I’ve moved across the country three times and acquiring cardboard moving boxes is a huge and annoying cost. Here are 10 14 17 ways I got my hands on moving boxes for free.
How to Get Moving Boxes for Free
1. Bookstores. I went by my local Barnes & Noble and asked a clerk who wasn’t busy if they had any extra boxes I could have. The clerk walked me to the back of the store, checked in the stock room, and told me they didn’t have any. But he told me to come back the day before they put the recycling out and I could have my pick. I must have scored 20-30 small boxes for free!
2. Grocery stores. Just like at Barnes & Nobles, I asked an employee if they had any boxes, waited while they checked in back, took what they had, and asked if there was a particular day they unloaded deliveries and had extra boxes. With a friendly attitude, it worked like a charm!
3. Craigslist. Check the free listings (under For Sale) on Craigslist and also post a listing yourself asking for boxes. You’d be surprised how many folks will respond.
4. Freecycle. You still haven’t joined your local Freecycle group? (Eye roll.) Come on, ladies, it’s an awesome way to get and give free stuff in your local community. Once you join (which is free, of course), post a listing asking anyone if they have extra moving boxes. I’ve seen this very request before, so it’s not an unusual one.
5. Facebook. Tap into the power of your extensive list of friends and people who you met that one time…to ask them for moving boxes. What have you got to lose? It’s also a great way to tell people that you are moving and solicit help. You may just find a friend who moved recently and has lots of boxes to unload.
6. Your email list. Your Facebook post may well get lost, so send a group email to local buds asking them if they have any moving boxes sitting around.
7. School forum. Does your child’s school have a board where parents can post messages? What about an online forum where parents can ask questions and exchange ideas? Post a request for moving boxes and keep it short and friendly.
8. Gym. Many gyms have a board where members can post messages (and business cards – that’s what dominates the board at my gym.) On brightly colored paper, post a quick message: “NEED MOVING BOXES” and add your contact info.
9. Yoga studio. Just like the message you posted at your gym, post a similar message at your yoga studio.
10. Farmer’s market. Drop by about 45 minutes before the farmer’s market is scheduled to end and ask vendors if they have extra boxes. Sellers are responsible for cleaning up their stalls, so if you can take a few boxes off their hand, it makes their clean up job easier! Make sure to remove any food scraps from the boxes.
11. At work. Di says: At your school’s/company’s duplicating office. Paper comes in great boxes you can use.
12. Costco. JRBW says: I was recently at Costco and overheard someone asking one of the Costco employee about boxes – the employee told the person asking to speak with the manager and that they could save boxes for him instead of crushing – so check with Costco.
13. Liquor stores. Dan says: You forgot about Liquor stores.
14. Big box stores. Myke says: Almost any store can help you out because they are always getting deliveries. Office Depot, Staples and the major drug stores get cartons of merchandise that they unbox and put out on display.
15. Dollar stores. Jay says: I once got from $ store which was closing out. As for that matter any stores that are closing out.
16. Trader Joe’s. Heather Rene says: If you have a Trader Joes grocery store in your area you can go in first thing in the morning when they open & they will have boxes. It may be good to go in the day before so they know to hold some & not crush them. Their wine boxes are a great size for small/heavy things & they stack great!
17. Realtor or real estate agent. Janet Robertson says: A realtor can put you in touch with someone who has just moved……Realtors want to build relationships with future clients!