11 Best Places to Find Free Moving Boxes
1. Craigslist and Freecyle
My favorite method for getting authentic moving boxes is to search Craigslist or Freecycle for people who have just moved and are giving cardboard away. If you don't see any offer ads, post a wanted ad.
2. Lightning-Fast Networking
Another quick way to get real moving boxes is to hop onto the listserv of your neighborhood or mom's group and simply ask. Someone is always moving somewhere, and people are happy to see their boxes get re-used.
If you already have a connection with a school, it's easy to go in and ask to relieve them of boxes used for equipment or frozen food. (Avoid fresh food boxes so you don't bring critters home with you.)
4. Liquor Stores
Then again, maybe you have a better relationship with a liquor store. (Hey, different strokes!) Bottles of booze are usually packed in sturdy boxes, and often in smaller sizes, which are great for packing heavy items and breakables.
5. Banks and Offices
Another great place to look for clean boxes are banks (or law firms), which might have even have those awesome document file boxes with handles and lids.
6. Box Exchange Web Sites
While national sites, like U-Haul's Box Exchange, aren't as effective as locally-based sites like Craigslist, it's worth checking for shares or exchanges in your city.
7. Moving Company Left-overs
Speaking of U-Haul, if you are going to rent a truck, ask your DIY company if they have any used boxes lying around. Often people leave them on the truck and the store is happy to get rid of them.
8. Office Supply & Electronics Stores
Other retail sources are office and electronics stores, who have to get rid of heavy-duty boxes on a regular basis. (I don't recommend grocery stores, since they usually crush boxes as soon as they are unpacked, and plus, food attracts bugs.)
9. Dumpster Diving
If you aren't getting any traction, or if you need boxes pronto, you could go dumpster diving at your recycling center (guilty!). Or check the bin behind a bookstore for possibly cleaner cardboard.
10. Help for Military Families
At sites like MovingDayBoxes, you might even qualify for free moving boxes if you or your spouse is in the armed forces.
11. Re-Usable Moving Crates
So you see, it's easy to avoid buying fresh cardboard. If you do rack up moving costs, remember that you can deduct long-distance, work-related moving expenses from your taxes. So save those receipts and look forward to a refund.
In the meantime, I'm wishing you lots of happiness in your new home!
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