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How to get moving boxes for free

10 Places you can find free moving boxes

After finding your perfect new home, it’s time to start getting packed up and ready to move. But you never realized how much stuff you have — until now. You need free moving boxes ASAP. Luckily, there are many places to find all the boxes you need without spending a dime!

Need moving help?

Before you get just any old box, read this:

Choosing the right moving boxes can go a long way to make your move go as smoothly as possible.

Many people do the same mistake when searching for moving boxes: thinking that the biggest boxes are the best. Many people think that bigger boxes allow them to load up as much stuff as possible in one place, making packing and unpacking more convenient. Wrong.

What isn’t convenient about this approach is just how heavy those boxes can quickly become! If you take a large moving box and put every book you own in it, that box is going to be heavy! Not only will the box struggle to stay together, but no one, including yourself, will want to carry it!

Be sure to get various sizes when picking up your moving boxes. You’ll be thankful to carry a small box of books instead of a large one. Now that you know to look for boxes in various sizes and shapes, here are our top picks for places to find them for free.

Where to get free moving boxes

1. Craigslist

One of the best ways to get free moving boxes is by searching on your local Craigslist. On Craigslist, you can just go to the “free” section of the site for your location and search for “boxes” or “moving boxes” and see what people have to offer.

Lots of times, people that have recently moved are more than happy to give their boxes away. Not only is reusing these boxes great for you, but it also helps them get rid of all their boxes, so it’s a win-win!

2. U-Haul

One of the little-known features of U-Haul locations is their Customer Connect center where you can take as many free moving boxes as you can find! It is a location where their customers can drop off moving boxes after they’re finished with them. Then, other people can come in and pick them up. 

You just need to ask the store manager if they have any moving boxes available, then fill out a few short documents, and you’re off with as many boxes as you can carry!

3. Bookstores

If you’re a bookworm needing to transport many books to your new home, the best place to get optimal book-carrying boxes is, not so surprisingly, a bookstore! 

The boxes that books are delivered to bookstores are made for book-moving in mind, with the perfect size and design to carry your books. Stop in the local bookstore, see when their deliveries are, and ask if you can pick up the boxes on delivery day.

4. Walmart

Just think about how much stuff Walmart has. Now think about how it all gets delivered to the stores — in boxes! Supercenters have so much merchandise coming in regularly, so there are plenty of boxes they need to get rid of.

It can’t hurt to call your local Walmart and see if they have any boxes that you could take off their hands. 

5. Target

Just like Walmart, Target seems to have just about everything you could ever want or need. Thus, it is expected that they, too, will have lots of boxes. Try calling them up and seeing if you can have some of the boxes they were planning on disposing of anyways.

It may surprise you how many boxes you could get by simply calling a couple of these major retailers!

6. Liquor store boxes

The boxes used to deliver liquor need to be designed well and sturdy enough to hold the bottles of liquor, as a broken box could lead to a substantial loss depending on the type of liquor inside!

Liquor store boxes are small and easy to carry as well as made to carry a heavy load. They’re perfect for your small, heavy, and/or fragile items. Not to mention it’s a great excuse to stop at the liquor store for an after-moving treat for your moving buddies.

7. Fast food restaurant tater and fry boxes

Fast food restaurants have one particular type of box that is perfect for moving: the boxes that they get their fries and tater tots in. These boxes are able to hold up to 40 pounds worth of frozen goodies and even have handles sometimes.

This combination of sturdiness and ease of carrying makes them ideal for moving. Some of the other food boxes would be undoubtedly useful too, so see what you can get ahold of!

8. Starbucks

Next time you’re at Starbucks enjoying your morning coffee, take a second to ask if you could have some of their boxes. Starbucks gets constant deliveries of coffee grounds, cups, pastries, napkins, and more, meaning they have an abundance of boxes every time they get a delivery.

The baristas do most of the work themselves from unpacking to disposing of the boxes, and they’d likely be happy to let you take some of them off their hands!

9. Staples

Staples and other office supplies stores receive multiple deliveries a week. These deliveries consist of boxed items such as paper, appliances, and more. The boxes they have will be more than capable of packing up your belongings!

These types of stores also sell other necessary supplies, including packing tape, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, etc. You could make a single stop and get everything you need in one trip!

10. Schools

Schools receive deliveries of all sorts on a regular basis. Food, textbooks, office supplies, you name it, schools get it.

Try calling up your local schools and seeing if you can get some of their boxes. The janitorial staff will surely be glad to have someone to take the boxes off their hands. It’s less work for them, after all.

Benefits of taking the time to find free moving boxes

  • Save money

There are major expenses associated with moving. Think about hiring a moving company, renting a truck, and providing pizza for your friends and family who help out. While deciding on which moving service is best for you, keep in mind everything adds up over time.

Cutting down on some of these smaller costs can help save money in the grand scheme of things. So, if you can eliminate the need for purchasing boxes, why wouldn’t you? It may even save you more money than you think!

  • Help the environment

You save money by not buying new boxes and you also reduce cardboard waste. Reusing perfectly good boxes helps out the entire planet. The less cardboard sitting in landfills, the better!


Maybe you’d never thought about where to go to get moving boxes. Or why thinking this step-through makes moving a little easier, more cost-effective, and better for our world. We hope you enjoyed this list and good luck with your search for boxes. Hint: it shouldn’t be too hard now that you know where to look.

A quick note! Our goal is to gather and share info that’s up-to-date and helps you make great decisions as a renter. That said, the information you get directly from a provider could be a little different. Make sure to review their terms and conditions directly; and, if you see anything here that needs to be updated, please let us know! Advertising disclosure
Last Updated: May 20th, 2022