Originally posted on www.ksl.com
Moving is not easy. Even after you’ve found somewhere to live, you still have to pack up all that stuff, call up your closest friends and family to cash in a favor, and contemplate why you own so many seemingly useless things.
One thing that shouldn’t be hard: acquiring the boxes to pack all those aforementioned belongings. Here’s a list of where to get moving boxes—and for free! You can not only cross “get boxes” off your to-do list, but you can also meet that resolution to be more frugal. Win-Win!
KSL free section
If you’ve never explored the Free listings on KSL Classifieds, you’ve been missing out. Free moving boxes are listed almost every day by people who just moved and want to recycle locally.
Keep in mind that the boxes go quickly, so check often when you’re ready to start packing. You’ll also need a car big enough to transport the boxes, since most people require you to pick them up. Just remember to clear them out of your car ASAP; sun-baked cardboard makes for one smelly vehicle.
Local big box retailers
Typically home improvement stores and supercenters stock just about everything late at night, 3-4 times per week. Your best bet for getting free boxes is to call ahead and ask what their schedule is. Once you know when boxes are discarded, you can either stop by or call and request that boxes are held somewhere for you to pick up.
For example, Harmon’s recycle most of their regular stock boxes for paper grocery bags, but if you call the store nearest you after 9 pm, you can sometimes snag the produce boxes from that night.
At Smith’s, call the produce and floral department directly and ask if they’ll set aside all the boxes that day. If you can’t get through on the phone, you can also stop by the customer service desk right when the store opens to see if you can grab any boxes out of the recycling bin.
Local liquor stores
Whether or not you partake of the beverages sold, local liquor stores usually always have a stockpile of boxes for free.
Some places, like the wine store located in downtown Salt Lake City, pile them outside next to the dumpster each night and they’re yours for the taking. Other stores keep boxes in the back or next to the front door; you just have to go in and ask.
They offer small boxes that are good for carrying books and heavier loads. Sometimes you can also pick up wine boxes with cardboard inserts that are perfect for individually packing fragile glasses.
Fast food restaurants
We’ll let you in on a secret that the McDonald’s Fry Box Appreciation Society already knows; fry boxes are perfect for moving. They’re very sturdy, and since the fries arrive frozen in plastic bags, there won’t be any greasy odor lingering.
According to message boards, the best time to call is in the early afternoon (between breakfast and lunch), since sometimes boxes will be filled up with other things or thrown out before closing.
U-Haul box exchange
Although it costs money to get brand new boxes from U-Haul, they have a “Leave a Box/Take a Box” bin at several locations where you can pick up used boxes for free.
They also run a box exchange board on their website that connects you with people in your area that just moved and have boxes to spare. Plus, you can use the site to earn some good karma by posting your boxes after you’ve unpacked.