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Boxes for moving aren’t all the same, and they definitely aren’t the same as boxes for other uses. Every person who moves will need a few different kind of boxes to make sure their stuff is packed safely. Some may be looking for the cheapest moving box option, but that’s not always the best option. These are the main kinds of boxes, and the best kinds of things to put inside them, and where to find them.


Those looking for quality moving boxes have plenty of options. Moving companies like Oz, a moving company in NYC, will often provide some boxes as an added bonus or for a nominal fee. Oz has a full moving box store, which offers box delivery for the client looking for speedy, convenient delivery. One of the most convenient and cost effective ways to obtain moving boxes is to have an Oz crew bring them along during your move, to prevent any additional delivery fees. Those looking to buy factory direct and aren’t in a rush can try a manufacturer like uLine. Those who need moving boxes at the last second can generally find them at a run-of-the-mill office supply store like Staples.


Here are the most commonly available moving boxes that are best suited for the items in your moving inventory.


Boxes for Books


Book boxes are maybe the most common kind of moving boxes. Slightly smaller than a normal moving box (normally 12x12x18). Book boxes are great for smaller, heavier items like books, CDs, DVDs, records, magazines, papers, photo albums, cleaning supplies, and bathroom items. You can pack quite heavy items (such as weights) in this box but make sure that the box is not too heavy and the bottom breaks off. For example, two 20 pound weights with a few towels will be fine; more than 50 pounds total will be too heavy for the box and the movers. Wine bottles, spices, cutlery and food can be packed in these boxes. When packing wine bottles, pad the bottom of the box with packing paper, stand the bottles and separate them from each other and the box walls by using packing paper. 


Large Moving Boxes

Linen boxes are slightly larger boxes better suited for large but light items. This box is used in a few different ways. For pots, pans and plastic containers, the best way is to mix between them so the box will not be too heavy. It is also recommended to fill the spaces between the items with towels or packing paper to stop it from making sounds (it sounds as broken dishes- very unpleasant sound on a stressful move day) or scraping the paint. Linens, folded clothes, shoes or the same should be packed to the top of the box, again, please make sure the box is not too heavy for its bottom.


China Boxes


China Boxes are double corrugated, very sturdy boxes that are perfect for fragile items. It is slightly larger than linen boxes (18x18x27) to accommodate all the packing materials that buffer the fragile items. It is a big box made of extra thick cardboard that is heavy to begin with, so make sure you do not pack it too heavy. Table lamps, small statues, small frames, bowls, vases, anything fragile and electronics should be packed in china boxes.


Wardrobe Boxes

A wardrobe box is a specialty box for hanging clothes; it is 4 feet tall and has a bar at the top for holding the hangers. You can also use this box for big odd shaped items, such as big cushions, ironing board, big stuffed animals, and umbrellas.  DO NOT fill this box with wooden shelves or heavy items as it will be impossible to move.


If you don’t want to go the moving box route, consider using reusable moving crates. Moving crates are usually available from moving and storage companies. Ask to see how much they cost. Reusable crates can be more durable and sustainable than traditional cardboard boxes. 

You can also opt for plastic containers or suitcases, if you do not have much stuff to move. Plastic containers can be sold at any household store like Bed Bath & Beyond. 



Alternatively, you can hunt down some free boxes instead! This can make your move cheaper and more eco-friendly!

  • If you order lots of stuff online, consider keeping the large boxes your packages come in and re-use them for your move
  • Also keep the bubble wrap, packing peanuts and all other protective materials that you may come across, as those items can be recycled into moving supplies. Make sure that they are kept in good condition, so that your stuff won’t get damaged in them (especially if you have some heavy-duty items that need extra care!) Moreover, if you are planning a long distance move, you may need to be extra careful with selecting used boxes as your items can break in transit.  
  • Otherwise, you can check in your apartment building’s basement to see if anyone has left any boxes behind. If you work at an office building, it’s also likely that maintenance has a load of boxes stored somewhere in the building. 
  • Next, try your neighborhood shops to see if they have any extra boxes lying around. Most grocery stores, liquor stores, drugstores, and retail stores receive shipments in cardboard boxes so try and see if they would be willing to donate some to you. 
  • Another idea is to check Craigslist, or Nextdoor, or any other neighborhood classified source to see if anyone has extra boxes they would be willing to give you. If you live in NYC or the greater New York City area, it should be easy to pick up some extra boxes and other packing supplies. 
  • If you are in need of a specific box size, call up a store that sells that item and see if they can reserve a box for you. (If you need some mattress boxes, call a local mattress store, for book boxes, check out a book store, for a flat screen check out an electronic store and so on...) However, note that there may be added difficulty acquiring used items with the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic. 


Here are a few additional tips for packing your boxes and carrying out your move:

  • Label all boxes clearly– what’s in the box and where it’s going to at the new location. Label the sides of the box so you would see the label when the boxes are stacked.
  • •While using clean, brand new moving boxes is recommended, you may use second-hand boxes so long as they are sturdy and in good condition.  
  • •Write 911 or URGENT on boxes that you want ASAP
  • •Keep a utility knife and a magic marker with you during the whole move to adjust any boxes.
  • •When loading the moving truck, be sure to load the largest and heaviest items first so they do not crush or ruin anything in transit on the way to your new home. 


If you are in need of help packing or unpacking, be sure to inquire with local movers in your area to see if they offer any of those services. Moreover, moving companies across New York (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) offer same day delivery services to provide you with a moving kit. Request a free moving quote to see how much these services will cost. 


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