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How to Find and Pack Boxes When Moving House

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

15th Aug 2018 (Last updated on 4th Jan 2021) 4 minute read

The thought of spending money on packing boxes and packaging materials for your house removals can be stressful. Most removal companies will offer a packing service where they provide you with the cardboard boxes, but there are many easy alternative ways you can get your cardboard boxes for free before your move.

Taking a trip down to your local supermarket at the right time, visiting the small coffee shops and restaurants in town and searching sites like Gumtree and Facebook are all simple but effective ways to find moving house boxes in your local area. 

At Compare My Move, we’ve compiled a list of the 6 best places you can get free cardboard boxes and packing materials, along with how to correctly tape your moving boxes so that they don’t break during the journey.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Where to Find Moving House Boxes
  2. How to Pack Your Boxes
  3. Save Money on Your Home Removal

Where to Find Moving House Boxes

Getting your hands on cardboard boxes doesn't have to be a difficult task. You don't have to look as far as you think. We've put together 6 of the best places you can get free cardboard boxes for your move.

1. Friends and Family

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’ll be doing them a favour if this is the case. Take the packing boxes from their hands and put them to good use.

Alternatively, they could point you in the right direction if they know someone who has boxes. It’s also possible to ask your removal company for advice as they will either have the materials ready to use or will know where to find some.

2. Supermarkets

Most big supermarkets give away cardboard boxes that are usually varied in size, which will come in handy when you’re packing specific items. They will often give them to you for free, knowing they will be recycled. 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.

3. Local Shops and Restaurants

Cafes and restaurants will receive a few deliveries a week with a variety of different sized boxes. From small packing boxes of fruit to big bulk orders of food, they would only be going to the recycling tip anyway so why not make the most of it? You’ll be helping independent and small local businesses by taking the cardboard off their hands as well. There's often a variety of different sized boxes stacked up outside bars ready for recycling day.  

4. Look Online

There are a number of online resources where you can find packing boxes and packing materials to help with your move. From social media to online stores, you’ll be surprised what you can find. By simply putting up a Facebook status, you can receive lots of help from your local area.  

5. Gumtree

The online selling platform, Gumtree, has daily listings for free cardboard boxes. The benefit of using websites like Gumtree is that you can filter it to be set to only listings in your local area. Similarly, sites like Facebook will come in handy when you’re on the hunt for something in particular.  

Use community pages for your local neighbourhood or even groups specifically set up for swapping items or people looking to pass moving boxes on. You can also use these sites to declutter your home before moving, meaning you'll be packing fewer items.

6. Get Creative

Using your imagination when it comes to alternatives for cardboard boxes is a great way to get creative if you're moving house with children. It'll encourage them to get involved in the packing and give you a helping hand as well. 

Using items such as laundry baskets or suitcases that can double up as packing boxes on moving day is an innovative way of making the most of the space you have.

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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How to Pack Your Boxes

If you have to assemble your cardboard boxes, you’ll want to start at the bottom of the box to maximise safety. Use plenty of tape to form the 'H' method on the box, as shown in the graphic below.

Make sure that you’re confident that your box has been sealed correctly. If you're unsure, add some more tape along any other lengths for added security. You should use thick parcel tape as it’s the strongest type and will stop the box from breaking and causing damage.

You will need:

  • Moving house packing boxes
  • Brown tape 
  • Tape dispenser
  • Fragile labels or tape
  • Detailed labels
how to tape boxes

Step 1 - Start by folding the two smaller flaps of the box in.

Step 2 - Follow this by folding the two larger flaps to complete the shape of the box.

Step 3 - Place secure brown tape along the centre of the box where the two large flaps meet.

Step 4 - Seal the edges along the left and right-hand side of the larger flaps to form a ‘H’. 

Save Money on Your Home Removal

Now that you’ve got all your packaging materials together, you’ll want to book a removal company to help get your belongings organised and on the move. Get connected with Compare My Move to save up to 70% on the cost of your home removal today.

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having written for Huffington Post and Film Criticism Journal, Martha now regularly researches and writes advice articles for everything moving house related.

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.