An organized move: Finding free moving boxes

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This article is reprinted from Wine Country Real Estate, a special advertising section of The Press Democrat.

What is the one thing everyone needs when they move? You guessed it – boxes! As if moving isn’t an expensive enough proposition with all of the things you already have to pay for, such as the overlap of rent and utilities, the deposit, cost of renting a truck, possibly hiring movers and all of the other little things; the last thing you want to do is buy boxes as well!

Luckily, you don’t have to if you are willing to put in a little bit of effort. There happens to be quite a few places that you can find quality, used boxes that are absolutely free!

Great places to find free boxes

Craigslist – Craigslist is a great resource for a lot of things, including free boxes! There are a few ways to go about it. You can start in the “Free” section first to see if anyone is simply giving them away. The best times to look for freebies are near the end of the weekend or the beginning of the week. You can also post an ad to the Wanted section requesting boxes as many people who have boxes will check there. If that fails, you can try a general search for free boxes.

Freecycle – Freecycle is a grassroots organization built on the idea of people in an area giving away stuff for free that they don’t need. The network has gotten extremely large and can be a great place to find stuff, including boxes for moving. You need to sign up first and then post what you are looking for.

Office Buildings – Office buildings get lots of deliveries typically and those boxes are often just discarded. Check in with the front desk, or at the largest tenant about what they do with their unwanted boxes and when the best time to collect is.

Facebook – Post a message to your friends asking for someone who has just moved. More than likely someone knows someone who just moved that has extra boxes lying around. If you are willing to pick them up, typically they will be happy to get rid of them.

Apartment Complexes – People are regularly moving in and out of apartment complexes, especially those near college campuses like Sonoma State or junior college in Santa Rosa. Speak with the manager about if there are any free boxes to be had.

Retail Stores – Office supply stores, pharmacy styled stores like Walgreens and liquor stores are all great spots to find free boxes. They all have regular deliveries of items packaged in similar sized boxes. Liquor store boxes often even have lids. Smaller retail hardware outlets can also be a good place to check.

Bars or Restaurants – Much like retail stores, bars and restaurants have regular deliveries of food and alcohol along with other items, all of which come in boxes. Many of these boxes are heavy duty and even have open tops which can be great for certain categories of items that need to be moved. An added bonus, many times the dishwasher or stocking person will be happy to help you with them because it saves them the work of breaking them down.

Grocery Stores – You can usually ask a manager about obtaining boxes for free from your favorite grocery store. Delivery schedules vary, but often if they know a customer needs boxes they are willing to hold boxes for a day or two.

Starbucks – As luck would have it, almost everyone lives near a Starbucks these days and they happen to be a great source for boxes! Most stores get one to two shipments per week with a range of box sizes from those that hold cups and lids to those for coffee grounds.

U-Haul Box Exchange – In an effort to reduce waste, U-Haul has created a box exchange section on their website with a goal of connecting customers to other customers that are looking to sell, give away or find boxes. You can find out more by visiting and searching for Customer Connect.

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