There’s so much to consider and prepare for when you’re about to move or pack stuff up for storage. For example, you’ll need to figure out where to get your boxes and other packing supplies.
People have a lot of ideas about where to get these. Let’s go through the most common options, from worst to best.
There’s so much to think about when moving, and so much to pay for, that it’s understandable to want to look for ways to save money. One way to do this is to acquire free boxes. The problem is that when it comes to boxes, free usually means bad. This is especially true of free boxes from the grocery store.
There are several issues here. First, the boxes are likely to have been sliced open, leaving no tops and no way to seal them. Second, the sizes will vary greatly. When it comes to storage or moving, it’s a good idea to mostly stick to one box size so that they’ll stack well. Third, and worst of all, they’re likely to have food stains and particles inside. If you’re making a quick move, this may not seem like a big deal. However, if your belongings will be in the boxes for very long, and especially if you’re going to put those boxes in storage, that food can attract pests. It can also rot, grow mold or mildew, create a bad smell, and stain your belongings.
If someone offers you free boxes from the grocery store, they surely mean well but opt for something better.
Boxes from stores that don’t sell food will be slightly better because there won’t be food particles left in them. However, all the other issues still apply. You may get boxes with the tops sliced off, and you’ll certainly get boxes in a big variety of sizes.
It’s good to keep in mind that when it comes to moving boxes, the smaller they are, the sturdier. Many boxes at retail stores contained items like paper towels or clothing, and these tend to be larger and weaker. They won’t do for your heavier items.
Keep in mind as well that grocery stores and other retail stores likely won’t have the locks, bubble wrap, packing paper, and box tape that you’ll need, so you’ll have to look elsewhere, anyway.
Now we’re getting into boxes that may work pretty well. If you have friends who recently moved and have a bunch of unpacked boxes, there’s a decent chance those are of good quality, especially if they knew what they were doing when it came to their move.
Ask to see what they have. Ideally, you’ll want a lot of sturdy boxes mostly the same size. We frequently recommend document boxes. These may sound small, but they’re very sturdy and great for most items, especially heavier ones. With packing paper, they also work well for most kitchen items and even for clothing and sheets.Your friends might not have all the boxes you need, but if you have this as a resource, it’s a helpful place to start. They might even have extra packing supplies you can use.
Big hardware stores, like Lowes, Home Depot, and OSH, often sell a variety of boxes and can be a good place to get your boxes, tape, and other supplies. The thing is, they’ll have a ton of boxes for various uses. The best ones for moving can end up sold out, so you may go to one to get what you need and find a less than stellar choice. Still, if you know what you need, which should include those document boxes and perhaps boxes for specific things, like glasses or plates, it doesn’t hurt to check one of these stores.
These are certainly good for getting packing tape but may be lacking in box fillers.
Clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club can be a surprising, but great, place to get moving supplies. Often they sell sets of document boxes for affordable prices. Sometimes, they have moving kits, complete with small boxes for heavy items, larger boxes for clothing and bedding, tape, bubble wrap, and sharpies.
Both clubs can provide a good starting point for your moving supplies but you may end up with more of one or two types of boxes than you need.
You may be reading this and thinking, “Of course they’re going to put self storage facilities at number one!” Hear us out.
Obviously, storage facility operators are in the storage business, so it’s their job to know what boxes, tape, bubble wrap, packing paper, and locks work best for storage. Also, what works for storage works for moving.
If you’re getting moving supplies for storage, look for a facility with an on-site store. There, you’ll be able to sign up for your unit and get the supplies you need without having to shop elsewhere. They can also make recommendations. They’ll likely not only have a lot of sturdy storage boxes, but boxes for specific needs as well, plus strong tape, affordable packing materials, and so on. You may even be able to purchase a hand truck and straps.
Even if you’re in the process of moving, and not storing, an on-site self storage store is the best place to get your supplies, even locks. The locks used at self storage facilities are tough to break into and work well on the back of moving trucks, too.
Best of luck on your move or getting your stuff ready for storage. With the right supplies, though, we’re not sure you’ll need luck. You’ll be well-prepared.