13 Places to Get Free Moving Boxes

How to Get Moving Boxes for Free

moving boxes being recycled

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Moving boxes for free are abundant if you keep your eyes open. Using them saves you money and helps the environment by recycling cardboard containers. When you find them, make sure they're clean, sturdy, and in good condition to protect your items. Read on to find plenty of places that offer various-sized boxes for moving for free that can take some of the hassles out of packing.

Remember when you're finished unpacking after your move that someone else would appreciate your free moving boxes. If you can't find someone who wants your free moving boxes then recycle them at your nearest recycling center.

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    Women moving box around in her new home
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    Craigslist is an excellent resource for finding free moving boxes.

    Use the Free section of Craigslist to see if anyone is giving away free moving boxes. You'll have better luck finding free moving boxes on Craigslist near the end of the weekend or the beginning of the week since that's when most people take the time to unpack or clean out old boxes.

    We also suggest using the Wanted section to post that you're looking for free moving boxes. Many people who are giving away their moving boxes will look here before posting in another section.

    You can also use the Craigslist search box to search for free moving boxes. Even if someone is wanting money for their moving boxes you may be able to negotiate with them so you can swap something you already have and no longer want for the free moving boxes.

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    Broken Down Cardboard Boxes
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    After Craigslist, we suggest checking Freecycle to see if there are any free moving boxes available in your area.

    You'll need to join your local online Freecycle group and then post that you want some free moving boxes and see if you get any responses. You never know what might just be laying around someone's garage.

    Keep in mind that some local Freecycle groups have rules that you have to give away an item before you can claim a free item. 

  • 03 of 13

    U-Haul Customer Connect

    Boxes on ground near moving van
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    U-Haul Customer Connect is a new service set up by U-Haul that lets you search for free moving boxes near you, from people who have just got done unpacking and need to get rid of their boxes.

    Enter your zip code or city into the search box and you'll find free moving boxes that are just waiting for a new home.

  • 04 of 13

    Facebook Community Groups

    A man moving house working on phone and laptop
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    There are Facebook groups for just about everything these days, and this includes your local community. 

    Do a quick search on Facebook for local groups near you that deal with free stuff, swaps, or just community groups where people post often and seem friendly.

    The great thing about these Facebook groups is that you don't need to wait until someone posts an offer of free moving boxes, just post that you're looking for some and you'll be amazed at how many people have some or know some neighbors that will have some available soon.

    You can also visit Facebook Marketplace to look for moving boxes. Use the Only Show Free Listings option to see if there are any free boxes near you.

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  • 05 of 13

    Free Moving Boxes From Retailers

    Fashion stylists with digital tablet unpacking clothing
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    Your local stores are great resources for finding free moving boxes.

    Just ask retailers in your area if they have some boxes you can take off their hands. Many will be very glad to get rid of the boxes they have before they go to the trouble of tearing them up. After all, the worst thing they can say is no.

    You can also drive down the alleyways of stores and look for their cardboard recycling bins where they put boxes they no longer need. Out of common courtesy, we suggest checking with the store before you take any of these boxes.

    Stores that have especially good free moving boxes include computer and office supply stores, book stores, shoe stores, liquor stores, pharmacies, home improvement stores, warehouse clubs, fast food restaurants, coffee shops, pet stores, department stores, dollar stores, and grocery stores. These are the places where you'll find the strongest and cleanest moving boxes.

  • 06 of 13

    Office Buildings

    Cardboard box on office floor with businesswoman in background
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    Office buildings get tons of packages every day and after they've unpacked those boxes they just don't need them anymore.

    Go in and chat with the person working at the front desk and they'll be able to point you in the right direction on where you can go to see about getting some free moving boxes.

  • 07 of 13

    Find Someone Who Just Moved

    Moving Boxes
    patrickheagney / Getty Images

    People move all the time and they need a ton of moving boxes to move their stuff. After they've moved they can't wait to get rid of all the empty boxes taking up space in their new home.

    Check around your neighborhood and keep your eyes and ears open to see who's just moved in. They probably have a garage packed with free moving boxes that are yours for the taking.

  • 08 of 13

    Apartment Complexes

    Modern Apartments
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    Apartment complexes are a great place to look for free moving boxes because people are constantly moving in and out of apartments.

    Go into the apartment complex office and speak to the manager to see if there are any free moving boxes available. A friendly manager will be able to tell you who to get them from or where you need to go to fetch them.

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  • 09 of 13

    College Dorms

    Three young women unpacking cardboard boxes in a room
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    Every new school year, colleges and universities have Move-In Day where students move into the dorm or on-campus housing for the school year.

    There are a lot of boxes heading into the dorms on this day but you never really see them leaving. Most of these boxes are thrown out, and the students would be more than happy to see them find a new home instead.

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    Recycling Centers

    View Of Cardboard Recycling Bin
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    Where do people take their unwanted cardboard boxes? Usually to a recycling center.

    Stop by your local recycling center and speak to the attendant if there is one, or take a peek into the cardboard box bin and see what's available. 

    Most of the boxes will be broken down, but a little packing tape will fix these right up.​​

  • 11 of 13

    Local Schools

    Students in busy hallway

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    When schools order supplies, they often come in very sturdy cardboard boxes. While the schools often reuse as many of the boxes as they can, they still have boxes that they simply don't need.

    Stop by your local elementary, middle, and high schools and see if they have any boxes they'd like to get rid of. Don't forget those community colleges and university offices either.

  • 12 of 13

    Empty Boxes at Yard Sales

    Mother and daughter organizing bedroom closet, donating clothes
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    If you drive by a yard sale, be sure to stop by. Not only may you find some new treasures, but you might also find some free moving boxes that the owner is wanting to get rid of.

    Save some time by using one of these free garage sale apps to find sales near you.

    Tip: Stop by yard sales near the end of the day when most of the stuff has been sold, you'll much more likely to find empty boxes then.

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  • 13 of 13


    Young woman moving into new flat
    Tetra Images / Getty Images

    Letgo or a similar selling app has free listings in addition to the regular buy and sell listings. 

    Search for "boxes" on the app and you'll get results for your local area. Look for the word "Free" across the listing so you can pick up all the free boxes that you can get.

  • What do you use to secure a cardboard box for moving?

    Once the box is packed, you should use packing tape to close it tightly, then write on the top of the box what is in it, thus making it easier to locate items after you move.

  • Can cardboard moving boxes be reused multiple times?

    Cardboard boxes can be reused numerous times if they're in good shape and have not gotten wet. Before packing and reusing, carefully examine them to ensure that the boxes are in good condition with no rips or soft spots.

  • What can you use if run out of moving boxes?

    If you have used up all your moving boxes, there are a number of items you already have on hand that can be used to pack your belongings in. Clothes hampers, laundry baskets, suitcases, and garbage bags all work well to pack stuff in when moving.