Moving can quickly get very stressful and expensive, but planning can make the process much smoother. It’s very important to give yourself the time to plan ahead, beginning with compiling a moving checklist to booking a storage unit, as you’ll most definitely be needing it until you’re fully settled.
Packing is a feat in itself, so make sure you do it methodically. Packing your items by category can help as well as labeling each box correctly and using the right storing supplies to ensure that your belongings reach your new home safely and organized. Remember that you will most likely not be able to unpack everything on the first day, so you need to be able to easily find your belongings in the meantime. There’s a huge difference between making a mess out of 20 boxes trying to find your curling iron and going straight for the box labeled “hair tools.” At the same time, anything that falls within the “less frequently used” category can go directly into storage so that you may unpack and organize everything properly.
This gets us back to moving and storage supplies. Good organization while moving doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money on boxes and other materials. It’s totally up to you if you want to invest in them, but there are many ways to get them cheap or even for free.
Here’s a list of the most useful types of moving boxes and how much they cost. Plus, we’ve added size information to give you an idea about what you can fit inside, along with some suggestions of places you can get moving boxes from.
Types of boxes
- Standard boxes
Small moving boxes are a must-have. Not only do they help you split your belongings into super specific subcategories, but they also make carrying them without any extra help easy. So, be sure to stock up on these. They usually cost around $2 each and measure around 16″x12″x12″.
Medium moving boxes are the most commonly used type of boxes out there. Typically measuring around 18″x16″x18″, they are ideal for storing and shipping various household items such as kitchen appliances, home decor, and other medium-sized supplies. Medium boxes are small enough to be easily carried by one person but large enough to handle a wide variety of objects. On average, they cost between $2 and $3 each.
Large moving boxes typically measure 18″x18″x24″. Although they can fit many household items, you should ensure that you don’t put too much weight inside if you plan on carrying them yourself. These cost around $3 each.
- Special purpose boxes
You can ensure your clothes reach their destination without wrinkling along the way by transporting them inside wardrobe boxes specially designed for packing clothes on hangers. These boxes measure between 20″x20″x34″ to 24″x24″x34″ but can go up to 24″x24″x48″, and cost around $15 each.
Fragile and flat items like art pieces, screens or mirrors can be safely transported inside telescopic boxes. These boxes consist of two pieces that fit together, covering and protecting their contents from cracks and other forms of damage. Telescopic boxes come in a variety of dimensions, and some of them are even adjustable. Depending on the dimensions of the object you want to transport, they can cost up to $25 each.
Bankers boxes are great investments as they keep your important office supplies safe during the move and are also useful afterward. The average dimension of such a box is 24″x15″x10″, costing about $11.
Dish and glassware kits are boxes with dividers that protect your most fragile kitchen items like glasses, dishes, and stemware. They measure about 12″x 24″x11″ and cost around $30.
It is very important to ensure your mattress stays in the best condition, especially if it is going to be stored for a long time. Mattress boxes and bags protect them from moisture, dust, dirt and bugs while in transit or storage. Their dimensions fit mattresses based on their type and cost around $25 to $45.
Where to get them from
There are plenty of places you can get moving supplies from if you have time and know where to search. And whether you want to pick them up in person or have them shipped is up to you, but you definitely have options.
We suggest you consider checking out these sources as you might end up getting lots of moving supplies for free:
- Friends and family
The easiest and most obvious way to get free boxes is to ask your family and friends if they have some. Or, if you know anyone that moved recently, that’s even better as they will surely be glad to get rid of theirs after unpacking.
- Online apps and groups
If you don’t know anybody that has boxes to spare, you can always try to find them online. You might find people near you giving away boxes on Craigslist’s free section, your local Facebook community groups, U-Haul Box Exchange, The Freecycle Network, Nextdoor.com or Facebook Marketplace after checking the Only Show Free Listings option. Generally, the end of the weekend to the beginning of the week is the best time to look for items that are being given away for free because that’s when most people find the time to unpack or clean out old boxes. In the meantime, you can post on Craigslist’s wanted section announcing that you are looking for free moving boxes. That could catch the right person’s attention.
- Self-storage facilities
Self-storage facilities are great places to store your items while moving. It is also a one-stop source of packing supplies. Most self storage facilities sell moving boxes plus other moving supplies, so make sure you ask about it while renting a unit.
Renting a storage unit close to your future home a few weeks in advance ensures that you don’t have to rush the whole process and that you can rest assured knowing your belongings are secure from theft and damage. The 10’×10′ and the 10’x20′ self-storage units are the most popular while moving.
Think about the retailers or grocery stores in your area. They are getting deliveries all day and can’t possibly need to keep that many boxes, nor do they have the space to store them. Most employees will be glad to give you the boxes they would have had to tear down anyways if you just ask.
Office buildings are also places that get packages delivered often. If you work at an office, try asking your colleagues that handle deliveries. If not, you can try asking around any office building, and you might be led to the right people who would be glad to let you have them.
- Big retailers
If you’re willing to invest in them, you will surely find moving boxes to buy at big retailers like Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart and U-Haul, Target, Costco or Walgreens.