How to Find Free Packing Supplies

Catrina Cowart
Copywriter, Comma Copywriters
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Edited By Sarah Cimarusti
June 11, 2022
4 min read

At a glance

When you’re moving, you’re probably looking for ways to cuts costs. Finding free moving boxes and supplies is one of the best ways to save money on your move. By reaching out to community groups, ordering moving boxes from the USPS, and asking local businesses, you may be able to move your entire home for next to nothing. 

It might feel overwhelming to find free boxes, but you can do so quickly and easily. Here are some tips for finding moving boxes to make your move more affordable. 


Finding free boxes and supplies

Ask community groups

Searching online community groups like Facebook, Craigslist, and other social media platforms is a good way to see if anyone is giving away moving supplies. The first thing you can do to get free boxes is to look into Freecycling. Freecycling groups focus on recycling items and giving them away (or getting them) for free.

Since Freecycling is a nonprofit movement, many people participate when they want to pass on items they’re done with. Look on Facebook or local community boards to see if there are Freecycling groups near you.

Once you find one, post a “wanted” request asking for moving boxes, packing supplies, and tape. Let others know when you need them by, too, so you can get them on time for your move. You can also browse the items that people have already posted. You may find that someone has boxes ready to go, and you just have to send them a message to schedule a time to pick them up.

You can also look offline by checking your local community centers and community bulletin boards, where you may find offers.

Try dumpster diving

Another option for you may be to go dumpster diving for lightly used items. Dumpster diving is when you look through the dumpsters outside stores, shops, or neighbors’ homes. Digging through a recycling bin or dumpster may help you find some much-needed boxes or material for packing.

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Learn dumpster diving manners

If you’re going to dumpster dive, make sure the business or individual who owns the dumpster is okay with it. You may want to go inside to talk to the store clerk first, for example, and see if they’re okay with you taking the boxes you’ve seen outside. 

In fact, many store owners and their employees help you get what you need if you ask. Your neighbors may be willing to set aside some boxes or packing supplies for you, rather than having you go through their trash.

Order free boxes from the United States Postal Service

Another helpful tip to get free boxes is to order them from the U.S. Postal Service. If you plan to ship your items to your new home, this is even more helpful since these boxes often have flat rate shipping rates.

The U.S. Postal Service will ship a stack of boxes right to your front door, so you don’t even have to go to the postal office to pick them up.

Check with local businesses

It’s good to check with local businesses before buying boxes for your move. Below are some of the stores that may be willing to help.

Grocery stores

Grocery stores usually have many boxes that hold the smaller items sold on shelves. If you check with your local grocer, they may set aside some boxes for you. Ask for the delivery schedule, so you can be there when the boxes are ready.

Furniture stores

Furniture often comes packed in large boxes. Most of those will get thrown away.

Go to the furniture store and ask if they have any old boxes lying around. They may also have some packing supplies on hand, like bubble wrap, wrapping paper, or styrofoam that they’re willing to give to you.

Most stores will be happy to set the items aside for you, so call or visit in person to ask.

Stores that are closing

When stores are closing, they may have items to get rid of. Some of those could be packing boxes and packing supplies.

If you see a local shop shutting down, ask if they have extra moving supplies that you can take for them. They may appreciate the help clearing out the business.

Wineries and liquor stores

Another option is to look at wineries or liquor stores. Bottles often come well-packed in cardboard boxes with packing materials inside, so you may be able to walk away from your visit to a local winery or liquor store with dozens of boxes if you come on the right day. Call ahead, and the manager or owner may be willing to set boxes aside for you.


The takeaway

There are usually many places to find free cardboard moving boxes to make your move cheaper and more efficient. Look online, at your local community bulletin board, and start asking around. Doing a little legwork will help you find plenty of supplies to get you started.

Would you like to learn more about finding cheap moving boxes? Read Where to Get Moving Boxes for more insight at Move.org.


Free moving supplies FAQ

How can I get free packing peanuts?

Packing peanuts make packing easier. If you want to find free packing peanuts, ask local businesses, such as furniture stores or grocery stores, where shipments come in regularly.

Does Walmart give free boxes?

Walmart offers boxes for sale on the shelf, but you can also come to Walmart after 10:00 p.m. to ask for any leftover boxes reserved for recycling. If you can’t stay up that late or wait for the night to come, you may want to go to the customer service counter. Usually, customer service can tell you when to come back or ask department leads if they have boxes available.

What is the cheapest packing material?

The cheapest packing material is any material that doesn’t cost you anything, like free boxes, tissue paper, or strips of cardboard gathered from local retailers. If you’re purchasing supplies, packing peanuts are an affordable option.

What can I use instead of packing paper?

Instead of packing paper, you could try tissue paper, newspaper, packing foam, leftover wrapping paper, blankets, or packing peanuts.


Catrina Cowart
Written by
Catrina Cowart
Catrina Cowart has been writing full-time since 2009. Since starting as a writer and editor, she has worked with small business owners, retailers and others to produce marketable, SEO-ready content to boost their businesses. In her spare time, Catrina enjoys writing and illustrating children's books, traveling, and playing with her two small dogs.