Where to get boxes for moving

Planning a move is hectic enough without worrying about boxes. Use these tips to find sturdy boxes and get packing.

Where to find cardboard boxes

You have plenty of options when it comes to finding boxes. Most moving companies offer new, top-quality boxes in many sizes. Some even offer coupons for moving supplies to Angie's List customers. Moving and shipping boxes are also available at most department and home-improvement stores.

Low-cost and free moving boxes are available from a variety of sources, some online. Look for online box exchange services that allow users to post listings for gently used boxes, often organized by city. Used boxes typically cost less and are an environmentally friendly alternative to buying new boxes.

Ask for extra boxes at grocery stores, bulk shopping clubs and restaurants. Many receive shipments multiple times per week and may have boxes available on specific days.

Be sure the boxes are sturdy, clean, undamaged and have a closable top. Also, consider how the boxes will stack — boxes that can be stacked on top of each other will make loading and unloading more efficient.

How many boxes to get

The number of boxes you need will depend on how many rooms you're moving, the number of people living there and how long you've lived there. There are several online calculators that can help you estimate how many and what type of boxes to get. Many box retailers also offer box kits, based on the number of rooms.

It's better to have too many boxes than to run out. Get enough so that you don't need to group unrelated items into the same box or overload them. Aim for no more than 50 pounds per box. If you're loading and unloading on your own, adjust the number to a weight you can lift repeatedly, as well as a number the box can hold (many boxes have a weight rating on the bottom).

If purchasing new boxes, look for a box buyback program. Some retailers will take back unused boxes.

Types of boxes to consider

Having the right size and type of boxes can make packing go more quickly and offers extra protection for delicate or hard-to-manage items.

Small boxes are best for heavy items, such as books and DVDs. They're easy to carry and are more difficult to overload. Medium and large boxes are ideal for medium-weight and bulky objects, like blankets, toys, kitchen gadgets, and similar items. Use extra-large boxes for lightweight, bulky items like comforters and pillows.

Many box retailers also offer specialty boxes for dishes, glasses, clothing, mirrors, mattresses, and more. These boxes contain special inserts or are extra thick to protect specific types of fragile objects. Specialty boxes sometimes cost more but are worth it to protect delicate items and valuables.

What to do with used boxes

Once you've unpacked your boxes, consider offering them to another mover using one of the box exchange services mentioned above. In many areas, damaged or unusable boxes can be recycled through local paper-recycling services. Check for cardboard recycling in your area.

For more information, visit the Angie's List Guide to Moving.

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