Are you moving soon, but don’t have anything to transport your stuff? Don’t let your circumstances box you in. When it comes to finding that perfect container to move the lava lamp you’ve had for 15 years or Aunt Sally’s prized collection of snow globes, there are plenty of places to look.
Allow a little extra time, because you may find boxes are poor quality or picked over by other box hunters. Sometimes box hunting expeditions need to stretch over the course of several days, but here are 8 best places to get free boxes that could have you packing in no time.
#1. Take a Box, Leave a Box
Chances are you will already be reserving your moving truck at your local U-Haul center. The great news is that you can pick up some decent boxes in the process. Visit almost any brick and mortar U-Haul location and stop by their “take a box leave a box center” (pictured left). You can snag some free high-quality moving boxes that other customers have dropped off.
#2. Word of mouth
If you discuss your move with friends and family with strong emphasis on your pitiful lack of boxes, there’s a good chance they will become your own personal box watchdogs. Utilize your network of friends and family to find boxes faster and easier.
Don’t forget about the free section of Craigslist, under the “for sale/wanted” category. Note that military and college towns are especially box-rich, so check those Craigslist boards if you live nearby. You’ll generally strike box gold on Craigslist. After all, breaking down boxes after a move is kind of a pain so why not help a fellow mover out? Just be sure to return the favor after you’re settled in your new home!
#4. U-Haul Box Exchange
Taking customer service to the next level, U-Haul has established a one-stop shop for movers to share moving boxes with each other. Visit the customer connect site to purchase used boxes or sell yours. The site also sells packing supplies like tape or furniture pads, and even has a connection portal so folks dealing with military-related or college-related moves can trade advice.
Freecycle generally has a message board in or near every town in America. It’s like Craigslist although a little more informal. The name says it all – this stuff is as free as it gets.
#6. Restaurants, coffee shops
Food service locations are going to get shipments in at least twice a week, if not more. Call around and find out if they’re willing to pawn their boxes off on you. Most restaurants experience a lull in customer traffic between 2-4 p.m. You’ll probably be doing them a favor and they’ll be more than happy to help. If you will be moving very heavy or fragile items, you may consider purchasing new boxes, in case the reused boxes are not durable enough.
#7. Copy centers
Paper boxes are terrific and this is a prime place to find them. They are sturdy, they usually have lids and sometimes they even have handle cutouts.
#8. Save your boxes from online shopping
Many people prefer online shopping for the convenience and ease. With so many sites offering free shipping and online sales now, you can usually even score a deal. The boxes are usually large and fairly sturdy, and even come with terrific packing materials! Don’t shop just for the boxes, because then they wouldn’t be free. But if you happen to need – or just want – to do an online shopping spree, save those boxes.
So after everything is unpacked and all the dust settles, what can you do with all those boxes? Use them as pet barriers or pet houses; build a cardboard fort; repair broken windows; fill a hole in the floor or roof; create a banner or sign; cover up an oil spill.
What’s your own zany take on box hunting and repurposing? Put down the packing tape and share your ideas!
This article was written by the folks at Movearoo.com. Movearoo is dedicated to becoming your #1 resource for home services, moving guides, and expert advice.