Top 20 Places to Find Free Moving Boxes

Imagine a world filled with free moving boxes — amazing right? But what if we told you that you’re already living in one? From your local grocery store to your office building, you’d be surprised at how many places in your community are home to free boxes. You just have to know where to look!

During the moving process, everyone seems to be competing for your checkbook. Knowing where to find free supplies means cutting out a significant chunk of your moving expenses. To help you budget your move and make life a little easier, we’ve put together a checklist of the best places to find free moving boxes.

Get Free Moving Boxes From People You Know

Your social circles

Contacting friends and family should be one of the first stops on your search for free moving boxes. Send out a text to your group chats or post on one of your social media accounts to grab the attention of those looking to get rid of leftover moving boxes. Whether your niece just moved into her first apartment or your neighbor received a huge home delivery, you’re bound to know someone with free boxes.

Your office

Office buildings handle tons of deliveries each day, which means tons of leftover free boxes. Poke around your office next time you head into work — you might be able to score big! If not, reach out to your co-workers that handle supply orders and see if they can set aside a box or two for you after the next shipment.

Yard sales

If your neighbors are holding a yard sale, they’re undoubtedly trying to get rid of excess stuff. As they de-clutter their home, there’s a good chance your neighbors will have some free boxes you can take off their hands. Drop by the yard sale or give your neighbors a call to see if they’re willing to part with some of their boxes for your upcoming move.

During the holidays

The holidays bring lots of good cheer, but they also bring lots of free boxes. If your move-in date coincides with the holidays, it might be smart to send a quick message to friends and family before the holiday madness. Let them know you’re moving soon and ask for them to set aside any leftover boxes they might have. Chances are, they’ll be happy for you to do the recycling for them.

Another person who just moved

Everyone usually knows someone who’s just moved. Ask around amongst co-workers, neighbors, family, and friends to find additional moving supplies that you can put to good use. If you do happen to strike gold, make sure you write them a thank you note and pick up the free boxes yourself. They’re saving you a ton of time and money, so it’s important to express your gratitude.

Free Moving Boxes Online

When in doubt, check Craigslist

Scoping out Craigslist is a must. The first place to look for free moving boxes is the “For Sale” section of the site. If you don’t see any there, try posting under the “Wanted” section. There are plenty of people who use Craigslist to help facilitate their post-move purge — and cardboard boxes are no exception.

Barter for boxes

When money’s tight, bartering is always a viable option. There are plenty of websites to trade belongings online. If you have any unwanted items that you don’t want to take to your new home or apartment, consider listing them on a bartering website. You may be able to exchange some old books or dishes for a bunch of free boxes.

Freecycle

Join your community’s Freecycle group to see if anyone can send a few spare boxes your way. It’s completely free to join the group and a great way to connect with other members of your community. Even if you don’t find free moving boxes, Freecycle is still a useful resource as you begin to declutter your home before your move.

Local Spaces with Free Moving Boxes

Recycling centers

Most recycling centers require patrons to break down their cardboard boxes. However, you may be able to salvage a few if you call in advance. You might need to re-tape or re-fold the boxes back up to get them ready for your move, but it never hurts if it means saving a few dollars. To find more free boxes, locate a recycling center near you.

University mailrooms

Every semester, more and more university students are purchasing textbooks online. The result? University mailrooms get swamped with cardboard boxes that are perfect to use for your move. If you live near a university or college, make sure to stop by the mailroom and see if they have any free boxes they’re willing to part with.

Better yet, you’re definitely likely to find free moving boxes if your move date coincides with students moving in or out of dorms and apartments. Many universities have designated spaces to drop off leftover boxes, so be sure to ask campus officials if you can take a look. Most campuses will oblige, as they’ll be charged less in recycling pick-up fees.

The local elementary school

Your local elementary school is another great source for free boxes. Just think of all of the classroom supplies, books, gym equipment, and desks that have to be delivered before the school year begins. It may be worth reaching out to the maintenance or administrative staff to see if it’s possible to acquire some free cardboard boxes.

Apartment complexes

Apartment communities are a great place to search for free boxes. Take a look at the package center or recycling room in your own building or head to another nearby community. The property manager will be able to direct you to their package center or recycling room. Gather all the free boxes you can carry. And of course, say thank you!

Free Moving Boxes at Nearby Businesses

Your local orchard

In order to save big, you need to get creative and think outside the box (pun intended). If you live in a more rural area, your local orchard is a great place to find wooden crates for moving fragile items that need a bit more support. Crates are super durable, and can even be repurposed as home decor after your move!

Grocery stores

Not only is the grocery store home to all of your beloved snacks and sweets, but it’s also home to tons of boxes and crates. Find a worker or store manager and ask them to take a look at their storage or recycling room. Since the grocery store receives shipments nearly every day, you should be able to stock up on some free boxes for your move.

Liquor stores

Head on over to your local liquor store to grab some of the most durable boxes available (and maybe a bottle of wine while you’re at it). The best part about liquor boxes is that they often come with a lid and handles, making them perfect for protecting small or fragile belongings. Just ask anyone working in the store if you can snag some free boxes. Chances are, the boxes would otherwise end up in recycling.

Auto supply stores

Large moving boxes can be few and far between if you don’t know where to look. If you’re struggling to find what you need, an auto supply store should be your go-to for larger boxes. Check out one of these stores near you. They’ll usually be happy for you to take their overflow of boxes off their hands.

Retail giants

At stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, and Walmart, virtually everything comes in a box — and large ones at that. You should be able to find free moving boxes at these stores, as the shipments that come through their warehouses are massive. Many stores will reuse delivery boxes to pack your items in at checkout, so save your boxes next time you take a trip to one of these stores. You should be able to build up a pretty decent inventory of free boxes.

Miscellaneous retailers

Retailers such as office supply stores, bookstores, and hardware stores are also great places to look for free moving boxes. They have a constant stream of cardboard boxes flowing in and out, many are durable enough to hold the contents of your kitchen cabinets.

Remember, there’s no need to spend unnecessary money on moving boxes when you can easily find them for free. Free moving boxes are a dime a dozen if you know where to look. Out of everything on your moving checklist, make boxes the least of your expenses.

Once you’ve acquired your boxes, take a look at our packing and moving supplies checklist. From packing tape to bungee cords to stretch wrap, we’ve compiled some additional items that will facilitate your move.

Rather watch than read? Check out our video below to see some of our favorite places to snag free boxes.

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Comments (10)

Great idea! Make the best of the used cardboard boxes!

Thanks for such a great tips.

Great Tips

I work in a warehouse, so the place is full of boxes. We reuse some for shipping to stores, but a lot get recycled. People take boxes home all the time for moving and even shipping stuff out that they've sold on EBay. Check with any friends and family that work in a warehouse. You might even be able to snag some loose bubble wrap sheets.

Nice, thorough list of places for free boxes. I'd like to add that you should always keep in mind that some boxes are not suitable for moving. There are many thin boxes that will not hold your precious belongings.

If your time is both limited and valuable, you can simply ask your moving company to send a team with boxes and to pack your items. There are also rules when it comes to way you pack your things into the boxes. You can't just throw things in the box. They should be separated in a certain way so it makes it easier to carry the boxes to the van and arrange them.

You can always ask the moving company for help.

Thanks for sharing it.............:) :)

Boxes are crazy expensive! This is a great list of resources. I’ll be sharing it with my clients for sure on a round up of favorite moving tips.

I also suggest checking the local forums. We have a few in London and people constantly write about giving away their boxes after they've moved. You will have to pick them up, of course, but at least they come for free.

If you're the eco-friendly type of person, why not scrap moving boxes entirely and opt for a recyclable option of plastic? I mean, you're eventually going to need boxes to get your stuff in order at home, so why not use those plastic boxes to pack your things up for the move too?

This one is such a nice and interesting blog. I loved it.