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Where to Get Free Cardboard Boxes for Moving

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

26th Jul 2021 (Last updated on 9th Mar 2022) 6 minute read

Before moving, you’ll need to get prepared and find as many cardboard boxes as possible to pack up your home. The more organised you are, the easier the whole moving process will be and there may be ways of saving a bit of money.

Considering the cost of moving house, we've looked at a number of small ways in which you can stretch your budget further by obtaining free cardboard boxes. Not only will this help you save money, but you'll also be helping the environment by keeping items out of a landfill and reusing existing boxes.

That said, make sure the free boxes you acquire are clean, sturdy and suitable for your move. You should also make sure you have permission to take the boxes if they are outside a supermarket or business, for example. Below we have listed a variety of places where you’ll be able to find moving free boxes, saving you money when moving home.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Ask Friends and Family
  2. Facebook Marketplace and Community Groups
  3. Nextdoor
  4. Gumtree
  5. Freecycle
  6. Ask Supermarkets and Local Shops
  7. Restaurants, Cafes and Fast Food Chains
  8. Ask at Bookstores
  9. Check with Local Recycling Centres
  10. Do Removal Companies Provide Moving Boxes?
  11. Saving Money on Your Move

Ask 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 may even be doing them a favour by taking boxes and packing materials off their hands and putting them to good use. Alternatively, they could point you in the direction of someone they know who has spare boxes.

Facebook Marketplace and Community Groups

By simply putting up a Facebook status, you can receive lots of help from friends, family and people in your local area. There will also be a range of local organisations and community groups to join where you might be able to find second-hand boxes to use.

With Facebook Marketplace, you can filter to your location and the surrounding areas and directly contact individuals who are giving away boxes and packing supplies.

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Nextdoor

The Nextdoor app is a great platform to exchange recommendations for your area and hear about local news and announcements, but it is also another perfect place to seek out free cardboard moving boxes. You can post a request, respond to anyone offering packing supplies or search the marketplace section on the platform.

The app uses a mapping feature that enables users to post messages at a hyper-local level, meaning someone giving away packing boxes could be just around the corner from you.

Gumtree

Many online selling platforms have items listed for free and one of those items is 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 Gumtree to declutter your home before moving, meaning you'll be packing fewer items and using fewer boxes. You may even find items for your new home.

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Freecycle

Another way to find cardboard boxes for moving is by using Freecycle. The benefit of Freecycle is that it is a grassroots, nonprofit organisation aimed at keeping items out of landfills. Membership is free and to date over 5,300 towns are registered, so there's a good chance you'll find what you need nearby.

As with all second-hand boxes, 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.

Ask Supermarkets and Local Shops

Most large supermarkets chains will give away cardboard boxes of varying sizes, you simply have to ask. As most supermarket chains have items delivered in bulk, the boxes are likely to be large and strong, especially those used to carry heavy items such as alcohol.

Additionally, local fruit and vegetable shops will have their stock delivered in heavy-duty cardboard boxes and many are happy to provide some if you ask. It’s also worth asking if they have any wooden crates as these will be good for heavier items and can also be kept as longer-term storage or display in your home afterwards.

Restaurants, Cafes and Fast Food Chains

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.

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.

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Ask at 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.

Check with Local Recycling Centres

Another place to look is your nearest recycling centre. This is where all cardboard boxes go when they aren’t being used and so there should be plenty available. Be aware that you may 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.

For more information on correctly and efficiently packing boxes see: How to Pack Boxes When Moving House

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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.

For more information on the additional services removal firms can provide read: What Other Services Do Removal Companies Offer?

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

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

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