By Jeff Walker
Whether you’re performing your move yourself, or have hired a full-service moving company, sooner or later, you’ll need moving boxes. Boxes come in all shapes and sizes and are generally made out of cardboard. The idea behind using a cardboard box is that, while they won’t last forever, they should be strong enough to get you through your move. You can get your moving boxes from lots of different places, some better than others.
The Grocery Store
It used to be common wisdom, that once your local grocery store emptied all their new stock, they would make their boxes available to anyone that wanted them. While the idea of “free boxes” will just about tickle the fancy of anyone who’s moving, this may not be the best solution. Very few suppliers ship their products in boxes strong enough to handle a household goods move, since they know the packaging only has to be strong enough to make it from their warehouse to the store. Because of this, they buy the cheapest boxes available. So by the time you get your hands on the box, it’s likely to be in poor shape from its trip to the store and all the handling it’s been through, and the box quality wasn’t very good in the first place. Additionally, many grocery stores have caught on to the fact that people want their boxes, so they have value. Many of them are getting money to recycle their boxes and aren’t making them available anymore.
Box suppliers like UBox or U-Line can be a good source of boxes. They sell two and three-ply boxes which are good for moving. The downside is that some box suppliers can be expensive, depending on how many boxes you need. Generally the cost will go down the more boxes you buy, but make sure you compare prices before committing to one supplier. If you’re really committed to protecting your items and moving yourself, you’ll really want to look into purchasing your boxes rather than scavenging them second hand.
Moving companies can be a good source of boxes, as they use them with every job, and know which types of boxes are going to be the best for your move. Additionally they’re likely to have specialized boxes for things like glasses, dishes and some bedroom furniture. If you’re booking your move with a full-service mover, see if they have any free boxes available. Often time’s customers will ask their moving company to remove the boxes after their move. This leaves the mover with a lot of boxes that are still in good shape, and can be re-used for the next move. Some movers will offer you these boxes for free, provided you book your move through them. So if you’re hiring a full-service mover, be sure to ask about boxes.
Bring Your Own Box (BYOB)
In addition to finding boxes in the above locations, you can also reuse boxes that have come with items you’ve purchased, like stereo equipment, computers or more importantly flat screen TV’s. These are specialized boxes, made for the products you’ve purchased, and can be reused during your move. Flat-screen TV boxes are especially important, as they are usually fairly expensive to purchase for a move, and the original box was made to fit your television, and as such should be good protection during your move.
The boxes you use are a key decision you’ll need to make during the course of your move. Like anything else, this is not the time to be frugal. If you value your household goods, makes sure you use some good durable boxes that are sure to last through your move.