Moving? Here’s How to Get Free Boxes and Other Packing Materials, Sustainably

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Aug. 16 2022, Published 4:22 p.m. ET

Moving Boxes
Source: Getty Images

Anyone who's packed up and moved knows is no easy process — whether you're relocating down the street or across the country, it requires quite a bit of energy, effort, and materials. From boxes to bubble wrap, there are a wide range supplies you'll find yourself needing, in order to successfully shuttle your stuff out from your old home, into your new one.

But if you're looking to keep things sustainable, here's how to get moving boxes and other packing materials.

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Borrow boxes from someone else who recently moved.

Source: Getty Images

Whether your bestie recently moved in with her boo, or if you have new neighbors, they likely still have old moving boxes around, someone may have boxes for you.

I, personally, have never purchased moving boxes because I always have friends that are moving to new neighborhoods within New York City. But even if you aren't living in the Big Apple, you — or someone you know — likely knows someone who recently moved. Just make sure to ask to borrow their boxes before they unpack and recycle them!

Go to a liquor store or Costco.

Source: Getty Images

While we don't condone stealing, liquor stores, as well as big box stores like Costco, always tend to have a surplus of cardboard boxes which they don't really seem to care about.

You probably won't want to take them en masse, but if you're willing to make a few trips over the span of a couple of weeks, you could probably acquire a decent amount of boxes for free.

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Check your local "Buy Nothing" group.

We love a good Buy Nothing Facebook group, or another local community group of the like. People are often trying to get rid of things they wouldn't try to sell (like cardboard boxes or bubble wrap!). Whether you live in a city or a small town, there are likely local Facebook groups — monitor the posts to see if anyone is getting rid of anything that will come in handy during your move!

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Save up your old Amazon boxes and other shipping materials.

Source: Getty Images

If you tend to order things to your home — whether it's from Amazon, Chewy, or smaller businesses — you can save up the shipping boxes, packing peanuts, and bubble wrap over the course of a few weeks or months, depending on how many boxes you'll need. It definitely requires a little extra effort and patience, but will ultimately pay off when you get to reuse all the packaging.

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Check the Nextdoor app.

Beth Zeigler of Apartment Therapy suggests downloading the Nextdoor app — you can connect with others in your community, who are constantly sharing news, things they're trying to get rid of, and more. If you post to see if anyone has extra boxes, you'll likely locate a neighbor willing to part ways with some old packing materials they haven't yet tossed.

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Make a trip to your local recycling center.

Recycling Center
Source: Getty Images

Obviously, recycling centers are chock full of cardboard boxes. You might need to call ahead of time to make sure you can take some for yourself, but it's probably fine.

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Log on to Craigslist.

Craigslist is a mecca for people trying to discard old junk — as long as you're willing to meet up with a random person in your area, you can probably score some free boxes. Just play it safe if you decide to arrange an in-person pickup!

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Ask the front desk person in an office building.

Source: Getty Images

Office buildings end up acquiring tons of boxes and other types of packing materials from people moving in and out of offices, from the package room, and from having to order office supplies. Go to an office building and speak with the person behind the front desk — they will most likely be able to direct you to a recycling room that's filled to the brim with packing supplies.

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Try asking your local public school.

Source: Getty Images

You wouldn't think schools would receive a ton of packages, but for supplies and other things, they actually generate quite a bit of packing waste. Take a trip to your local public school to see if they're willing to part ways with any — you'll probably be surprised!

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