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Assembling Your Moving Supplies: A Closer Look at Those Free Boxes


by: Allison Millar
01 Dec 2010

As you plan your move, it's tempting to rush around to grocery stores and other retailers looking for free boxes and discounted packing material. You'll save money on your moving supplies, but are you really coming out ahead?

The answer depends on how much stuff you're moving and what will go in the boxes. If you have a four bedroom house to move, chances are those free boxes won't hold their own. When moving a one bedroom apartment, free boxes can go far, but probably won't fill all your needs.

The same holds true for cheap tape. If you've ever used a roll of thin tape that tears along the sides, you know that it won't make it through your packing.

Check Those Free Boxes

Start by evaluating the quality of materials found through free or discounted sources. While it may be tempting to grab all the free boxes you can, you should think about:

  • What you'll be packing--heavy books versus linens
  • How sturdy the box is. Look at the seams and edges for signs of existing wear and tear. How thick is the box?
  • The box shape and handle configuration. How easy is it to carry? Will the handle hold up to numerous trips down the stairs in and out of your old home and new place?

Likewise, think twice about using your leftover Christmas tape to seal your boxes or old newspapers for packing. Do you really want ink all over your hands and belongings and boxes that won't stay shut?

Free moving supplies have their place, but they probably won't get you through an entire move. If you're on a budget, consider getting a mix of supplies. Track down some free boxes and buy some sturdy boxes from a mover or boxes supplier.

Moving Supplies: You Get What You Pay For

When buying supplies through a professional supplier, you're getting sturdy boxes and wrapping paper, and thick packing tape. The boxes are designed for moving heavy items, such as books, and might have reinforced corners and other protection. You'll also get the customer service help you need in terms of deciding:

  • How many boxes do you need?
  • What size boxes are best for your belongings?

In the end, you get what you pay for. There's nothing wrong with using a few free moving boxes, but make sure you have sturdy boxes for your most valuable belongings. And that cheap tape? Forget it!

Sources:
UHaul Packing Planner Checklist • http://www.store.uhaul.comhttp://https://store.uhaul.com/images/packingplanner.pdf • UHaul