Save Money and the Environment with Free Moving Boxes+


So, you are getting ready to move and are at that dreaded place where you have to start meticulously wrapping and packing all of your belongings for transport to your new digs. You know you need boxes – lots of boxes – and, if you are like me, you are cringing at the thought of dropping a couple hundred bucks on cardboard. And, also if you are like me, you are already thinking about the environmental impact of buying and then recycling all of those boxes after one use. But, if you can reuse some boxes that are already in circulation, you can save money and help out good old planet Earth at the same time. Recycling requires water, energy and transportation, so the more uses we can get out of items before they are recycled, the better it is for the environment. Not to mention that finding used moving boxes for free will save quite a bit of money, and moving is expensive enough as it is.

The first place to look is Craig’s List. Most major cities and lots of smaller towns around the world have a dedicated section on Craig’s List with classified ads just for that area. Look under the “free” section for moving boxes and packing materials that you can conveniently pick up at no expense to you (except for the gas to drive to the location). The key to getting free moving boxes on Craig’s List is to check early and often and to get to the address right away – moving boxes are a hot commodity on this site and will disappear quickly. Your best bet is to check right around the 1st and 15th of the month when most people are moving.

Doctors, dentists, veterinarians and other healthcare providers regularly receive medical and office supplies in nice, sturdy boxes that are perfect for moving. For the most part, these boxes are going to go right to the recycling bin once they’ve been unpacked, so call or go by your doc’s or vet’s office and ask them if they have any boxes that you can take. It will save them from having to break them down and lug them around and, if you ask them a few weeks before your move, you might even be able to get them to call you whenever they unpack a shipment so you can stop by and pick and the boxes up, then stash them until you are ready to start packing.

If you work in an office, speak to whoever is in charge of office supplies and see if you can take the boxes once they’ve been unpacked. Copy paper boxes are particularly great for moving – they are a great size for stacking and carrying, they are sturdy and they have those convenient lids that make them perfect for moving. Again, if you have a place where you can stash boxes before your move, start collecting boxes early so you will be sure to have plenty when it comes time for your move.

Another great place to find moving boxes is by doing a bit of dumpster diving, and sometimes, if you are lucky, the boxes will just be waiting for you beside the dumpster instead of having to actually jump inside. Check out dumpsters in alleys behind grocery stores, strip malls and apartment complexes and, while you are there, go in the grocery stores and ask someone in the produce department if they have any boxes you can take. Produce boxes are thick and are a convenient size, which makes them great for moving boxes.

If you have a drop-off recycling center in your area, this is a great way to find moving boxes of all shapes and sizes. I recently procured about 25 boxes at the recycling center down the street from where I live, and some of them hadn’t been broken down yet, so it also saved me money on tape.

Once you have moved, make sure that you keep the reuse cycle going by giving your moving boxes to a friend who has a move coming up, or listing them on Craig’s List under the “free” section. Listing on Craig’s List is free and very easy and, once you’ve submitted the ad, all you have to do is set the boxes outside so folks can come pick them up. If you don’t want to put your address in the ad, you can also have soon-to-be movers email you for a pick up time and location. Every time I have listed something on Craig’s List, it has disappeared within a day, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your boxes cluttering up your porch or curb for more than just a few hours.