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Where and How to Get Cheap Moving Boxes

Updated on February 13, 2013
Time for that dreaded move
Time for that dreaded move | Source

As if moving wasn't expensive enough on it's own; now you have to add in the cost of boxes to put your crap in?!


If you have a 1-2 bedroom house, U-Haul has a full kit for you with 15 small boxes, 20 medium boxes, 10 large boxes, 10 extra large boxes for around $130. Seriously, $130 for boxes?! Yes, and this is how many boxes U-Haul recommends for moving a 1-2 bedroom house. Most of us don't want to pay that much for boxes. In fact, paying for moving boxes should be your last resort. You should be able to get the majority of the boxes you need for free. So, how can we find cheap or even free moving boxes?

Ask Local Businesses

Most local businesses just throw out the cardboard boxes that their products or merchandise comes in. Simply go into the store, ask to talk to the manager and let them know what you were hoping to do. The worst thing they can do is tell you no right? If they say yes, ask them to have their employees not throw them out and you will come pick them up at the end of the day, week or whatever agreement you come to.

Ask Your Workplace

Almost anywhere you work, they are going to have some sort of boxes. This is the one of my favorite ideas since the boxes are still in great condition. Make sure you talk to whoever is in charge and clear it with them to take any empty boxes that you find. Then, let your co-workers know that you are gather them up so that they don't throw them away. Each day after work, you should have a stack of boxes to load in your vehicle and bring home with you. Start doing this plenty of time before your move and you will be set.

A perfectly good cardboard box next to the dumpster.
A perfectly good cardboard box next to the dumpster. | Source

Go Dumpster Diving

Okay, so you probably shouldn't go literally diving into dumpsters to save money. But, there are a lot of people who are too lazy to lift things up to put them into a dumpster. I have found many treasures just sitting next to the dumpster. In the months before your move, just keep your to eyes open for cardboard boxes that have been left out by the dumpsters. Find out when trash is usually picked up and go out the night before. This is usually when the dumpsters are overflowing and it is very easy to find things your looking for without have to swim through trash.

Ask Your Friends

If you have a friend who just moved, or is about to move. Ask them if you can have their boxes once they are done with them. Another option is to borrow plastic totes if you know anyone with them. Totes are my favorite moving boxes since you can use them for long term storage or moving. If you borrow plastic totes from someone, it is much easier to return them undamaged than it is for cardboard boxes.

Moving Boxes on Craigslist

This was a posting I found on Craigslist in my area for $100. (These are almost always negotiable)
This was a posting I found on Craigslist in my area for $100. (These are almost always negotiable) | Source

Check Craigslist

If you can not find any or enough boxes for free, your next step is to look on Craigslist, eBay, Amazon or another favorite online bargain store. Sometimes Craigslist will even have boxes listed in their "free" section. People will list things that they want to get rid of and will tell you to come by their house and just pick it up.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You covered it all. Grocery stores and liquor stores have always been my go-to resource for boxes.