The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Hunt For Boxes Edition

As we grow closer to the move, we’re continually hunting for boxes in which to pack our belongings. One interesting side effect of the packing, though, is that it forces us to consider every item we own – and it’s convinced us to get rid of a few.

Motivation For Frugality – It’s Not Always About The Money For me, it was about the money at first, but eventually it became kind of an art form – it’s something I’ve attempted to explain in a post several times, but it never comes out in a way that sounds rational. (@ money, matter, and more musings)

Do You Know If Your Credit Card Uses The Dual-Cycle Or Average Daily Balance Calculation? This little question can make a huge difference in your credit card bills, especially over time. Jeremy lays it all out here. (@ generation x finance)

True Cost of a New Car: It Ain’t Pretty The depreciation on a brand new car is stunning. (@ it’s your money)

The Simple Dollar Retro: What’s Keeping You Financially From Living Your Dream? This was an excellent little thought exercise for getting your ducks all in a row. Give it a shot.

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  1. Kathryn says:

    Check out this site for boxes:
    Of course I wouldn’t pay for boxes… I usually put the word out to friendsm, co-workers and also to my offices front desk and they will save stuff.

  2. neal says:

    Barnes and Noble has always been VERY generous with their boxes (at least with us) and the boxes are sturdy and a very good size for moving!

    Good luck!

  3. If you have a Kinkos or a CopyMax (or any other print shop) near you, go and ask them if you can have some empty paper boxes. My mother works at one, and the boxes for our move entirely consist of paper boxes! They’re sturdy, because they’re meant to hold several reams of paper. They won’t hold bigger stuff, but they work great for books, CDs/movies… everything small, basically!

  4. David says:

    One thing to watch out for when getting any boxes…especially cardboard….is that they can come pre-infested with roaches and other critters that you might not want in your new home. I’ve seen that happen.

  5. guinness416 says:

    Trent, are you doing a possession inventory for your home insurance records as you pack, or when you move in? I’m struggling with mine right now (a year after moving!) and am finding conflicting info on how much documentation is required … would be interested in seeing a post on this if/when you do the inventory.

  6. Grayson De Ritis says:

    WalMart near midnight, there are tons of boxes everywhere while they re-stock :-) It’s okay too, it’s less for them to throw away when you help by taking some.

  7. Amanda says:

    Try liquor boxes for books. Books account for approximately 50% of the items my husband and I own, and after one (young, ill-fated) attempt at moving large boxes of books, we adopted the liquor box strategy. They are also good for glasses and other breakable items because of the inserts they come with, and liquor stores where I live will usually just give them away. Have fun!

  8. hickepedia says:

    Liquor stores usually have a goodly supply of boxes, often with spiffy internal dividers that originally separated bottles in shipment, but are just dandy for packing kitchen stuff, small breakables, and other smaller items.
    The key is to figure out when the store gets its shipments, and work with their schedule. As always, a smile and a polite request always get much better results than a sullen demand.

    Going back to other sources of boxes, IT departments usually have a certain number of high-quality boxes left over from new computer desktops, laptops, monitors, and servers. As always, ask first, as nothing will raise the ire of an IT guy faster than having his stash of RMA shipment boxes swiped by someone who couldn’t be bothered to ask if they were free for the taking or not. One thing to watch out for: some of these computer boxes are large enough that it’s easy to overfill them when you’re packing, so you have to be careful. It’s easy to lose track of the cumulative weight of a box when each individual item in it can be picked up with one hand.

  9. Josh says:

    fast food restaurants have great boxes for moving also. the boxes used to ship french fries are especially durable. get there early in the morning or in mid afternoon, after the lunch rush and just ask, most places i know are more than willing to not have to take them out to the dumpster.

  10. Motivation for frugality – if you can reduce your spending and consumption habits you avoid a double whammy because when you spend money on something, you have to pay taxes on the money before you spend it.

    I have become obsessed with trying to maximize my pre-tax investment options in order to avoid the double whammy of having my money taxed and spent instead of having it being invested for the goal of future financial independence.

  11. Samir says:

    ‘Cheap chic’, ‘frugality porn’… call it what you like, but this stuff does not make any sense to me at all.

  12. Ted Valentine says:

    I’ve always been fortunate to have been given boxes by people that just moved. I’m talking the nice ones that the professional movers use, like wardrobes and preslotted dish packs with all the paper wrapping. Ask around and keep your eyes open.

  13. Shayla says: is another excellent source for obtaining moving boxes. It’s also a great source for getting rid of boxes (and decluttered items) once you’ve moved!

  14. jane says:

    i also found walmart to be an excellent place to get boxes, i just called and found the best time to go by and pick them up. we got some boxes that eggs came in that were the perfect size and sturdiness for books (and they had handles). liquor stores have very solid boxes for breakables, too.

    one good thing that came from moving and collecting boxes – we started recycling cardboard, which turned into a habit we’ve continued.

  15. kateherself says:

    I got all of my boxes for my upcoming move for free on Craig’s list.

    It’s a great resource!

  16. Vicky says:

    According to an acquaintence who works for a moving company, moving companies that offer unpacking services are left with huge numbers of boxes, which they normally bale and recycle or give out for free to those who inquire.

  17. !wanda says:

    Craigslist is perfect for getting free stuff and for selling stuff, but my impression is that only a few cities have really active ones. I doubt that it’s the case in Iowa.

    When I was in college, I would pack my suitcases with books and my clothes, etc. in boxes, because my books were my heaviest objects and suitcases have wheels and handles!

  18. Stef says:

    A great tip a friend of mine gave us when we moved was to “dumpster dive” the cardboard recycling bins at apartment complexes. We got some great boxes from there. Best wishes in your new home!

  19. Amber Yount says:

    Put an ad in the paper asking for free boxes…most of the time they let you do that for free…also try craigslist, thats how we got all ours

  20. Lorrie says:

    My husband and I moved cross country on a budget and relied solely on Tomato boxes that we obtained from local sandwich shops (like subway) and grocery stores to pack our belongings in. Here’s why:

    1. They are super sturdy – with the reinforced edges and strong cardboard, we had zero box blowouts. The boxes are built to protect delecate tomatoes in shipment, they’re great for transporting just about anything.

    2. They are human size, so they are easier to cary and it’s difficult to overpack them to be too heavy (unless you pack them full of hardcover books… or rocks)

    3. They are made to stack – a great space saving feature. We managed to move all of our stuff cross country in a smartly packed 5X8 Uhaul trailer in one cross country trip because we were able to use every inch of space in the trailer with the stacking boxes.

    4. They have built in handles (makes caring the boxes in MUCH easier)

    5. They have lift off box tops, so no more messing with boxes that are taped shut, or that have that funny four way flap fold that you have to try to undo.

    WOW, that sounded salesy… but really, tomato boxes really made our move so much easier. My husband likes them so much, we decided to use the storage at our apartment to store our boxes for our future moves (so we’ll see if they stand up to the test of time as well.

    You can also dress the boxes up with paper as crafts, and use them for easy to move toy storage for kids. Because they’r strong, light, they stack, and they have a removeable lid, they can help manage clutter on the super cheap.

  21. Heather says:

    I’ve moved a number of times over the last few years and more moves are in my future (the next one is now just two months away!). I did the cardboard box thing the first time or two, but knew there had to be something better.
    Tupperware tubs.
    They’re not exactly cheap, and you won’t get them for free, but they’re great for multi-moves. They are very sturdy, stack atop one another, have handles, can easily be labeled, are water-proof, and when you’re unpacked they fit inside one another and can be stored in the back of a closet/wherever. I’ve amassed 20 or so as years have gone by, never paying more than $10 for a bigger one and usually paying $5-7 for the average size. I am single, but have lived alone so I do have a kitchen’s worth of things, as well as “stuff.” Also, each time I pack between moves I feel forced to get rid of “things” I’ve accumulated rather than purchase new tubs. They keep me in check and they’re there when I need them.

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