Moving is expensive so if you're planning a move, saving money on things like packing supplies is a must since there are certain features of a move that will require money and things that you can't necessary cutback. So, from the many moves I've made over the years, I've come up with quite a few cost-saving tips on how to save money on all the stuff you need to pack up your home.
The first place to start is to create a packing supply list so you know approximately how many boxes, rolls of tape, etc... you'll need. You might need to add to it later, but having a reference list will help keep your moving budget under control.
Buy Plastic Containers
I'm a big fan of plastic containers, especially for moving. The great thing is, you'll always have them for the next move. They're also so much easier to pack and move. But buying containers can be expensive, so I usually ask friends and family for any extra storage containers they might have on hand. It's amazing how many people have a few containers that they'd be happy to lend you. I once moved a one-bedroom apartment using containers borrowed from friends. Adding a quick label with masking tape ensures the containers make it back to their owner.
If you're thinking at all about buying moving boxes, then instead invest in some containers. Again, they can always be used for storage at your new home and don't take up that much room if you simply want to store them until your next move. For storage, remove the lids and stack them inside one another. Very easy.
Rent Plastic Containers
If you don't want to purchase plastic containers, there are lots of companies who'll rent them to you for a fee. If you live in the Los Angeles area, one such company is Rent a Green Box. Another company, one that I highly recommend that provides service across the US and Canada is Frog Box. Check out their user-friendly website and information on how to move using their container service.
My husband is a big fan of using wine and liquor boxes for a move, particularly to pack books. Most wine or liquor stores will give them to you if you ask. Since they're just the perfect size for packing smaller items and heavier things, like books, you'll find that the boxes can never be over-packed so they're always easy to manage. Just make sure the boxes are clean and strong, with no soft sides.
If you're not sure if used boxes will work for your move, you can always check out online listings for free boxes. CraigsList is a good resource. Some people give away their old moving boxes just so they don't have to recycle them.
For more information on whether used boxes are good for your move, check out our opinion with tips on how to make sure boxes are strong enough to carry your stuff to your next home.
While I'm not a fan of using garbage bags, simply because they tend to rip easily, they do work well for moving clothing and bedding. And if you purchase the clear garbage bags, you can actually see what's packed inside. This can make it a lot easier to sort which room the bags belong in.
Clothing and Linens and Plastic Bags
Another thing I'm not a fan of is packing peanuts and bubble wrap since neither are recyclable and both seem like a waste of money to purchase. Instead, I use pillows, linens, towels, clothing and grocery bags to wrap fragile items, especially if we have a short move and can be assured that the boxes will be handled carefully. If you use this method, I recommend marking the boxes well so that the movers know what's inside or if you're moving yourself, keep the fragile boxes in your car so that you can keep an eye on them.
I've also used newspaper to keep fragile items safe and a few months before we start packing, I make sure to keep all those annoying flyers that, despite my notice on my mailbox stating I don't want them, show up at my door.
Another trick, and one that kept our fragile china from breaking during our last move, was to use shredded paper that we'd collected when clearing out our files.
Other Packing Supplies
If you have to purchase packing supplies, check out some of the cheaper options like dollar stores or discount chains. You can usually find packing tape, markers and sometimes even new boxes.
If you have friends or family who've moved recently, ask them for any leftover supplies. I usually have supplies left over and once the last box is unpacked, I usually never want to see another role of packing tape or cardboard box again - at least not for a while anyway.