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How to Get Free Moving Boxes at the Liquor Store

Liquor stores are a great resource for finding free moving boxes. Consider this story from the last time we visited our local, neighborhood liquor store: At the end of every checkout line was a neatly stacked pile of boxes. We walked up to the cashier, explained we were looking to move some things into storage, and asked if there were any boxes available. The cashier replied that it was still early and that she didn’t know if they had extra boxes yet. The boxes at the end of the aisle were for packing customer purchases, she explained, but then she directed us to talk to the woman in the back office.

It was still in the first half-hour of the liquor store’s business day, and at this point, we thought we had arrived too early. But then the office lady said simply, “Meet me around back at the loading dock.”

Only a couple minutes later, she emerged and pushed nine boxes out of the loading dock door, before asking, “Do you need any more?” Now, there are no guarantees that you can just show up at the nearest liquor store and score free boxes. But if you’re new to storage and moving, or just generally the timid type, know at the very least you won’t seem out of place going to the local liquor store to ask for free moving boxes.

Often, the favor you need isn’t so much the liquor store’s extra boxes as the employee’s time. When the weather’s nice and the liquor store is busy with both inventory and sales, the store may simply set out their spare boxes, knowing that they’re likely to be picked up before too long.

Different Types of Liquor Store Boxes

Generally speaking, liquor store boxes tend to be of solid construction. After all, they’re built to hold full beer, wine, and liquor bottles. Likewise, they’re typically big enough to store something substantial, but small enough that you can pack heavy items inside without making them too big to carry. On the other hand, boxes used for cases of beer tend to be wider and shorter, compared to boxes used for wine and spirits. Some boxes will come with cardboard dividers inside that may be perfect or may be more trouble than they’re worth depending on what you’re packing inside.

Now, unless the store clerk asks, we don’t recommend trying to specify what kind of boxes you need. In fact, unless you’ve already planned your move down to the last detail, the best reply to this potential question is likely “a mix of both would be great if you have it.” Always ask for a few more boxes than you think you’ll need, but it’s usually unrealistic to think a single store is going to give you 50 boxes or more. It’s also best to avoid Friday afternoons after work, as well as the day before most major holidays.

Detailed Labeling and Online Tracking

One final thought: Don’t overlook the details when labeling the packed boxes. Brewer and distillery-themed boxes can be a useful aid for labeling and organizing boxes, but it’s not a cure-all. You may be surprised by how quickly you forget whether you put your grandmother’s wall clock in the Bacardi or Jameson box. Be ready to make additional packing notes about the contents before you seal up the box.