How to Get Free Moving Boxes

by Bob Hummer 10/12/2021

Cardboard moving boxes are everywhere. However, when you’re moving, you may feel you never have enough. While major retailers sell moving boxes, the price can add up quickly. If you’re moving a sizable amount of items or just want to recycle a few unused boxes, free moving boxes are the way to go. Luckily, there are many ways to get them. Here are some suggestions of places to look for free moving boxes:

Recycling Centers

Used cardboard boxes often end up at recycling centers. While they’re likely to be broken down, it’s common to find discarded boxes in great shape. You can use packing tape to rebuild them and repurpose them for your own move. Speak to an attendant or employee before grabbing anything, though.

Dorms & Apartment Complexes

If you live near college dorms or student apartments, you may be sitting on a cardboard box goldmine. Since these communities use large communal recycling containers, you can often find a ton of discarded cardboard boxes from students moving in or out. Try visiting during the beginning or end of the school year and speak to a property manager or student housing representative before helping yourself.


Local stores go through a lot of cardboard boxes. It’s worth asking if retailers have any extra boxes they don’t need. Some of the best sources of moving boxes are electronic and office supply stores, home improvement stores, bookstores and liquor stores. The worst that can happen is they say no. Otherwise, you can help a local business with their recycling and get the boxes you need.

Local Social Media Groups

Finally, look at various social media platforms for your area to see if anybody is giving away moving boxes. It’s very common for people who have just finished moving to offer their used boxes to the community. You can typically find these opportunities under the “free” section of your favorite marketplace website. Act quickly, though—these types of offerings are first-come-first-served and in high demand.

There are a lot of sources of free moving boxes as long as you know where to search and who to ask. However, always check with whomever is in charge of the area before taking boxes. Even though they’re just boxes, taking without permission could still be considered theft. Plus, a bit of courtesy can have enormous benefits.

About the Author

Bob Hummer

Bob Hummer brings a wealth of experience with him; a practitioner in real estate in Northern Virginia since 1978, a Life Member of both the Million Dollar Sales Club and the Top Producers Club with over 1,500 Satisfied Families and President, Prince William Association of REALTORS in 1991. His experiences range from helping buyers and sellers attain their goals; to renovating historic homes on Capitol Hill; to counseling and assisting homeowners facing the loss of their home due to foreclosure. Since 1996, he has presented his free monthly Home Buyer and Home Seller seminars at the Woodbridge campus of Strayer University. A former "Military Brat" and a retired Air Force Hospital Administrator; Bob has made more than 25 moves during his life and is extremely familiar with all aspects of a family relocating - whether it is across the street or across the nation.