The Habitat
Share to PinterestMaximize Space with Efficient Box Packing

Maximize Space with Efficient Box Packing

By Staff Writer
Share to PinterestMaximize Space with Efficient Box Packing

Let's face it, moving is an overwhelming task, even in the best of circumstances. It takes time and effort to sort through all your belongings and pack them all up, not to mention the sheer effort required to schlep everything from one location to another.

Before you can start, you have to find enough boxes to put everything in—and hopefully not break the bank to do it. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to get what you need and some surprising options for disposing of those boxes when you're done.


Look in grocery stores

Share to PinterestEmpty shelves in supermarkets due to shortages

Any large store that turns over lots of inventory will have lots of packing material to get rid of. Grocery stores receive daily deliveries, so they're the perfect place to start your search.

Hit the customer service desk to ask about picking up leftover boxes—local chains might even have a set time and place for pickup.

Big-box retailers that also sell groceries (think Walmart and Target) are other solid options.


Check out hospitals and medical offices

Share to PinterestSenior doctor checking medical stock in a warehouse

Like grocery stores, hospitals get daily deliveries of medical supplies, often packed in sturdy cardboard boxes due to the delicate nature of the items. Unlike grocery and big-box stores, you won't have much competition since this is an under-the-radar option.

If the main switchboard isn't sure where to direct you, try asking for facilities management or housekeeping to get started.


Try box rental companies

Share to PinterestYoung delivery men unloading cardboard boxes from truck on street

Did you know that you can rent moving boxes and return them when you're done? Rental containers are typically made of sturdy plastic, so they're ideal for heavy items—no worries about the bottom of a cardboard box collapsing and your items hitting the sidewalk.

Most rental companies require a return to the exact location, so this option may not work for cross-country moves.


Think outside the box

Share to PinterestStack of cardboard boxes in empty apartment

Don't forget that not every item needs a classic moving box. You can also use containers you already own, such as your luggage, dresser drawers, hampers, and trash bags, to carry items.

These are excellent choices for clothes and soft goods, but you can also get creative for hard-to-pack items. For example, wheeled luggage can be a lifesaver for heavy books and small appliances.


Buy recycled boxes

Share to PinterestFlattened cardboard boxes being recycled

You can, of course, purchase moving boxes as well. Packing and shipping stores are good sources, but you'll pay top dollar. Try buying your moving supplies from a box recycler instead for a more affordable and sustainable solution. You can also search for deals for recycled boxes on (where else?) Amazon.


Find and share: social media

Share to PinterestSocial media profile page in smartphone screen at work. Woman looking at feed, status update or post with mobile phone.

One of the best ways to pick up moving boxes is on social media sites where neighbors share their used items. Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, Freecycle, and Craigslist are all great places to start your search.

You can also put out a call to your network on Twitter and Instagram; lots of people have leftover boxes from their own moves that they would be happy to get rid of. Once you're finished, offer the empty boxes on the internet to pass them along to the next person in need.


After the move: local charities

Share to PinterestMature adult woman is standing with mid adult woman as they pack cardboard boxees full of donated food in charity food bank.

When you're done with your move, your boxes could also be useful for other purposes. Many local charities need boxes to provide essentials for the unhoused, organize food pantries, or ship care packages to soldiers overseas.

Your donation will help these worthy organizations do their significant work.


After the move: schools and arts groups

Share to PinterestHappy kid girl and her dad, driving toy hand made cardboard car at the room. Dad and daughter are playing with big toy cars

Teachers often have many supplies and learning tools to keep track of, so extra boxes are a lifesaver when cleaning up a classroom at the end of the year. Art teachers may also find the cardboard useful for projects, and big boxes might even be repurposed for scenery for a children's play.


After the move: repurposing

Share to PinterestWoman put a cardboard box on a shelf of a rack in warehouse. Clean up and organize a pantry concept.

You might want to hang on to a few boxes for your own purposes. For starters, moving boxes can keep your long-term storage organized.

You can also use the cardboard to protect your floors from scratches as you shift furniture around or to wrap table legs to protect them from a teething puppy or curious cat. You can even use smaller pieces of cardboard to create quick drawer dividers in a pinch.


After the move: recycling

Share to PinterestView Of Cardboard Recycling Bin

You can always break down the boxes and recycle them if you don't find any takers for your old boxes. If you don't have curbside recycling in your new home, call your municipality to see if they have a local recycling center with public drop-off days.

You can also check with local gardening clubs or composting centers to see if they collect cardboard for composting and other gardening purposes, such as weed-killing.



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