Where to get moving boxes for free

Tips for finding free moving boxes

Hire a mover

Published on

Are you getting ready to move but unsure where to find secure cardboard boxes to keep your belongings organized? You might be surprised that there are plenty of places to get free cardboard boxes for moving. While locating them requires time and effort, the cost savings can be well worth it.

Here are 13 places where you can find free cardboard boxes for your move:

1. Grocery stores

Don’t know where to get moving boxes for free? Why not check your local grocery store first? Retailers often receive packages in bulk, resulting in an abundance of big cardboard boxes. Some boxes you could score at your grocery store include tall, dish, and even egg boxes for moving. Make sure to call them first to receive them on your pick-up day.

man holding a box of vegetables

2. Pharmacies

Sometimes, the places you often pass by happen to have the largest number of moving boxes you can get for free. Just like grocery stores, it’s best to call your local pharmacy in advance to check if boxes are available for pick-up. Doing so also comes in handy in case it runs on a reservation basis. As long as you give your pharmacy early notice, you should leave with many boxes that can last you the whole move.

small medicine boxes

3. Office buildings

You’ll be surprised by the number of packages a typical office building receives daily. The good thing is, once they’ve unpacked those boxes, they will no longer need them. This is the perfect time to chat with the front desk person and ask if they have cardboard boxes for free. After all, putting them to good use is much better than having those boxes thrown away.

many boxes in an office

4. College dorms

College dorms are some of the best places to find free boxes for moving. Thanks to this thing called “Move-In Day,” almost every college and university dorm receives an armful of boxes from students who move in on campus every year. Most of these boxes are thrown out anyway, so it’s best to ask the students if you can have them instead. Not only does this help you save money, but it also benefits the environment by having less trash and waste.

a girl putting her books inside a box

5. Schools

If there aren’t any universities or colleges near you, visit your local elementary or high schools. Schools generally receive many deliveries, including food, books, furniture, and other supplies. Ask the cleaning personnel if you can take home some empty boxes just sitting in the school’s basement. Chances are, they’ll be more than happy to give them to you for free, as they won’t have to disassemble them for recycling.

a woman examining a box

6. Local bookstores

Another great place to find moving boxes for free is your local bookstore. You can be sure that the boxes here are of quality, as they are usually meant to hold large quantities of books. Before you visit, call your local bookstore to “reserve your slot.”

a boy surrounded by boxes full of books

7. Craigslist

You’ve read that right. Craigslist is one of the best sources to find moving boxes for free. If you haven’t heard of this, you may check Craigslist’s Free section to see if anyone offers free moving boxes. You might have more luck during weekends when most people unpack or clean up old boxes. If no free boxes are available on Craiglist’s Free section, access the search bar and type “boxes for free.” Alternatively, use the Wanted section to post whatever you’re looking for.

8. Facebook groups

Like Gumtree, Facebook can be a great avenue for free moving boxes. Look for groups within your area offering free goods, such as empty moving boxes. As most of the members of these groups live nearby, you won’t have to drive outside your city to pick up the boxes.

9. Recycling centers

This may sound like a no-brainer, but some people often neglect recycling centers when searching for free moving boxes. Give your local recycling center an early call to ensure you can pick up some on the day of your visit. You could trade other recyclable materials in your home, such as glass, plastic, and paper products, for a better chance of getting free cartons.

a family holding boxes

10. Yard sales

The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has never been more true when looking for free boxes at yard sales. Sometimes, you won’t even have to beg to take home these boxes for free---some owners would be glad to hand them over to you and find them a new home.

crates in a yard sale

11. Apartments

Due to the sheer amount of people who move in and out of apartments, you might find a reasonable amount of free moving boxes at your nearby apartment complex. Just ask the manager or landlord of the apartment if they can spare you some free moving boxes.

12. Liquor stores

Your local booze store also has hundreds of boxes that can be given for free. These compact and sturdy boxes are ideal for holding books, picture frames, and other delicate or fragile items. Make sure to ask for boxes with lids. Otherwise, your things might fall inside the moving truck.

13. Newly occupied residences

Sometimes, those who just moved in are the best people to turn into for free boxes. Check your area and look for people who have just settled into their new place. After unpacking and organizing all their stuff, they’ll happily give away their empty boxes to free up space in their new home.

Move stress-free with Airtasker

Now that you know how to find free moving boxes, it’s time to plan your big move! Obtaining free boxes seems effortless, but hiring a professional mover saves you more time. By engaging the services of local packers and movers, you can manage all aspects of the relocation in one go. 

Whether you’re relocating to a new home or moving your office, Taskers can help you achieve a smooth relocation. All you need to do is post a task and enjoy a hassle-free experience.

Find packers and movers, fast

Find a packer and mover


There’s a great chance you can get free moving boxes from Walmart. If you’re in luck, you could even score free mattress boxes, which typically come with a hefty price tag. The best time to catch these free boxes is around 10 pm. Walmart unloads fresh shipments at night, leaving empty boxes up for grabs for those who need them for moving. 

Generally, it is recommended to have 20-30 boxes for a standard one or two-bedroom apartment, approximately 30-40 boxes for a three-bedroom house, and up to 50 or more boxes for a larger home. However, this is a rough estimate, and the number depends on your circumstances.

Related articles

Related price guides

Let's do this!

It's free and takes only a minute.