Find Cheap Moving Supplies

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Moving to a new apartment can be expensive. After paying for your first month’s rent up front, a security deposit, movers’ fees and any items you need for your new apartment, the total bill may be daunting. The last thing you need is to spend even more money on moving supplies. Fortunately, this is one expense that you can cut down on significantly, by thinking ahead and employing some creativity. You’ll need certain basics no matter what you own or how far you have to travel. These include packing boxes, packing tape and cushioning material to prevent breakage.

Finding Cheap Boxes

If you’ve never packed an entire apartment before, you may be thinking, “How expensive can a few cardboard boxes be?” Expensive enough, especially if you wait until the last minute. You never really know how much stuff you have until you have to pack it. Before you know it, “a few” boxes have turned into dozens, in all shapes and sizes. You can run out to a store like Staples to buy as many boxes as you need, but the cost really adds up. Instead, start planning early. If you know that you’ll be moving, hang onto all the boxes you come across, whether they are from deliveries or purchases of large items. If you haven’t netted enough by the week of your move, ask friends and neighbors for extra boxes they may have in their own apartments. Some people have closets full of boxes left over from recent moves. They may be more than willing to unload some boxes in exchange for the extra space they’ll get.

Many businesses get regular deliveries and are left with a surplus of extra boxes. Most of these end up curbside for recycling pickup. Unfortunately, by this time, they are usually flattened and bound to other boxes. You can speak to store managers or the loading dock supervisor to see if they might be willing to let you take a few of their extra boxes home.

Cushioning your breakables

Unless you own extremely fragile items, you can pack almost all of your things using everyday materials to insulate and protect them. Old newspaper is one of the best materials to use with dishes and glassware. Old newspapers are easy to come by, especially if you or your neighbors subscribe to a daily paper. Ask around your apartment building for used papers, gather stacks from the curb on recycling day or use free papers distributed in local businesses or on street corners.

For more delicate items, you may want to use Styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap or the more environmentally friendly air-filled pockets. Again, planning early is key. Save packing materials from deliveries you have received, or ask neighbors who have recently received large packages. You can also use soft shirts and sheets to wrap valuables. Harsher packing tape can damage delicate clothes, so use a gentler tape like masking tape to secure old shirts.

Snagging other free items

In need of packing tape, a moving cart, labeling markers or other free stuff? You can find almost anything on the internet. Check out and post a list of the items you need, or see what other people are giving away. There is also a “free” section on Craigslist, where people give out all manner of things. If you know that a neighbor has recently moved to the building, he or she may be willing to give you the items you don’t have.

Getting your moving supplies for free is definitely an achievable goal. It just takes a little bit of effort, advance planning and willingness to ask small favors of friends and strangers alike. The extra cash in your pocket will reward your effort.

5 Responses to “Find Cheap Moving Supplies”

  1. March 25, 2007 at 5:59 pm, Guest said:

    If you have lots of heavy books, I found that the standard “office boxes” with their side hand openings were much easier to handle and stack. Also, standard size boxes facillitated compact arrangement in the truck. Label boxes. Definitely use dollys and carts to move boxes (don’t carry them!). Be aware that packing takes much longer than expected. Moving time provides a good opportunity to donate your extra stuff (pickup times may take weeks). Last minute yard sales usually require too much valuable time and effort for their small profit. Consider moving earlier than necessary so weather and all the unexpected stuff doesn’t make moving day even more difficult.


  2. April 09, 2007 at 7:03 pm, Guest said:

    I’d definitely recommend donating to the Salvation Army. They pick up within 1 week and it’s great, you give to charity and make your move simpler!


  3. April 18, 2007 at 2:29 pm, Guest said:

    Cheap Moving Boxes I found after search the web for a few hours comparing prices and with the lowest prices. I used some boxes which I picked up from the liquer store and when I unpacked i found a few unwanted bugs lurking around! I will buy new from now on, the newspaper worked good except I had a dirty face afterwords as the ink came off on my hands and got my white linens dirty. I used a place I found here, and had great sucess with the prices and the delivery was free. I have ordered from onother reputable box company but the shipping charges ate up my pocketbook. I used ryder for the local move as I was ablt to negosiate the milage rate with them, it pays to be friendly to the representatives there. I used plasti bags for stuffing and had blankets I kept out for padding between the furniture. Hope this helps…


  4. April 23, 2007 at 1:44 pm, Guest said:

    well.. I’m about to be moving for the fourth time in two years because I am in college… and the most convenient thing for me was that my stepdad had bought some heavy-duty plastic boxes, easy to stack with attached lids from the flea market for dirt cheap that he used when he moved his stuff a couple years ago. so now I use them, and I don’t have to worry about getting cardboard boxes (which obviously I use some, but not a whole lot.) The plastic ones work really well for heavy items such as books, and things that you might be afraid will break if they are stored in a carboard box, due to squishing and whatnot. I will use them again the 5th..6th..7th time..and so on that I move! So moral of that is to decide which is better for your needs based on if you are going to need to move a lot, and to check the flea markets!


  5. December 11, 2007 at 3:20 am, Guest said:

    I also think that in the end, the best way to move is by making sure the boxes you use are clean and free of unwanted bugs or mold from prior perishables use. I prefer that if you collect boxes for moving, you’d be better off using an abundance of smaller boxes rather than the large ones with the exception of furniture. I like how every perpetual “hole” was covered because an untapped resource for receiving packing tape is definitely on your local craiglist. People are dying to get rid of unwanted supplies for little or no cost. It’s worth it. If you value your stuff more, then and only then would you go out of your way to purchase heavy duty boxes, but only if it’s for fragile items you want to preserve like media (DVDs, Records, CDS, etc.) or irreplaceable items (photos, sentimental items, etc.)


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