Pack Smart: A Guide to Moving Boxes

A person buried under a pile of moving boxes

This comprehensive guide on the different types of moving boxes and how to get them is the perfect place to start planning. At College Muscle Movers, over 15 years of moving experience has taught us many helpful tips about the pros and cons of each box type. We’ll cover free boxes, specialty boxes, environmentally friendly boxes, and why you’ll probably want some of each. After reading this guide you’ll understand how to not only save money but also ensure that your belongings are securely packed for move day.

1.  Standard Cardboard Boxes

Typically found in small, medium, or large sizes, these are the most common types of moving boxes. They’re also the most likely to be gathered for free from family and friends. They get the job done for many small, non-fragile items, like linens, office supplies, and toiletries. Despite these advantages, standard cardboard boxes break down when holding heavy objects or in the rain. They’re also susceptible to being crushed or punctured due to shifting objects in the truck.

How to Get Them:

  • Don’t be shy about asking friends and family if they have spare boxes from recent moves or deliveries. Chances are, someone in your network has a stash of boxes just waiting to be reused.
  • Visiting local retailers still works in today’s world! Take a trip to your nearby grocery stores, liquor shops, or retail stores. Many businesses receive regular shipments and often have surplus boxes that they are willing to part with. Just drop by and ask if they have any boxes available for pickup. Avoid boxes without lids – the items inside may spill out during transit.
  • Explore online marketplaces such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or local community forums. Many people who have recently moved are eager to get rid of their used boxes. You might find free or low-cost boxes that are still in excellent condition.

2.  Specialty Cardboard Boxes

Most fragile items should be packed in specialty boxes to keep them safe from damage while moving. You can purchase specialty cardboard boxes for picture frames and artwork, TV screens and monitors, and dishes all have specialty cardboard boxes. Wardrobe boxes can also be used to conveniently transport hanging clothes.

How to Get Them:

  • You’re unlikely to find many specialty boxes from family, friends, and neighbors. Most specialty boxes can be found at retail stores like Home Depot, Uhaul, and Uline. You can also purchase them from us along with plenty of other useful moving supplies.
A specialty moving box for packing plates and glasses

3.  Reusable Muscle Boxes

Muscle Boxes are what we call our reusable plastic bins. They’re weather-proof, have strong handles and self-sealing lids, and are resistant to being crushed or punctured. Muscle Boxes are also environmentally-friendly, keeping cardboard boxes out of landfills. However, not all items will fit into a Muscle Box, so we recommend using a combination of box types.

How to Get Them:

  • The best way to get them is to book a move with College Muscle Movers, which comes with 15 free Muscle Boxes! Additional Muscle Boxes are just $2.50 each for a 4-week rental. While there are other places to get similar plastic boxes, we’re confident you won’t find a better deal. In fact, most retailers rent out their reusable boxes at a price point of $2.50 or more just for the first week, after which you’re charged more. Our 4-week rental period ensures you have plenty of time to pack and unpack without racking up more fees. Click here to rent our Muscle Boxes.
3 stacked reusable plastic moving bins outside the College Muscle Movers warehouse in St. Paul, MN
Remember to start collecting boxes a month or two before your move. The time moves fast and your options may be limited if you’re scrambling at the last minute. By taking a proactive approach and exploring various avenues for box collection, you’ll be well-prepared for your upcoming move. Remember, a well-packed move is a successful move. Happy packing!