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Where, When, and How to Get Free Moving Boxes

We sent a small army of amateur movers and average folks to every kind of store and community destination we could think of in search of free moving boxes. What we found out was that there’s a good amount of luck and randomness involved, but that there are also rules-of-thumb to follow that can greatly increase your chances for success. Here’s our best advice and tips broken down by the type of location and source.

  • Friends, Online, and Community-Based Resources: You may not have easy access to commercial shipping and distribution centers, but it could be a different story for any friends or family who work there. This old-fashioned networking can now be supplemented with online and community-based resources.
  • Grocery Stores: The grocery store can be a great source of free moving boxes, or it can be essentially a waste of time. Still, because some of the very best boxes available are commonly found at the grocery store, this is a great place to start. We find you tend to get more out of your time by following three tips in particular.
  • Liquor Stores: This is a staple for free moving boxes. These locations tend to have strong boxes that are available on a regular basis. Go early in the day and you can also usually find an employee who’s available to help you out.
  • Retail, Chain, and Big-Box Stores: Apart from liquor and grocery stores, this is something of a catch-all guide for stores that may provide you with free boxes. Don’t overlook these tips, however, just because we deliver them in rapid-fire succession. We start with a short list of questions to help you narrow down your potential targets.

We’re confident that, so long as you have a few hours of time to do the legwork, you’ll be able to score plenty of free boxes for your move. If you’re pressed for time, don’t mind throwing a few extra dollars at the problem, or want the extra peace of mind that comes with brand-new cardboard, then check out our Moving Boxes guide.