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How to Choose the Right Boxes for Moving

Boxes for moving are all the same, right? Yes and no. Most standard moving boxes are single wall, as they’re meant for one-time use. Conversely, most shipping and commercial moving boxes are double-walled, as they are designed to handle heavier loads and longer storage periods. (You can also find triple- and quadruple-walled boxes, but these are, in most cases, unnecessary.)

Many individuals looking at longer storage and repeat-use applications may go with plastic containers. This makes double-wall boxes something of a niche choice. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a middle-of-the-road type option between cardboard boxes and plastic containers, double-wall boxes may be the answer.

Choose the Box for You

Look, for most people and most moving projects, there’s no compelling reason to overthink things. Still, there are times when it’s smart to upgrade to heavy-duty boxes for moving and storage. Here are a few easy questions you can ask yourself to make an informed choice.

– How big and heavy is/are the item(s) you plan to move? If your items are large and/or heavy, opt for the sturdier, double-walled option. If you’re able to estimate weight and size in advance, you can also use the box’s gross weight rating as a guide.

– How far do you plan to travel? Double-walled boxes are designed to last longer and stand up to rough handling. If you’re moving items to a close location (say, a 3-4-hour drive), a single-walled box will do the trick. If you’re driving across the country in the middle of summer and stopping a couple times along the way, you may want the extra peace of mind that comes with double-wall boxes.

– How long and where will your boxes be stored? If you’re planning for long-term storage, double-walled boxes may be worth the investment. Yet, the storage environment is often just as important as the length of time. If they get wet, even double-wall boxes can fail. Conversely, in a well-ventilated, climate-controlled storage facility, even single-wall boxes will last several months, if not years.

Single- vs. Double-Walled Boxes

Single-Walled

Pros

– Cheap, sometimes free

– Good for short-term storage

– Good for short and close moves

Cons

– Cannot hold much weight—even if you have space to spare, surpassing the weight capacity will cause damage.

– Can rarely stand up to rough handling

– Doesn’t stack well—walls are easily crushed.

Double-Walled

Pros

– Able to pack more weight

– Will last more than one move—this cuts down on waste and may end up saving money overall.

– Able to be stacked without damaging contents

– Sturdy and durable—these boxes are perfect for shipping.

Cons

– Expensive—double-walled boxes can sometimes cost up to $10, depending on size

Where to Find Boxes

Boxes for moving are widely available in all sizes and durability levels. Between Home Depot, UHaul, The UPS Store, Walmart, and many other stores, you can find a wide selection. Ask an associate for single- or double-walled boxes. If this question is met with a blank stare, ask instead for heavy-duty, shipping boxes. You can also put in the legwork to get your moving boxes for free.