Easy moving tips – Boxes!

The big day is TODAY and I am very excited.  I can’t wait to get settled into the new place.

I wrote earlier this month about strategies for packing.  Today I want to talk about one of the pre-requisites of packing – boxes.

Boxes can be expensive.  I am not sure why this is, but it is so.  Boxes from U-Haul for example, range from $85 for an “apartment kit” to several hundred dollars for a multi-bedroom home.  Not only is this a ridiculously expensive price to pay for plant material, it’s not very environmentally friendly!   Here’s some of the things that I do to reduce costs for packing materials:

Accumulate free boxes

This is actually easier than you might think.  There’s a few sources of free boxes that I like to use:

  • Leftover boxes from work:  I usually just send out an email and let people know that I am moving.  People are usually happy to just dump boxes at your desk and save themselves the trouble of taking them out to the recycling bin!  As well, when you get boxes from the office, you can often score the nice filing boxes with the lids.
  • Leftover boxes from other moves:  This is where I get the majority of my boxes.  Early in the month of my move, I just go on to Craigslist and search for free boxes from people who have recently finished moving.  I can usually get a large amount (20-30 boxes) for very little effort.  Most boxes can stand multiple moves, so there’s no need to get new ones.


Use alternatives to boxes

One of the best ways to reduce the number of boxes you need is to not use boxes at all.  For example, most of my clothes will get put into garbage bags or luggage for transport.  The garbage bags I can reuse later on for garbage and the luggage I would have had to move anyways.


Avoid bubble wrap

Perhaps more accurately, avoid using bubble wrap and other manufactured packing materials to protect your fragile items if theycost money to buy and cannot be recycled easily.  Instead:

  • Use newsprint:  Free newspapers litter cities nowadays.  Your mailbox is inundated with flyers.  Make use of these resources by turning them into packing material.  Scrunched up newspaper is great for protecting glassware and other fragiles.
  • Use clothing and linens:  You have to pack them anyways, so why not mix up your clothing box and your fragiles box?  Your clothes will cushion breakables against a soft surface.  As a bonus – there is no wasted material or space at all.  You could also use other soft items, like towels, stuffed toys or blankets.


Moving doesn’t have to be expensive!  It also doesn’t need to be bad for the environment.  Reuse or repurose items where you can and it will be better for both the environment and your wallet.

Posted in: Life Hacks, Minimalism and Frugality

Top of page