where do I buy boxes for moving, cheap?

The title says it all. I’m moving a one-bedroom apartment’s worth of stuff, and I don’t want to go the college student route of dumpster diving for used cardboard boxes. Where can I buy a bunch of cardboard boxes for moving all my crap?

Truck rental centers and office supply stores should have them, in nice, consistent sizes.

Check with an industrial paper supply house. I used to work for one and could get nice fresh boxes a lot cheaper than U-Haul type places. The downside is that you may have to buy 25 since that’s how they are usually packed.

Otherwise, check with a local grocery store. Find out when they put out new stock. You should be able to get all kinds of sizes.

Do you know any small businesses that ship to other places? If so, ask them for their box suppiler’s name. Often, these suppliers make “consignment” boxes. These are boxes premarked with the name of a large buyer, such as Kroger. If one of these buyers goes under, the suplier is stuck with boxes that they can’t sell to anyone but people like you, so they usually sell them very cheaply to get them gone.

My mother runs a small shipping business, and we found this out when we moved my grandfather and great-grandmother into my mom’s home. My mother’s suppiler said that they usually sell these boxes for something like $0.10/box. Too bad we didn’t know this until after we’d bought the expensive boxes! :smack:

I’m in the same position: need to move, don’t know how many boxes I’ll need (is it possible to have too many books?), and don’t want to spend money on boxes I don’t need.

I did a bit of research, and U-Haul, believe it or not, has the best deal locally. They’ve got the lowest price-per-box. You can buy one box, or you can by bundles of boxes – and the deal-maker for me was: they’ll buy back any boxes you don’t use.

Good luck with the move!

Got a Kinko’s nearby? They have dozens upon dozens of empty paper-case boxes. I’ve used 'em every time I’ve moved. I got 'em free for working there, but most of the time they’ll let customers have them free or charge a pittance like twenty-five cents apiece. They have lids and everything.

Liquor stores.

Buy boxes? Rookie move.

Go to a bar, any bar. Ask them for empty beer boxes. Budweiser products are the strongest. All brands, though, are the perfect size for books, CDs, etc. Impossible to pack them past the point of being too heavy to lift or maintain cardboard integrity.
Moved a butt-ton of times, and these always work the best.

Don’t buy boxes! You can get tons of them free from any grocery store. All you have to do is ask. Some of 'em will even have handles!

And a lot of stuff moves well in big trash bags, so you may not need as many boxes as you think.

I second whoever said liquor stores - you can even move your glassware in the little inserts still in the boxes! They’re the perfect size for heavy things, they’re strong, and the neighbors think you’re a lush without ever even having to meet you!

Good advice, but not far enough. Most grocery stores have delivery service now. That’s what they use most boxes for (I worked in one for 6 years and still keep current - yes I know, too much time on my hands).

Your chances on a busy day of getting boxes out of the “front end” are remote. Find the back door to the produce department, and ask someone on their way out for a box. Request a banana box - they have handles and are quite sturdy.

NOTE: Not liable if said banana box still contains a biting spider that ends up incapacitating or rendering your person “non-living”.

Well, when I say ask, I mean find a manager out front and ask him if you can take some boxes. I’ve moved three times in 5 years and each time I’ve done this and I’ve gotten more than enough boxes. I was told to come back at a certain time, after a delivery was unloaded, and then I went to the back door and filled up my van with dozens of boxes.

But then, we have “moving season” every year here and these guys are used to the box rush. Maybe it’s different where you are.


If you are fortunate enough to live in a city that has a Scholastic Book Fairs Warehouse, you can often beg some of the dinged up/marked up “hardcover boxes”. They are a wonderful size, heavy cardboard, flip top lids with handles. They will also stack well about 4-5 high even with heavy materials in them.

You can see one pictured here on the floor, a lovely bright green color. :smiley:

After they have been on 5-6 fairs they start looking dingy and get replaced or just used as mail shipping boxes.

Even if the warehouse in question is unwilling to give you some free, they are worth paying for.

Any moving and storage company will sell used boxes on the cheap. They’ve also culled the bad oned from the pile. Typical cost is $1 each, vs. $4 new.

If you need just a few. and want new, Lowe’s and Home Despot sell them for full retail.

If you want freebies, cruise an apartment complex that has a high turnover, such as one that caters to the military. You can either dumpster dive for them, or just ask someone unloading to save them for you, and you’ll carry them away

have you tried looking on Craigslist.org? I gave away all my nice expensive moving boxes after I moved and I see ads for free ones usually at least once a day.

I see grocery stores and liquor stores have been mentioned already. A couple of grocery chains around here have BINs of boxes up by the checkout lanes for the customers to use (since they charge for the plastic bags). The bins are usually overflowing, although sometimes the boxes are small or oddly sized.

Warehouse stores usually have the same thing, and you don’t have to be a member to sneak in. If you look like you know where you are going, then they may not ask for your ID. The bins are after the checkout so you can go in the exit doors.

Good idea for the print shops! The paper boxes are great for books/CDs and smaller stuff. The bottom of the box is solid so it is less likely to burst open due to the weight and they stack beautifully! I suppose any larger company could supply you with boxes. Try asking the receptionists at some local businesses…

I broke down and bought a few sets of filing boxes from an office wharehouse. They are expensive, but they have nice handles and lids, stack well, and have lasted me through several moves. I just hide them flat under the mattress until next time I need them. They also stack on their sides really well, which means you can use them as impromptu shelving if you arn’t going to have real furniture for a bit.

I second vunderbob on going to a moving company and scoring some used boxes. Keep in mind that packing boxes are designed for the job. Boxes from a grocery store may not be tough enough. In addition, the moving company will sell you bulk bubble wrap and tape, so it’s a one-stop deal for you.

When I last moved, I went to the local office supply superstore and bought a bunch of those boxes that are used for file storage - I think packs of six were being sold for $5. (Comparably sized “moving boxes” were $2 or $3 ea.) They’re a good size for packing books or dishes.

I couldn’t agree more. But I do have to say that I find Corona boxes to be the sturdiest. Also, see if you can get the 6-pack holders, too. Great for breakables. Just wrap your wine glasses, small knickknacks, etc in newspaper and put the wrapped breakable in the 6-pack holder. They won’t clink together and are less likely to break.

mcott banana spiders may be really big and fierce looking and they’ll leave a nasty itchy welt, but they really aren’t that deadly unless you have an allergy to their venom. If you’re meaning fiddlebacks, um…well…just shake the box out really well.