare, either. You won’t get seven years’ bad luck if it breaks because you can use a mirror box to protect your mirrors and glass pictures.

Want to avoid the hassle of taking your clothes off the hangers just to put them back up when you move? A clothing box may be the solution.

Also called wardrobe boxes, these are tall and narrow containers that stand upright. They’re wide enough to fit a number of clothes on hangers. When you use these, your clothing stays wrinkle-free!

You can also use these boxes for curtains and upholstery.

Where to Find Free Moving Boxes

When you need a lot of moving boxes in a pinch, you may have to get creative with where you look for them. These seven places give away or sell moving boxes of all shapes and sizes.

1. Craigslist


In bigger cities, Craigslist is a favorite go-to site for finding and getting rid of miscellaneous items. People are always trying to unload their moving boxes, so check this site first if you’re comfortable with meeting strangers.

Start your search at the beginning of the week, after everyone else has already moved or spent their weekend unpacking. Go to the free section and enter a search for moving boxes.

2. Liquor Stores

Liquor Stores
Source: Reddit

Do you need heavy-duty boxes that can hold your treasured breakables? Wine boxes do exactly that.

Find out when your local stores get shipments and ask them to put aside some boxes for you after they unpack their inventory. Usually, they’ll be able to give you five or ten boxes a day.

3. Grocery Stores

Grocery Stores

Similar to the liquor stores, a grocery shop gets inventory almost every night. When they unpack their goods, they have a lot of durable boxes to get rid of.

Grocery stores have to follow guidelines for returning or discarding their containers. Find out which stores are required to recycle and which ones usually throw theirs out.

Ask if you can have these boxes before they’re discarded. Be cautious about using produce containers, though, as these often have pests tucked inside them.

4. The U-Haul Moving Exchange

The U-Haul Moving Exchange
Source: Moving.com

U-Haul is a company that sees a lot of moving boxes. And in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, the company has set up a message board that customers can use to find and give away boxes.

Also, U-Haul will actually give you money for your boxes when you’re done with them. If you return your boxes to the company directly with your original receipt, U-Haul will buy them back at 100% of your cost.

Oh, and these boxes are sturdy. They’re designed specifically for moving, so U-Haul encourages box sharing.

5. Bookstores

Grocery Stores
Source: The Spruce

Boxes designed for moving books are some of the strongest containers out there. If you need sturdy boxes, your local bookstore should be able to help you.

These are usually smaller boxes, but they can hold just about anything.

Be warned, though:

Depending on your location, you may have to watch for silverfish and other pests. They love to feed on books and cardboard material.

6. Office Supply Stores

Office Supply Stores
Source: Updater

Another treasure trove of sturdy boxes is an office supply store. Their containers come in all shapes and sizes.

These places usually get inventory shipments once or twice a week. Find out when your local shop is expecting its next truck and ask them to put aside some boxes for you.

7. Department Stores

Department Stores
Source: Investopedia

Superstores like Walmart, Target, and Petco are always getting new inventory in stock. Most of these places will have folded boxes sitting around at any given time, waiting to be discarded. If you’re last-minute packing, shop-hop until you have enough containers. 


Finding boxes to pack your household up doesn’t have to be a chore. With these seven clever places to look, you’ll pick up a hodge-podge of containers to suit all your moving needs.

Then, all you have to do is find new furniture for your new apartment!

Read Also: A Girl’s Guide To Moving Into Her New Apartment

Author’s Bio:

Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Prime Place Arrow to help them with their online marketing.


Darsh is a blogger and previous owner of this website.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for the article! Have you ever used BoxGiver? I know a bunch of people donate their moving boxes on there

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