New boxes are fairly expensive to purchase, so you can save a substantial amount of money by finding free boxes to use when moving or shipping items.
One location where you may be able to acquire free boxes is your workplace. Even if your workplace isn’t a store, large cardboard boxes may be used for receiving bulk quantities of office or bathroom supplies. These boxes are often of sufficient quality both for moving and shipping of items.
A variety of stores have empty boxes they are willing to give customers. Some Save-A-Lot grocery stores have them at the front of the store, and customers can put their groceries in them when leaving. These are the same boxes that larger quantities of products arrive in. Free boxes from stores may or may not be of sufficient quality for shipping – some don’t have any flaps on the top – but most are good enough for moving at least some types of items to a new residence.
Although they are not actually free, a box used to receive items purchased over the internet is much cheaper than one bought at an office supply store, when the value of the contents is considered. If you want to incidentally receive a large box when purchasing items on an internet auction service or shopping website, be sure that the items won’t be mailed in separate smaller boxes or padded envelopes.
If you need a free box for shipping, be sure to compare the cost of Priority Mail with that of Parcel Post on the Post Office website (www.usps.com). At times, it can cost as little as $0.10 more for Priority Mail shipping if the contents are lightweight or the destination is nearby. This makes it practically free to use a Priority Mail box supplied by the Post Office, in these situations.
Fairly often, items are sold in their original boxes at yard sales and flea markets. If the item is very inexpensive and large enough, the box can be worth as much as you pay for the item it’s in. For example, video cassette recorders are sometimes sold for as little as $5 at yard sales, and an empty box large enough for a VCR might cost almost that much new. While this technique isn’t likely to get you enough boxes for moving everything in your house, it is an easy way to get a free box or two while purchasing inexpensive items at the same time.
Finally, another good place to find free boxes is www.Craigslist.org, especially if you live in a large city. Just search for “boxes” in the “free stuff” section (after accessing the Craigslist for your state or city) and you will see a list of people or businesses in your area who have boxes they want to give away. A few even offer free packaging materials with them.