How to Get Packing Supplies for Free

Moving is one thing more than it is anything else; expensive. There are lots of individual costs and expenditures that come together to make up a grand total you and your wallet don’t want to think about, but in the end, will have to face. Thankfully, there are some methods that you can use to greatly reduce the costs associated with your move, including some things that have fringe benefits, such as the reduction of your environmental impact while moving. If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m talking about packing supplies!

Getting boxes, packing paper, and everything else you need to pack up the things in your home can be a time intensive and very expensive task, especially if you plan on purchasing everything you will need. Of course the cost will vary depending on the amount of things that you are moving, but at three or four dollars a box for plain boxes, and more than ten or twenty for cell kits and specialty boxes, you can guarantee that you’ll be spending far more than you’d like to no matter what. If you’re packing electronics, or other delicate items, you will have to spend even more. But you don’t have to spend money where you don’t have to. Instead, read on and find out how to get all of the packing supplies you’ll need, completely free.

The Core Moving Supply: Boxes

At the most basic, the one moving supply that you will need the most is sturdy, cardboard boxes. If you choose to purchase them, they can cost you hundreds of dollars, but there are methods of getting them for free.

  • Visit your local retail store, big box mart, or grocery store and ask the managers if they have extra boxes from a recent shipment of goods. In many cases, stores like these will stock their shelves and then break down the boxes and put them in the back. Once there, they have to pay someone else to haul them away. Because you would be doing them a favor by taking them off your hands, you can expect them to readily hand over these in bulk, resulting in you having all the boxes you need for your move.
  • Check your local paper to see if anyone has a classified ad in the ‘free’ section. Often, people who have just moved into the area will put a week-long ad in the paper to try and get rid of their moving supplies including boxes. Sometimes they might charge a fee for really nice boxes, cell kits, or wardrobe boxes, but most of the time they just give regular boxes away for free. It saves them time, and effort, and benefits another person in their own, new community.
  • Look online and use community forums or sites like craigslist to find people who are moving or recently have moved into the area. They will generally leave ads for their moving boxes, or they may simply post a ‘curb alert’ and put these items out by the curb for the trash. You’ll have to be quick in some cases, but you can usually score some nice packing supplies and boxes by going this route.

Padding, Packing, and Protecting

Moving boxes themselves aren’t the only supplies you’ll need when you are moving. You’ll need things to pad your more delicate items and pack everything else. Some supplies, like tape, you might have to purchase, but everything else you should be able to obtain for free.

  • Start saving your newspapers and coupon mailers as soon as you know you will be moving. For a very long time, newsprint has been the best packing paper available. While professional companies don’t recommend that you use newspaper for packing items where the print may damage it, you can still use it to fill empty space in boxes and wrap items that can easily be washed.
  • There are probably lots of things in your own home that you can use as padding for dishes and glass that need to be packed. For example, towels make great packing material for plates and flat items, while socks and washcloths are perfect for glasses and items that should not only be surrounded by padding, but stuffed with it as well.
  • Again, check on craigslist, or even in your local paper to see if anyone in the area has moved recently. Often times, they are willing to give away more than just their moving boxes. You might find packing paper, bubble wrap, and even used rolls of packing tape in the items that are being given away. Because some families are anxious to give these things away and get settled into their own new home, you might find yourself scoring a goldmine by taking this route.

Moving is pretty expensive, even if you’ve chosen to move on your own. There are still many different aspects you have to pay for, including packing materials, fuel, rental fees, insurance fees, and more. By getting free moving boxes, and other packing materials, you can be sure that your funds are maximized and your costs are minimized throughout the entire process. Just remember, never pack non-allowable items in any of your boxes or you may end up paying far more than you ever expected. If these items cause damage to the truck or anything in it, you can be held liable and your insurance may reject the claim. While moving boxes may be plentiful, remember to only pack what the movers can legally and safely move.