Moving boxes are the same weight and quality as ordinary shipping boxes unless you purchase some made from thicker cardboard that allows for heavier packing. So, the question most people have is, should I purchase moving boxes or find some slightly-used from grocery stores or friends who've just recently moved.
The answer is usually found in a combination of need and cost. For expensive, fragile or sentimental items that you don't want to be damaged, it's always best to err on the side of caution and purchase new moving boxes.
So, when choosing to purchase moving boxes, keep these tips in mind:
Buy small moving boxes:
The rule of thumb is that each box should not weigh more than 50 lbs. Even if you've hired movers, remember that you may have to move the boxes yourself, from one room to another, so make sure you're able to lift them yourself. Some boxes, such as a wardrobe or electronic box, may naturally be heavier. Just try to keep the number of boxes over 50 pounds to a minimum.
Type of boxes you may need and what they're used for:
1.5 cubic foot moving box which is 16 x 12½ x 12½ inches - the box used the most and can safely carry up to 60 lbs. Again, keep weight under 50 lbs. This box is great for books, for packing kitchen items, dishes, fragile and small appliances, lamps or shades.
3.0 cubic foot moving box which is 18 x 18 x 16 and can safely carry up to 65 lbs. Great for clothing, pots and pans and electronics.
4.5 cubic foot moving box which is 18 x 18 x 24 and can safely carry up to 65 lbs. Great for larger lamps, linens and larger kitchen appliances.
6.0 cubic foot moving box which is 22 x 22 x 21 ½ and can carry up to 70 lbs, but a word of caution: Do not over stuff this box as it can become very heavy.
Use this box for pillows, toys, large blankets and couch/chair cushions.
6.1 cubic foot moving box which is 24 x 18 x 24. This box is a rectangular shape and may work better for blankets and comforters and cushions. Use it for objects that do not fit properly into the 6.0 cubic box.
Hanging wardrobe boxes come in various sizes (small, medium and large) with each having a metal bar and shaped just like a wardrobe. They are great for hanging closet items that you can't pack flat. Just remember that they are heavy and take up a lot of room. If you can pack clothes flat, this will save you some money. Some movers use these boxes to move chandeliers or delicate wind chimes that are better to move hanging than flat.
Lay Down Wardrobe Box which is approximately 32 x 19 7/8 x 9. It resembles a dresser drawer and is great for packing clothing that you prefer only to fold once. Just remember not to over-pack this box as it cannot withstand heavy items.
Picture and/or Mirror Boxes: All mirror boxes can be telescoped, meaning that two can be put together to get a longer fit. When fitting two boxes together, make sure you use a strong filament tape to secure them together and to handle the additional weight.
Mirror boxes are designed to handle framed pictures, artwork, and mirrors. Bubble wrap is recommended for all framed items.
Dish packs: Great for packing glasses, cups or liquor/wine bottles. Just make sure you don't over pack them. Check the weight to ensure they are still manageable. Over packing, dish packs can result in dropped boxes and shattered items.
Mattress boxes: These boxes aren't necessary as most movers will wrap your mattress in plastic bags which are much cheaper to purchase. However, boxes will keep your mattress from being punctured, or if it's being stored for a while, it'll protect it better from outside forces. Mattress boxes come in many sizes from cribs to twin to king-size.