Need Moving Boxes? Here Are 20+ Places to Get Them FREE

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Wondering,”Where do I get free moving boxes near me?”  Good news! We know how to score free boxes!

couple loading car with moving boxes

Using free moving boxes can save you a pretty penny. 💰

Let’s face it, moving is expensive! estimates the average move costs anywhere from $1,250 to almost $5,000. That amount is just moving costs and doesn’t factor in any expenses of actually purchasing or leasing a home. 😬

picking up moving boxes

It’s important to cut down on costs wherever possible, and one of the main ways to save is to stock up on free moving boxes. Paying for boxes can cost between $50 for a studio apartment and $400 or more for a large house. That means by not purchasing moving containers, you may save hundreds of dollars. 🤯

If you recently bought or signed a lease on a new home, you may be wondering where to get these no-cost moving supplies. To lend you a hand, we compiled a list of where to get boxes for free!

Hip Tip: Want to know exactly how much you’ll save by scoring free boxes for moving? Calculate your savings by using the Home Depot Moving Supplies Calculator or the U-Haul Moving Supplies Calculator.

How and where to get free moving boxes:

Facebook Marketplace showing ads for FREE moving boxes near me

1. Check Facebook Marketplace and Facebook groups for free boxes.

Many people have Facebook at their fingertips and it’s one of the easiest places to find free moving boxes!

When I’m in need of boxes I browse Facebook Marketplace for free boxes near me. There are usually TONS of ads to choose from. As you can vet a seller’s profile, Facebook tends to be pretty safe. However, I recommend bringing along a friend when picking up any goods.

In addition to Marketplace, there is also a specific Facebook group called “Free Moving Boxes” where those who have just moved can pass along their containers. The group has 7,700 members and counting!

Lastly, search the “no buy” groups and “garage sale” Facebook groups in your area. I was able to find several advertisements in these groups for free boxes.

2. Ask your neighbors for moving boxes on the NextDoor App.

When I’m looking for free moving boxes near me, I’ll download the NextDoor App and connect with neighbors. The app is free to use and it’s very easy to create a post asking others to save their moving boxes for you.

3. Search Craigslist for free boxes.

When I’m searching for moving boxes near me, I’ll sometimes scan Craigslist. There are usually a few people with boxes to spare. As Craigslist is less safe than Facebook Marketplace, I recommend always bringing a friend with you if you go this route.

Woman on computer searching The Freecycle Network for free moving boxes

4. Find free moving boxes on The Freecycle Network.

This grassroots and nonprofit movement was created to help mindful citizens reuse quality items instead of discarding them in a landfill. You can leave a “wanted” ad or an “offer” for others in your community. Browse the towns near you and you might just find some free moving boxes – I did!

5. OfferUp is another board that often has free moving supplies.

Similar to Facebook marketplace or Craigslist, OfferUp lets you search your local area for free or cheap moving boxes. I’m located near a large city and when I did a quick search of free boxes near me, it pulled up several free or cheap options. Like with Craigslist and Facebook marketplace, I recommend bringing a friend with you and exercising caution when meeting up with strangers.

uhaul moving boxes

6. Browse the U-Haul Customer Connect board for free moving boxes.

U-Haul created a section of their website where their customers can exchange moving boxes and other supplies after they are done using them. In addition to boxes, you can also find people who are willing to share rental trucks, rides, and storage rooms! If you’re a U-Haul customer, give these boards a look.

7. Ask your local liquor stores if they have boxes to spare.

Liquor stores and wine shops regularly get shipments of products. Once they unload the goods, they might throw the boxes in the trash. Give your local stores a call to see if they can set aside the used boxes for you.

Walmart Storefront

8. Word on the street is that many retailers can supply you with free moving boxes.

When researching where to get free moving boxes, I stumbled upon several news sites that mention Walmart as a top place to try. Rumor has it that if you show up around 10 p.m., there will be a plethora of free boxes for you to snag. I recommend giving your local Walmart a call to see if they have any available and when to pick them up.

Many other retailers – big and small – get regular shipments throughout the week or month. Reach out to the stores to find out when those shipments are and if they will hold boxes for you.

Other major retailers to call include:

9. Snag some sturdy boxes from your local bookstore, like Barnes & Noble.

These types of stores get regular shipments and the boxes need to be sturdy to support heavy books. That makes bookstores a fantastic place to scoop up some quality moving boxes for free. Call your local independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, or Half Price Books and see if they can set some aside for you.

10. See if your local library has boxes left over from any recent shipments.

Yes, libraries get in shipments too! It’s worth a shot to call your local library and see if they have any shipping boxes available.

McDonald's sign outside restaurant

11. Your local fast food restaurant should have free boxes to spare.

McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and your other favorite fast food restaurants might just be a goldmine! They regularly have food delivered to their store and they usually just toss the boxes in the dumpster. Call them or stop by very early in the morning and see if they can set the boxes aside for you to use instead!

12. Don’t overlook Starbucks and other coffee shops.

Contact your local coffee shop and find out when their shipments arrive. Many are willing to save a few boxes for you, if asked.

13. Grocery stores are a great place to score free moving boxes.

One of the main places to look for free boxes is at your local grocery stores. Some stores may unpack their inventory at night and others early in the morning. Call each store in advance to find out if they can save a few for you and when you should stop by.

One reason to try the grocery store is that the produce and beverage boxes tend to be very sturdy and stackable! Some boxes – like at Kroger – may even come with lids.

Grocery stores to call:

Amazon Prime Pantry boxes on counter

14. Save and reuse your Amazon packages.

If you regularly order clothing or household goods from Amazon, save the packaging! This is a quick and easy way to get moving boxes without paying extra.

15. The United States Postal Service mails out free shipping boxes.

If you intend to ship any of your items for free with Priority Mail and/or Priority Mail Express, did you know you can order free shipping supplies from the post office? They even deliver the boxes right to your door. Visit the USPS website to see the various sizes you can order.

outside of Best Buy store

16. Contact electronics and auto stores for larger boxes.

Electronics stores and auto parts stores tend to have larger merchandise, think refrigerators, ovens, and large car parts. If you’re in need of extra large boxes, there is a high probability that these stores might have those. Give your local shops a call and see if they can hold a few.

A rite-aid pharmacy storefront

17. Your local pharmacy can most likely help out with moving boxes.

Stores like Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens also receive regular shipments and usually just toss their boxes. Give them a call and see if you can arrange a time to come pick them up.

18. Contact your local recycling center.

If your local recycling center takes cardboard boxes, it doesn’t hurt to ask them if they can “recycle” them to you instead.

19. If you’re brave, try to dumpster dive.

If you’re really in a pinch, you can take a look at the dumpsters behind stores, apartment buildings, and even at college dorms around moving times. Hopefully, you’ll catch someone in the act of throwing theirs away and you won’t have to “dive” into that dumpster after all.

a ocllege building

20. See if your local schools or colleges have any free boxes.

If you catch them at the right time, your local schools or universities might have some boxes lying around. They occasionally get shipments of school supplies, sporting equipment, furniture, and electronics. If it’s near the start of a school year or semester, it’s worth a shot to ask!

21. Try nearby corporations and office buildings.

If a business employs a lot of people, chances are they regularly are restocking their supplies. Give them a call and see if they can accommodate your request for free moving boxes. You might even find boxes at your own workplace!

22. Scout for boxes at yard sales and garage sales.

When people host garage or yard sales they often place items for sale in boxes. Towards the end of the day, their boxes may be mostly empty. It doesn’t hurt to stop at one of these sales and see if the owner is willing to part ways with a few of them.

23. Ask your neighbors on trash day.

If you live in a neighborhood, chances are that many of your neighbors are recycling boxes come trash day. I’m willing to bet that some of your neighbors won’t mind giving you the boxes instead. Just ask!

money saving moving tips — flattened moving boxes you can get for free

Some helpful tips for obtaining moving supplies:

  • Call stores or institutions in advance to make the request and get permission.
  • Keep in mind that different locations have different shipment times and policies.
  • If meeting someone from a forum like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, always practice safety. Meet in a public area, if possible, and bring a friend or family member with you.
  • Try creating a “wanted” ad if you aren’t finding what you need.
  • Check to see if the free boxes are broken or dirty before taking them.
  • If you don’t find free cardboard boxes, consider renting plastic tubs from U-Haul or BungoBox.

See our 30 Packing Tips for Moving Like a Pro!

About the writer:

Kara is a writer and photographer from the Midwest. Her creative work has appeared in various publications over the past decade. With a background in finance, she loves to be money-savvy.

Join The Discussion

Comments 4

  1. Amy

    My sister-in-law worked at an auto parts store for years and those boxes were the best for moving. They’re so sturdy and a huge range of sizes. Some that carried bottles of oil, and other fluids have compartments. I’ve saved some for storage for over 10 years bc they’re so great! Worth giving a store a call. They just recycle them otherwise 😊

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      What a great suggestion! 🥰🙌 Thanks for sharing where you were able to score your boxes, Amy!

  2. Pat

    Please don’t suggest USPS boxes for moving, that is illegal. They are for mailing Priority packages only. If everyone orders these for other uses, soon they won’t be available at all for those of us that use them.

    • Bryn (Sister Sidekick)

      Hi Pat! Thanks for taking the time to voice your concerns. We did edit the post to mention that these USPS boxes are only to be used if you intend to ship any of your items for free with Priority Mail and/or Priority Mail Express.

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