Where to Get Free Moving Boxes

Kurt Manwaring
Jan 31, 2023
Icon Time To Read4 min read

At a glance

You can get free moving boxes in tons of places. In addition to checking with neighbors or going online, you can also track down free boxes at grocery stores and furniture stores. Even your local recycling center can often help you out.

Whether you need to transport all your belongings across the country or just want to put a few things into a storage unit, you can trim your moving expenses by getting free boxes.

An infographic illustrating stores where customers can find free moving boxes

Where to get moving boxes

Get free moving boxes from your family, friends, and neighbors

You can often find free moving boxes by asking people you know if they have any spare boxes. Your family, friends, and neighbors will often have unused boxes lying around—even if they haven’t recently moved. It takes only a few minutes to ask, and you can end up with dozens of free cardboard boxes. You can also reach out to friends on social media (see below).

Locate free boxes online

All it takes to find free boxes these days is a good internet connection. Craigslist is a no-brainer, but you can check with any online classified sites in your area that have free stuff. What’s available can change by the day, but you can often find cheap moving boxes even when everyone else has grabbed up the free ones.

Some popular websites include:

  • Americanlisted.com
  • Bedpage
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Geebo
  • Hoobly
  • com
  • Patch
  • Quikr

Another way to find free boxes online is to ask for donations on social media groups like Facebook, Reddit, and Nextdoor. You can even change your social media status to something like “NEED FREE BOXES.”

Heads Up
Plan ahead to save money

Give yourself a couple of weeks to track down free cardboard boxes via online classifieds. Chances are, you’ll find all of the boxes you need.

Find free boxes at a recycling center

You may be able to snag some free cardboard boxes at your local recycling center. We recommend calling ahead to see if the center allows you to take its boxes. And give some thought to putting the boxes back into the recycling bin when you finish. It’s a great way to give someone else the same opportunity to snag a free box and help the environment at the same time.

Ask about free moving boxes at the grocery store

Grocery stores are a golden resource for free moving boxes. They’re not always the best quality (think produce boxes with watermelon stains), but free is free. And grocery stores often have enough boxes to fill up your car or truck. Hit up a few different stores, and you could come back with dozens of boxes. Try to go early in the day (before store associates break the boxes down).

Note: Some storage unit company rules don’t allow boxes that once held food. If you plan to reuse some of your boxes for storage, play it safe and don’t use grocery store freebies.

Heads Up
Where to get moving boxes

Just Google your zip code and “grocery store,” “furniture store,” or “bookstore.” Give these places a call and see if they have a box or a few to spare. Chances are the local manager will give you the store’s cardboard boxes for free.

Check for moving boxes at a furniture store

You can often find free moving boxes at nearby furniture stores. This is one of your best options if you need a large box (think the size of a big leather recliner). You obviously can’t load these suckers up with books (they’d weigh hundreds of pounds), but they work great for light and fluffy items like bedding, towels, and winter coats.

Inquire about free moving boxes at a liquor store

Liquor stores do more than stock up your fridge for a weekend barbeque: they’re also a great source for sturdy boxes. Search for a store in your area and ask if they have any extra liquor boxes. Even if they’re out of stock, you can ask when their next shipment is due and see if they’ll save the boxes for you. It’s an easy way to score some free cardboard boxes.

See if there’s free boxes at an office supply store

Office supply stores are another resource for free moving boxes. Your local Office Depot or Staples likely has a wide range of box sizes to help you pack everything from knickknacks and office supplies to books and paintings.

Look for free moving boxes at a bookstore

There’s often no place better to find free boxes for your books than a bookstore. Since the store’s books arrived in high-quality boxes, it’s a safe bet those same boxes will be strong enough to support the weight of your books.

You can check with an independent bookstore if you’re fortunate enough to have a mom-and-pop shop in your neighborhood. You can also contact some of these larger chains if they have nearby locations:

  • Anderson’s Bookshops
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Bookmans
  • Books-A-Million
  • Books Inc.
  • Deseret Book
  • Follett
  • Half Price Books
  • Powell’s Books
  • Schuler Books & Music

And buy a book while you’re there. It’s a simple way to support a local business if you’d normally buy your books on Amazon.

Where to get free moving boxes FAQ

Where can I find cheap moving boxes?

You can get cheap moving boxes online. Low-quality cardboard boxes typically cost anywhere from $1–$3 per box.

How do I find moving boxes near me?

You can find moving boxes near you by contacting local moving companies. Not only do places like U-Haul have moving boxes, but you can also typically find moving supplies and packing supplies (like bubble wrap and packing material for fragile items).

Where can I get free moving boxes?

You can get free moving boxes at grocery stores, furniture stores, bookstores, and liquor stores. You can also check with nearby recycling centers and online classifieds (like Craigslist).

What are specialty boxes for clothing called?

Specialty boxes for clothing are called wardrobe boxes. You can often find these oversized boxes for free at nearby stores that carry big items (like appliances and electronics).

Kurt Manwaring
Written by
Kurt Manwaring
Kurt Manwaring brings nearly a decade’s worth of research experience as a business consultant to the Move.org team. He specializes in taking complicated issues (like moving) and presenting them in a way that everyone can understand. His writing has been featured in hundreds of publications, including USA Today, Martha Stewart Living, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Heavy, Slate, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. He brings a BS in sociology and an MPA (masters of public administration) to the Move team. He would love to hear about your moving experiences and questions at kurt@move.org.