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How to Find Boxes For Moving House

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

26th Jul 2021 (Last updated on 18th Aug 2021) 6 minute read

Before moving house, you’ll need to get prepared and find as many cardboard boxes as possible. Packing can be a long and tedious task, but the more organised you are, the easier it’ll be to get through. There are a number of places where you’ll be able to find cardboard boxes and many might even offer them for free.

The cost of moving house can be fairly high, so you might be looking for some inexpensive ways to get moving boxes before packing your items. The little things can add up a lot, so researching cost-effective tips or techniques can be a great way to save money.

Compare My Move works alongside numerous property and finance experts to create insightful guides that will guide you through the moving process. In this article, we will list a variety of places where you’ll be able to find free cardboard boxes, as well as second hand moving boxes.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Where to Find Free Cardboard Boxes for Moving
  2. Second Hand Moving Boxes
  3. Do Removal Companies Provide Moving Boxes?
  4. Saving Money on Your Move

Where to Find Free Cardboard Boxes for Moving

Between conveyancing costs, stamp duty and removal costs, you may be looking to save a little extra during your house move. There are a number of small ways in which you can stretch your budget further, one such example being obtaining free cardboard boxes to help you pack. Below, we’ve included a list of places where you can find free cardboard boxes for moving house:

1. Local Shops and Restaurants

Cafes, restaurants and other businesses will receive a few deliveries a week containing a variety of different sized boxes. From small packing boxes to big bulk orders, they will have a range to choose from, many that would only be recycled or thrown away anyway. You’ll likely be helping independent and small businesses by taking the cardboard boxes off their hands. There's often a variety of different sized boxes stacked up outside bars also, ready for recycling day - don’t be afraid to ask.

2. Supermarkets

Most large supermarkets will give away cardboard boxes of varying sizes, you simply have to ask. They will typically give them to you for free, knowing they will be recycled. Many supermarket chains will have discounts and sell items in bulk, meaning more deliveries and bigger boxes. As they need to carry heavier items, fruit and alcohol boxes are typically of a higher quality.

It’s also worth asking if they have any wooden crates as these will be good for shifting heavier items. You’ll have a better guarantee of the cardboard boxes being available if you go to the supermarket in the morning, just after they've had a delivery. Alternatively, if this isn’t possible, you could try late in the afternoon when the shelves are being restocked. However, each store will have its personal policies so some may be limited on what they can give away.

3. Fast Food Restaurants

Fast food restaurants may not be an obvious solution, but they can be a great place to find free moving boxes. As they will have multiple deliveries on a regular basis, there should be an abundance of free cardboard boxes to choose from. Many of the boxes will be high quality as they are made to carry heavy items such as frozen food and bulk orders. But don’t forget to inspect the boxes before taking them with you to ensure they are sturdy enough for your specific needs.

4. Bookstores

Another solution to finding free moving boxes is to ask local bookstores. Whether they are a well-known chain or a small, independent business, bookstores will have many strong and sturdy boxes available.

Apart from your household appliances, your books will likely be some of the heavier items you need to pack. Boxes from bookstores are designed to carry a large number of books and so will be strong enough to survive the move. Don’t forget to research how to pack books correctly to ensure they are not damaged during the journey.

5. Recycling Centres

Somewhere many movers forget to look is their nearest recycling centre. This is where all cardboard boxes go when they aren’t being used and so there should be plenty available. Know that you will have more luck with a recycling centre that accepts corrugated cardboard boxes.

Many will be flattened down when they arrive but they can be easily returned to their original shape. Before taking the boxes with you, make sure you check for any insects, damp or unwanted items inside. Also, consider strengthening them with packing tape to ensure they hold.

6. Getting Creative

Using your imagination when it comes to alternatives for cardboard boxes is a great way to save money and make the move more interesting, especially if you're moving house with children - It'll encourage them to get involved in the packing process, ensuring you get a helping hand. Using items such as laundry baskets or suitcases that can double up as packing boxes is an innovative way of making the most of the space you have.

However, if you're struggling to find boxes, you can specify that you need them when requesting removal quotes from our trusted removal partners.

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Second Hand Moving Boxes

Another solution to acquiring cardboard boxes for moving is to search for used ones. These may be of a lower quality depending on how they have been previously used, but there’s still a chance that you can get them for free.

1. Family and Friends

It’s a good idea to start with your friends and family as it’s more than likely they’ll have some spare boxes leftover from moving or from deliveries that they haven’t gotten around to recycling yet. You may even be doing them a favour by taking the packing boxes from their hands and putting them to good use. Alternatively, they could point you in the direction of someone they know who has spare boxes.

2. Gumtree

The online selling platform, Gumtree, has daily listings for free cardboard boxes. The benefit of using websites such as Gumtree is that you can filter it to only listings in your local area. You can use community pages or even groups specifically set up for swapping items. There will also be a number of people who have just moved and are looking to pass on their moving boxes. Don’t forget to thoroughly inspect the boxes before using them.

You can also use these sites to declutter your home before moving, meaning you'll be packing fewer items and using fewer boxes.

3. Social Media

There are a number of online resources where you can find packing boxes and packing materials to help with your house move. By simply putting up a Facebook status, you can receive lots of help from your local area. There will also be a range of community groups to join where you might be able to find second hand boxes to use.

4. Freecycle

Another way to find cardboard boxes for moving is by using Freecycle. If you don’t know anyone who has recently moved house, you can find others who have via this online service. However, it’s important to be realistic and to inspect the boxes before using them. Many cardboard boxes will only survive a few house moves so you need to check their condition first and ask how many moves they have been through.

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Do Removal Companies Provide Moving Boxes?

Many reputable removal companies will supply their clients with moving boxes and other packing materials. However, this will often come with an added cost depending on which company you use.

One benefit of receiving moving boxes from your removals company is that you know they will be of high quality and will successfully protect your items. They will have good knowledge of what is available and what materials would be better suited to your needs. Your removal team should also be able to provide you with an approximate number of boxes that you’ll need for your specific house move.

Saving Money on Your Move

Now that you know where you can obtain a variety of cardboard boxes for moving, you can begin the packing process and continue organising your moving date. Don't forget to compare removal quotes with Compare My Move to save up to 70% on your overall moving costs.

Zenyx Griffiths

Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Co-Founder and Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the co-founder and director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.