Where to Get Free Moving Boxes: The Complete Guide

If there’s one thing moving isn’t, is cheap! The long process can cost thousands, between paying for professional movers, travel costs, and the actual price of your new home. So why add another cost to the moving process if you don’t have to?

Luckily, when it comes to moving boxes, buying isn’t the only way to get them. If you look around carefully, you’ll discover that there are high quality, free boxes all around you! Whether they’re at friend’s houses, the back of a “big box store,” or at your local recycling spot, you just need the right guidance to find more free moving boxes than you’ll know what to do with. To help, we’ve put together this handy guide on the top places to find free moving boxes.

Family and Friends

happy woman holding empty box

This one might seem obvious, but so many people forget to start with the people closest to them! Chances are that amongst your family and friends, at least one or two folks have moved recently, and may not have gotten rid of their boxes. Plus, plenty of people have a box or two lying around from their latest Amazon or Bed Bath & Beyond purchases. So before you do anything else, give your friends a call, hit up that group text, or even send out a blast on your Facebook wall to let people know you’re in the market for boxes. You might get all you need from this alone!

The Office

Run out of family and friends? Time to turn to your workplace. If you work in an office (especially at a newspaper or other publisher), you know that shipments of office supplies, especially reams of paper, are a regular occurrence. The boxes that carry those heavy papers are super high quality, and almost always have handles and lids, making them perfect for moving. Be sure to let your office manager or administrative team know when you’re on the lookout, so they can set aside boxes from weekly shipments, instead of breaking them down for recycling.

Of course, this is also another opportunity to ask even more people if they have boxes lying around at home. So send an email (with permission, of course), asking your coworkers if anyone’s moved recently and has some boxes they can’t wait to get rid of. We’re betting you’ll get an answer or two.

U-Haul Customer Connect | U-Haul Box Exchange

U-Haul is one of the top suppliers of moving boxes in the country, and even they have gotten into the box recycling game! When you go on U-Haul’s Customer Connect Box Exchange hub, you can enter your location and a keyword, like “moving boxes.” And voila! You’ll see listings from people who’ve just moved and are looking to get rid of their boxes.

Up-Cycling Apps & Social Media

person using social media on a phone

There are plenty of places online to find free boxes. Freecycle.org is an awesome app and website that is solely dedicated to giving away stuff for free. You can search for anything in your community, or post a “wanted” ad for things you need– and yes, people often post their moving boxes after they’ve finished unpacking. Other places online where you can find free boxes? Craigslist, OfferUp, LetGo and other similar apps and websites all have “free” sections where you can search for heavy duty moving boxes and other packing supplies.

Another option is making a “wanted” post in your local community Facebook group! Many counties, towns, and even cul de sacs have Facebook groups that allow neighbors to get to know one another, post questions and exchange free items. You can also check out forums on your community’s NextDoor.com profile to see if anyone near you just finished a move and has some boxes you can come pick up!

Grocery Stores

Your local grocer, be it a Mom & Pop shop or a big name like Walmart, gets shipments of food every week. Now, you’ll want to be picky about the boxes you secure from grocery stores. Make sure they are dry, and check what kind of food they contained. Some food scents can encourage bugs to try and find their way in, so we suggest sticking with boxes that were used for frozen, canned or dry goods. As always, make sure you call ahead for permission, and to make sure the grocery store doesn’t break down their boxes before you get there! Getting boxes that haven’t been broken down saves time, money, and tape.

Pet Stores

If you’ve never had to carry a bag of dog food any distance, we envy you. But if you have, then you know those bags are HEAVY! So when pet stores get boxes filled with pet food and other supplies, you can bet the boxes are sturdy and strong. You can contact your local Petco or Petsmart to find out when their weekly shipments arrive, and ask permission to stop by and pick up some boxes!

Recycling Centers

broken down boxes ready for recycling

When folks in your community are done with their moving boxes, those cardboard prizes go to one of two places. If they don’t end up in an attic or basement, they’ll be broken down and heading for your local recycling center! If you stop by on pickup day, you might hit the moving box jackpot. Just be sure that any boxes you take from the center are clean and dry, and didn’t contain foodstuffs! You need your boxes to be sturdy and bug-free for moving day.

Bookstores

The boxes that ship books to bookstores are some of the best ones out there. After all, they’re made specifically to carry heavy books safely, sometimes across hundreds of miles! Not only are these boxes a great option for transporting your personal library, but they’re also helpful for moving heavy kitchen items, and other smaller belongings that you want to keep safe. You can stop by your local bookstore to ask what days they get deliveries on, and if they have any spare boxes in the back. Most will be happy to hold on to boxes for you, as long as you pick them up in a timely manner.

Yard Sales

Isn’t the whole point of a yard or garage sale to get rid of things? Next time you see one of those signs with a big arrow, you’ll have more than one reason to follow it! Of course, you can find plenty of great, cheap household items at yard sales, but you can also find tons of free boxes. After a long day of selling, nobody wants to spend their time breaking down boxes, so stop by any yard sales you see, and offer to take any sturdy boxes off the owners’ hands!

You can be sure to find at least a few yard sales in your area on any sunny Saturday, May-August especially. However, if you’re looking to do a serious box hunt, you can also find listings of garage and yard sales in your local classifieds, your Pennysaver, or online at Craigslist. Some community Facebook groups will also let folks post their yard sales, so be sure to check social media as well.

Buying Moving Boxes

If you aren’t able to find the boxes you need at the places we’ve mentioned, you can always find high-quality packing supplies and boxes for sale. For example, one type of box you might not be able to find for free is a wardrobe box, which is specifically designed to help you move your clothes without wrinkles or hassle.

That’s where the professionals come in. If you need any help finding the perfect moving supplies, including boxes of all sizes, shrink wrap, tape and protective blankets, you can find everything you need at Big League Movers, in either our Atlanta or Memphis locations. Plus, our professional movers can help you determine how many and what types of boxes you need to make your move as easy as possible.