Maybe you just found that perfect apartment in the neighborhood you’ve always wanted, and you’re planning a local move. Or, on the contrary, you decided to leave San Francisco for good. Regardless of your moving situation, there are some things you’ll most likely need: a solid moving strategy and the right amount of moving boxes and other moving supplies.

Generally speaking, you need about 15 boxes to pack an average bedroom (large, medium and small, five of each), while the kitchen and the living room will require about the same, or a little extra in case we’re talking about family-sized rooms packed with belongings.

Besides the boxes, you also must get moving supplies: packing tape, markers, labels, stretch wrap, packing peanuts (or other protective materials). Also, keep in mind that you might need self storage to help ease the process. It’s a good way to keep your possessions safe while you organize the new space as well as afterward if you want to have an uncluttered home.

As for where to get all the material you need, here are some of the best places for packing supplies in San Francisco:

1. ZippGo

The San Francisco company ZippGo allows you to rent the moving boxes that you need instead of buying them. The company has a selection of plastic boxes and crates of various sizes, and you can choose the number of boxes, and their size, depending on your needs. The plastic boxes are a lot more durable than their cardboard counterpart and easily withstand environmental factors like moisture, so you’re probably better off using them. That’s particularly true if you think that the moving (or remodeling) process you are embarking on might take longer than a few weeks. ZippGo is also a very environmentally friendly solution: the crates are made of recycled plastic and are being reused over and over again.

2. Self storage facilities

You’ll probably also need self storage during your move – a 10’x10’ self storage unit in San Francisco rents for around $340, and you can keep your belongings safe in it until your new home is ready. But many storage facilities offer additional services also, such as selling moving boxes and moving supplies. You can pick up moving boxes from the storage facility at the same time you are renting your unit, which will save you both time and effort. Here’s a shortlist of storage facilities in San Francisco where you can solve both your storage and your packing supplies needs:

This Extra Space Storage facility offers a wide selection of unit sizes to choose from, plus moving and packing supplies are available for purchase. Other amenities at this facility include drive-up access, an onsite manager, RV parking and advanced security features. The facility also offers sturdy moving carts for unloading large items and accepts deliveries.

From small lockers to larger units, this StoragePRO facility answers to varied storage needs – and, of course, you can also pick up your moving supplies here. You can choose between inside units and outside ones with drive-up access. The facility is fenced, gated and fitted with security cameras.

This storage facility offers various unit sizes, and you can choose between climate-controlled and standard units. The facility also has moving supplies available for purchase and dollies and carts are available to customers, helping you easily transfer your belongings from the car or truck into the storage unit. The facility has video surveillance, electronic gate access, and fire sprinkler alarms.

3. Moving companies

Even if you’re not planning to hire a moving company, you can still purchase packing and moving supplies from most such businesses. The advantage is that they’re knowledgeable about the types of boxes you need, so they’ll be able to give you some good advice about what to purchase. The best moving companies that also sell moving supplies include:

  1. Cummings Moving has been servicing San Francisco and Bay Area for over 50 years, and they do local or cross-country residential moves. They can pack your entire home, including delicate items like antiques or art. And, of course, they carry a wide selection of moving supplies: regular boxes, wardrobe and mirror boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts and more. They also have a reusing program, so if you’re worried about the environmental impact of so many cardboard boxes, you can find gently used ones at this company.
  2. SF Local Moving offers a wide array of services: residential and commercial moving, long distance, local, specialty moving, packing services, labor only and more. On top of that, you can also contact them for packing supplies – they carry everything you might need, from tape and padding materials to boxes.
  3. Pedro’s Moving Services offers white glove services to customers, including packing, cleaning and the actual moving. However, if you’re only interested in packing supplies, you can ask for just those – they provide boxes, bags, covers, dollies and so on.

4. Box Giver

Box Giver is a platform available in several cities, San Francisco included, that intermediates the buying, selling or donation of packaging materials. In other words, if your goal is to score some inexpensive moving supplies and to protect the environment at the same time, this is the place to go.

5. Boxbee

Boxbee services are available in San Francisco and in a few other California cities. The company rents sturdy plastic boxes and other moving supplies. On top of that, the company also offers on-demand storage services – you can request the pickup and the drop-off of your belongings, and you can check out the inventory of your stored possessions online.

Other great sources for finding free moving boxes are local neighborhood groups on social media – check them regularly if you’re preparing for a move soon, as many people donate their moving supplies as soon as they finish unpacking. Also, many supermarkets, grocery stores and home improvement stores are setting empty boxes aside for the customers who might need them – make sure you drop by to pick up those boxes. Of course, you need to do that ahead of time to make sure you have enough boxes by the time you start packing. However, with a bit of planning and information, you’ll be able to save some cash on your packing supplies!


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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