Apartment Advice

7+ Clever Places to Find Free Moving Boxes

Make your move easier, cheaper and more environmentally friendly by reusing moving boxes. Here are 7 places to get them for free.

Moving to a new home or apartment is an exciting time. You get to experience life in an entirely new place and meet a new group of people.

But whether you’re relocating for work or moving by your own choice, there’s so much to consider.

The process of moving is notoriously overwhelming. You have a lot to think about and plan, and having keen organizational skills are needed now more than ever.

This is a great time to enlist the aid of your closest friends and family. They can help you plot your move and be there when it comes time to actually relocate.

We also recommended downsizing your belongings before moving. That way, you have fewer items to pack and move.

But even with the help of friends and after throwing out half of your items, there’s bound to be some complications.

  • You’ll have to deal with cramped stairwells that make it hard to move furniture.
  • Street parking can be hard to come by, especially for a moving truck. So don’t expect to have your U-Haul truck parked in front of your door.
  • If you’re moving in the summer, you’ll have to deal with plenty of heat and humidity.
  • Moving can get expensive, especially if you decide to hire a moving company.


With all those built-in complications, you have enough to deal with. Finding free moving boxes for packing shouldn’t add to all that aggravation.

If you’re moving out, here are seven places you can find free boxes to save money on your move.                         

1. Your Apartment’s Recycling Bin

We’re not suggesting you sort through the dumpster to find empty boxes. But recycling bins tend to be much cleaner. And they’re bound to contain intact and broken down boxes of various sizes.

People order staggering numbers of things online that get delivered to their homes. So you can be confident that empty Amazon boxes will be easy to find. Check through your apartment’s recycling bins. There are sure to be empty cardboard boxes to nab within.

Can’t find any outside your building? Don’t worry; there are lots of other places you can look.

2. A Local Convenience Store or Grocery Store

Maybe you can’t bear the thought of digging through a recycling bin. We get it: it’s not everyone’s idea of a fun evening activity.

You can always stop by your local convenience store or corner market as an alternative. Ask if they have any empty boxes from recent deliveries you can have.

Grocery stores are also great places to find empty boxes. They regularly receive bulk deliveries in numerous large boxes. So you stand a better chance of finding larger boxes than from convenience stores.

There are several corner stores and grocery stores in most neighborhoods. You should be able to gather a large assortment of moving boxes from several local stores in one evening. Bring a friend along to help you haul away all your cardboard box treasures.

                                             Related: your step-by-step guide to moving to another state

3. Your Office Could Have Moving Boxes that are in Good Condition

Is there a nonstop flow of packages coming in and out of your office? If you’re the recipient of those packages, don’t throw them away. Break them down and carry them home.

Look for different-sized boxes. For example:

  • Medium moving boxes are ideal for everyday goods, like books and DVD collections
  • Large, durable boxes can be used to move bulkier items, like electronics
  • Wardrobe boxes will be needed to safely store and move your clothes
  • All keep an eye out for packing boxes for fragile items


Have a variety of box sizes on hand will ensure you have what you need for a seamless moving experience.

If your department doesn’t receive packages, check with your mailroom or your supervisor. They may have extra boxes sitting around that they don’t want.

Just make sure you ask first. You don’t want to get accused of stealing company property (even if it’s trash).

4. Find Moving Boxes on Craigslist

You can find anything on Craigslist, including boxes. Check the “for sale” category for free items, and you might be surprised at how many empty boxes you can find.

You may even be able to find other packing supplies you can use for the move to your new apartment on Craigslist. Consider essential moving supplies. These moving supplies are those items that support your delicate items, like dishware. Browse for packing paper, bubble wrap, shipping tape, box cutters, and label makers.

With a keen eye and a bit of patience, you can likely score super helpful items to bulk up your moving kit.

5. U-Haul Box Exchange Has Plenty of Free Moving Boxes

U-Haul has created a convenient message board to exchange boxes and reduce waste. They make it easy to connect with other customers who want to sell or give away boxes.

You may also score other moving supplies there. Scan the forum to see if anyone is selling or giving away packing tape and bubble wrap. You are sure to need these supplies almost as much as you need used cardboard boxes. It’s a smart way to save money on all your packing supplies.

And who knows, maybe when you’re done moving, you can post the moving supplies you no longer need and pay it forward.

Boxes on the U-Haul Box Exchange forum were typically used for moving only and tend to be rather clean. You can find moving boxes that you won’t be afraid to pack your gear into when moving into your new home.

6. Liquor Stores Are Full of Free Moving Boxes

Liquor stores are plentiful in almost any city in North America. Stop by any liquor store, and you’ll find that they’re nearly always happy to unload some boxes.

Liquor stores regularly receive large shipments of wine and spirits. They often set aside large boxes to help customers who buy these wine and spirits in bulk. These spare boxes make their pickups safer and easier. There’s no reason why you can’t take advantage of these excess boxes to assist you in your move, too.

Simply visit your local liquor store and ask if you can pick up their extra cardboard boxes to add to your moving kit. They’ll likely have the durable boxes you’ve been hoping for.

7. Find Moving Boxes at Schools

Schools can be a great place to find empty storage boxes. This option usually only works if you have a child enrolled in school. Sure, they may not have packing peanuts. But you should be able to collect suitable free moving boxes, like bankers boxes, to help your move.

Don’t put yourself on a government watch list by contacting a school you have no affiliation with, however. If you have a child in school, send an email to the administrative staff. If they have empty boxes on hand or receive frequent deliveries, they’re likely to help.

Bonus: Large Discount Stores + Home Improvement Stores

They call them Big Box Stores for a reason. And most neighborhoods have at least a couple of these massive stores nearby. You may not have thought about it before, but these are wonderful places to collect free moving boxes.

The following stores give out heavy-duty moving boxes to those who ask:

  • Walmart
  • Costco
  • Sam’s Club
  • Home Depot
  • Office Depot
  • Lowe’s

Just think about all the medium and large-sized boxes you can score by appealing to these stores! Big Box Stores sell furniture, appliances, and items in bulk. And all these items originally shipped to their stores in durable cardboard boxes.

If you’re unsure of how to start, call their customer service line. Explain that you’re moving and hoping to pick up free moving boxes from their store if possible. Even if you’ve never done this before, don’t worry. Plenty of others have and it won’t sound strange to whoever you talk to.

Make sure you only take boxes with you that make sense for your move. You don’t want to drag away boxes that are too massive to fill and move!

Other Options for Finding Moving Boxes

Is there a retail store that you frequent? Do you have a friend or a neighbor who works in a bar or restaurant? Reach out to the people you know and the businesses you regularly visit to find empty moving boxes.

Every business receives deliveries of some sort. Put the word out there in advance of your move. You’ll have a good chance of collecting some extra storage boxes before you even need them.

You may be able to score wardrobe moving boxes from clothing retailers. And you may find large moving boxes, medium moving boxes, and small boxes alike at stores or restaurants in strip malls.

The trick is to not wait until the last minute. If a move is imminent, consider all your local stores and restaurants. Then start gathering boxes from them as soon as you decide to move.

Where to Buy Moving Boxes

There are more natural ways to get moving boxes. Amazon offers dozens of options for buying moving boxes. And with Amazon Prime, they can arrive at your door in two days.

Here are a few of our favorite alternatives to look into:


Since you’ll be paying for these moving supplies, assess your move carefully. Then decide what you’ll likely need before you order. You don’t want to buy things that you won’t need. And you certainly don’t want to forget to buy the supplies that you do.

Also see: the 53 kitchen essentials for your brand new apartment


Moving can be a fantastic experience, but physically moving out can be a nightmare. When it comes time to pack and move, you’ll have plenty of challenges to contend with. Finding free and affordable moving boxes should never be one of them.

Check recycling bins, and you’re sure to find plenty of Amazon boxes. Ask local convenience, grocery, and liquor stores if they have empty boxes. Check your office, and look for free boxes on Craigslist. Consult the U-Haul message boards for free moving and packing supplies.

Speaking of moving and packing supplies, don’t forget that you’ll need more than just boxes! Think about digital forums and marketplaces like Craigslist, U-Haul, and Amazon. There, you’ll be able to find an array of boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and packing tape at a steal.

It’s also all about contacts. If you have a child enrolled in school, ask your administrators if they can contribute. If there’s a local retail store, bar, or restaurant that you frequent, ask if they can help you out.

With a little ingenuity and some polite asking, finding empty packing boxes should be a breeze.

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