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Scott Evans
July 6, 2023

How to get free cardboard boxes for moving

Need free cardboard boxes for moving home?

Are you gearing up for your next big move? Do you cringe when you see the prices of new moving boxes? You're not alone. Luckily, there are various places where you can score free cardboard boxes for moving.

Benefits of using cardboard boxes when moving

Let's start with the basics - why are cardboard boxes considered indispensable for moving? Well, they're lightweight, sturdy, easy to handle, and, most importantly, versatile. These humble boxes can securely hold your heaviest books, most delicate china, and everything in between. 

And if you're strategic about where you look, they can be free. Here are some of the places you can look to get your hands on free cardboard boxes when moving home.

The Supermarket

Start your free cardboard box hunt at the place you probably visit at least once a week: the supermarket. Supermarkets receive goods in sturdy cardboard boxes that they typically recycle or discard. 

It's a win-win situation: they get to declutter, and you get your moving boxes. Just make sure you ask for boxes that carried non-perishables to avoid unwanted residues.

Coffee Shops

Your favourite local coffee shop can be more than just a source of your daily caffeine fix. Many coffee shops receive their supplies in sturdy, appropriately-sized cardboard boxes. 

Imagine packing your belongings in boxes that once housed coffee beans from around the world. The hint of a coffee scent might even make unpacking less stressful!

Local Bookstores

Bookstores get regular deliveries in sturdy, large boxes perfect for packing your household goods. These boxes are designed to hold heavy loads (books aren't light!), making them an excellent choice for your next move.

Friends and Family

This might seem obvious, but it's often overlooked: ask your friends and family for boxes. They might have some stored away from their last move or recent online orders. Reusing these boxes is not only environmentally friendly, it's budget-friendly too.


Schools, colleges, and universities can be an excellent source of free cardboard boxes. With regular supplies delivered for canteen, administration, and various departments, they're likely to have a stack they're willing to give away. Plus, during certain times of the year (like the end of semesters), you might find a goldmine of boxes from students moving out.

Local Businesses

Don't forget about local businesses in your quest for free cardboard boxes. They often receive inventory and supplies in strong, high-quality boxes that can easily be repurposed for moving. This includes everything from local boutiques to electronics stores. Just remember to ask nicely!

Facebook Groups

The rise of the internet and social media has made it easier than ever to find free moving boxes. Facebook groups like "Buy Nothing," "Freecycle," or local community groups often have posts from people giving away boxes from their recent move or purchases. Not only is this a fantastic way to get free boxes, but it also fosters community engagement.

Recycling Centres

Most cities have recycling centres where residents can drop off their used cardboard. Often, these centres will let you take boxes if you ask. You’ll be helping the environment and saving money at the same time.

Charity Shops

Charity shops receive donations in boxes that they might be happy to pass along. You could walk away with boxes and a good deed for the day if you decide to donate some items you no longer need!

Other places to get free carboard boxes

As our journey continues, it's worth mentioning that many places, such as department stores, warehouses, and even your workplace, could potentially provide free cardboard boxes for moving. If you see a delivery happening or know a shipment is on the way, don't hesitate to inquire about the fate of those boxes. Often, they're just headed for the recycling bin.

Online Classifieds

In addition to physical locations, don't overlook the power of the internet. Websites like Craigslist and Nextdoor often have sections where community members can post free items, including cardboard boxes. Checking these sites regularly (and responding quickly!) can reward you with a bounty of free boxes.

Tips For Gathering Your Free Boxes

Now that you know the where let's talk about the how. 

Here are some tips to maximize your box gathering efforts:

  1. Start early. Don't wait until the last minute to start gathering boxes. As soon as you know you're moving, start looking out for free boxes.
  2. Ask around. Tell your friends, family, and coworkers about your move. They might have boxes they're looking to get rid of, or they could keep an eye out for boxes at their workplaces.
  3. Be flexible. The perfect box might not be available at the perfect time. You might need to store some boxes for a while before your move.
  4. Think variety. Get boxes of different sizes. While large boxes are great for lightweight items like bedding and clothing, you'll need smaller boxes for heavier items like books and kitchenware.
  5. Inspect the boxes. Make sure the boxes are clean, sturdy, and dry before you take them home.

Scott Evans

Scott Evans is the Managing Director of Pink Storage and has many years of experience in the Self Storage Space. Scott has been featured on websites such as MSN, Yahoo, Wales Online, Daily Mail, The Express, The Mirror and many more by sharing his knowledge on everything storage.

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