Tips on getting free boxes

A forum for questions and information about packing, loading and other helpful tips (not related to researching or selecting moving companies).
PMueller
Posts: 860
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 8:50 am
Location: Florida (Tampa Bay area)

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby PMueller » Tue May 25, 2010 8:05 pm

BigLeeCalif wrote:We normally give away a starter kit to those people who do book their job, not everyone who just gets an estimate. Even though we get the cartons at wholesale, it doesn't mean that a company can afford to give them away to everyone requesting an esitmate.


Out of curiosity - What does your starter kit consist of? I'm working on providing a starter kit to a local real estate office for each of the homeowners they refer directly to me.


For others out there looking for used boxes - ask the company you decide to move with if they offer used cartons for customers to use. I know our office and many others here in our area will provide used cartons to customers that are using their services on a first come first serve basis once your order for service is signed.
"Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."

enigmaucb
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:21 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby enigmaucb » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:39 pm

Here are some more tips on getting free boxes

1. Your local liquor store and packaging stores - they tend not to be so big that they send all their boxes to recyclers. The boxes may not be gaylords (huge), but they can be big enough for things like kitchen dishes, bathroom supplies, personals, etc.

2. Local gas stations - Not the national chains like BP, Chevron, etc, but the locally owned ones. You can try the national chains, some of them do actually give away free boxes upon request, but a lot of them tend to be a little difficult. On the other hand, the locally owned gas stations tend to work out a lot more often.

3. Manufacturing companies and factories - Again, a large portion of them do crush and recycle, but there are some that will give you all the boxes you'll ever need. For example, in one town I lived in there was a manufacturer of automobile radiators, so they had huge boxes available for big items. They usually crushed their boxes, but they did make exceptions for people.

Hope these help. :)

chrisatlas
Posts: 334
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 4:27 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby chrisatlas » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:33 am

better and more effective solution
ask you mover if they will provide you with free used boxes and paper...
we do it for any client of ours thats moving with us

The Mister wrote:Good morning.

I have done a bit of research into obtaining free boxes, and thought I would share my findings here. Feel free to copy into the "Packing and Loading Tips" sticky if you'd like.

Some of my info is specific to my location (Richmond, VA); but hopefully a few tips will come in handy nationwide.

The following is a list of places where I at least inquired about getting boxes. Basically I called every big box store (other than grocery) in the area:
  • Craigslist: One thing that I have found is that the demand for free boxes is typically much greater than the supply. At least in my area, there are few ads for "free boxes", and plenty of ads for "boxes wanted". I posted one such wanted ad, and about 5 days later got my only offer of 25 boxes, which was later rescinded because it turned out a friend wanted them. I also got a response from someone at http://www.usedcardboardboxes.com, but I can get new boxes for less than they offer used ones ($39 for a stack of 20 mediums). "The cheapest"? Yeah, right. Edited to add: I'll probably use Craigslist to give away our boxes in the end, though.
  • Linens -n- Things: This place has been the most helpful of all. They told me to call between 6 and 7 am on W&F and ask for the manager on duty. (Turns out I can talk to whoever answers.) They have come through four times so far, and each time I have come home with a carful of boxes (around 30), many different sizes. On one occasion I asked for more medium-size boxes if they had them, and they came through. Each time, they typically have two canvas bins full of boxes, some of which are not the best dimensions, but most of which work just fine. Edited to add: I should note that the boxes are typically ready around mid-day. I usually pick them up on my way home from work.
  • Sears: The one near me says they can have boxes at around 6pm on Wednesdays and Fridays, when they get their regular shipments. I took them up on the offer once, and got maybe 10 boxes. *shrug*
  • Burlington: I have not yet taken them up on their offer, but the one near me says they have a constant supply of boxes, and wouldn't divulge when they actually got their shipments in. They say they have a large storage area, so they can keep lots of stock and unload bit by bit as they sell their goods. They said to call anytime and let them know what size boxes and when we'd like to pick them up. I did attempt to take them up on the offer earlier this week, but it turns out they had just done inventory so all available boxes had been opened and crushed. They said try again next week.
  • Michael's: Said call 11:30am any Wednesday (otherwise they crush the boxes). They have a small storage area, so I'm not sure if they have room to keep them back there.
  • Target: Said to call early in the morning (crushed otherwise). They were a bit more vague, and I think I could have benefitted from talking to someone further up.
  • Walmart #1: I gave up on them. First time I spoke to someone, she said to come by between 10-11am any day and they would bring up boxes. I did so and was told that I was misinformed. Instead I should call around 10pm and ask the night stockers to reserve a few back in the layaway area. I tried that and the next morning they had about 15 boxes that were waaaaay too large or of inappropriate dimensions, and only about 5 that I could actually use. :roll:
  • Walmart #2: I called the other Walmart near us (this one a 24-hr location) and both of the people that I spoke with suggested showing up at around midnight and scavenging as the stockers do their thing. Forget it.
  • Lowe's / Home Depot: Their boxes tend to be way too big to use for moving HHG.
  • Sam's: One of the people I spoke to at Lowe's mentioned that she had worked at Sam's. She suggested that I try going to the Sam's bakery area and asking them to save back some of their boxes. I have not tried this yet.
  • Dillard's: Reuses their boxes.
  • JCPenney: Reuses.
  • Macy's: Reuses.
  • Kohl's: Crushes theirs, no questions asked.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods: Reuses.
  • Toys 'R' Us: Reuses.
  • TJMaxx: Crushes theirs, no questions asked.
  • Barnes & Noble: Reuses/Recycles.
  • Bed Bath & Banana - I mean Beyond: Crushes theirs, no questions asked.
  • Circuit City: Tried to speak to someone with more than 5 brain cells, failed miserably, then got transferred - back to the main menu. :roll:
  • Best Buy: Didn't bother, figured my experience would be similar to CC.
Most other supplies I actually had to pay for, of course. (Around $400-500 on bubble wrap, when all is said and done, and another $60 on packing & masking tape.)

And of course most cities mid-size and up have a selection of free papers that can be used as packing material. I've never had a problem with newsprint staining anything, though YMMV.

Feel free to post your suggestions / experiences in this thread as well.

beemer889
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 10:49 am

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby beemer889 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:14 pm

One great resource I found when looking for moving boxes was my local freecycle listserve. There's usually one or several listserve(s) for each city where you can post stuff you need or want to get rid of for free. I asked for moving boxes and got loads of boxes in great condition. Plus, its a great resource for getting rid of stuff you don't need anymore when moving (and they come pick it up from you). Just wanted to add another option!

mike23
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:17 am

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby mike23 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:21 am

big liquor stores gladly give away good sized boxes for moving

PandorasBox
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:27 am

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby PandorasBox » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:51 pm

Always inquire at stores first.

Meijer (midwest states) - find out what time beer/wine is stocked. They can't hold boxes, but if you can be there when they are stocking...wine boxes are great for bottles, glasses....

WalMart, Florida....filled up my trunk today. Meat and water boxes tend to be morning.

I used to work at Kohl's....I wish they saved packing material. They had dish boxes, cushioning, bubble wrap....but it just gets sent down the trash disposal (unless you are employed in Early Morning Replenishment).

Another hint of mine: You want stuff to divide items...look around any store, find those half-split cases that are almost empty....they are very useful.

I also recommend newspapers or free paper publications, if you are not worried about the possibility of newsprint on certain items.

Aside from looking up the obvious U-Haul, etc...go to yellowpages.com and look up things like "packaging distributors", Wholesale boxes". I found boxes I want at 30 cents a piece less than UHaul. (Figure...major areas will have to have *someone* for warehouses to buy boxes, etc) from).

Also...stuff you have like towels and clothes can be good packing material, too.

If wrapping shotglasses, other small items....cheap paper towels, or newspapers. You can also wrap a shotglass in a sock.

chrisatlas
Posts: 334
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 4:27 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby chrisatlas » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:14 pm

Pandora
great ideas on the box- check with your mover to see if they offer free boxes as well. Keep in mind any newspaper print you use to wrap things has ink on it and it will rub off on dishes.
We offer free used boxes and paper...

PandorasBox wrote:Always inquire at stores first.

Meijer (midwest states) - find out what time beer/wine is stocked. They can't hold boxes, but if you can be there when they are stocking...wine boxes are great for bottles, glasses....

WalMart, Florida....filled up my trunk today. Meat and water boxes tend to be morning.

I used to work at Kohl's....I wish they saved packing material. They had dish boxes, cushioning, bubble wrap....but it just gets sent down the trash disposal (unless you are employed in Early Morning Replenishment).

Another hint of mine: You want stuff to divide items...look around any store, find those half-split cases that are almost empty....they are very useful.

I also recommend newspapers or free paper publications, if you are not worried about the possibility of newsprint on certain items.

Aside from looking up the obvious U-Haul, etc...go to yellowpages.com and look up things like "packaging distributors", Wholesale boxes". I found boxes I want at 30 cents a piece less than UHaul. (Figure...major areas will have to have *someone* for warehouses to buy boxes, etc) from).

Also...stuff you have like towels and clothes can be good packing material, too.

If wrapping shotglasses, other small items....cheap paper towels, or newspapers. You can also wrap a shotglass in a sock.

Noone
Posts: 1807
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:53 am

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby Noone » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:16 pm

Don't use wine or liquor boxes for an international move.

Likewise, don't use boxes that contained food of any sort.

PandorasBox
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:27 am

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby PandorasBox » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:28 pm

Wine/Liquor boxes are great if moving locally or between states. But I can where they would be an issue with an international move (laws on importing, and even though the contents would not be liquor, it could delay, cause a search, etc) .


Other tips for doing your own packing:

My system: Two index cards with numbers or letters. Each list the number, the contents. One is taped to the box (and all sides of box are labeled the number in sharpie); one is in a file. I also put mine in a computerized list. If you need something, you can easily locate which box it is in.

Another tip...clothing, blankets, towels - make excellent cushioning.

If it's fragile....write that word in large letters on all sizes of the box. Also use an arrow and "UP" to make sure a box that needs to face upwards does so.

psichick
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:44 pm

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby psichick » Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:31 pm

I know this is an old, but this is still good advice.

The first place I check for boxes? My workplace. I go to the copy room and ask them for all their paper boxes (either as they empty them or they ask me to empty them - a little hard labor for boxes, not bad). I go to the warehouse and ask for any boxes from them to. I also check our recycle bins.

If that is possible for you, go ask. Obviously, some companies may be too big to do that type of things. Or too small.

shawnlimws
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:59 am

Re: Tips on getting free boxes

Postby shawnlimws » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:16 am

I had some friends that got their boxes from retail stores. After they unpack their goods, the boxes will normally be kept at the store until the rubbish man comes to clear it away. You can go anyway between that time and they said that the retail stores are normally quite okay with giving their cardboard boxes away.


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