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Anyone who has ever moved as an adult knows how expensive it can be. Between hiring movers, renting transportation, replacing lost or broken items, the bill that comes along with settling into a new home can be pretty steep. If you’re looking to save money on your next move, know that the little things add up. To start with, an average moving box will run you anywhere from $1 to $3.75—and while that may seem like a small budget line item at first glance, it quickly adds up as you move from room to room. If you know where to look, though, there are free boxes to be had in quite a few places.

U-Haul Box Exchange. Take it from the moving kings themselves; in an effort to reduce waste, U-Haul actually created a platform for their users to give away boxes they no longer need after moving. The tool is simple to use—all you have to do is enter your zip code, and it will show you the listings of people in your area who have boxes they’re willing to give away for free. You don’t need a username or login to use this tool, and you can respond to any posts using a messaging form on the tool’s website. Yes, you’ll have to pick the boxes up yourself, but that’s a small inconvenience considering the money you’ll save.

Facebook Marketplace. Simply type in “free boxes” to the Marketplace search tab, and you’ll be able to see who in your area has some precious moving cargo they’re looking to have taken off of their hands. If you don’t have a Facebook account (and don’t want to make one solely for access to free boxes), you can effectively do the same thing by searching “free boxes” on Craigslist. 

Freecycle. Freecycle is a nonprofit organization made up of over 5,000 local town groups for people who are looking to give away (as well as to get) stuff for free in an effort to keep it out of landfills. To access posts, you’ll need to sign up for a free account on their website. Once you’re signed up, all you’ll need to do is search for the item you seek in their search tab—in this case “free boxes”—and you’ll get a list of everyone in your area looking to offload their cardboard. Once you find a match, simply reply to their posting to set up a time to collect the boxes, and you’ll be well on your way.

Nextdoor. Nextdoor is a global neighborhood network for people within communities to share information, as well as to give and get help. But for our purposes, it’s just another vessel for you getting some moving boxes without paying a cent. To use this service, you’ll need to download the Nextdoor app to your phone, as they do not operate on a browser-based website. Once you’ve downloaded the app and created an account, you’ll have access to listings in your area, some of which will inevitably be those trying to offload their moving boxes.

OfferUp. OfferUp is another app that allows users across the country to connect with people in their community to buy and sell used goods. All you have to do is make an account and you can connect with any of the people in your area who’ve posted listings looking to give away their moving boxes. OfferUp allows you to message the “seller” through the app to coordinate a time to pick up the goods. What’s also nice about this service is you can check out the user’s rating, to see if previous people have had positive or negative experiences coordinating with them in the past.

Your local liquor store. As a former liquor store employee, I can anecdotally confirm two things. First, we always had a ton of boxes. Second, we absolutely did not mind giving them away. The liquor store was constantly getting orders delivered to the premises, which left us with a endless stream of empty boxes. If you give your local liquor store a call and ask them if you could pick up some boxes (because you’re trying to save money on a move), the overwhelming likelihood is they’ll be happy to help. Just make sure you 1) arrive at the time you say you will, 2) be accommodating to their schedule, and 3) say “thank you.

Your workplace. Hey, you’re giving your workplace a large chunk of your life, the least they can do is give you some free boxes. If you speak with an office manager or custodial staff, there is a decent chance they’ll know of a reserve of empty supply boxes somewhere that are just gathering dust. But as the old saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Just make sure you go through all the correct channels before taking any boxes home.

   



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