Find Budget Packing Materials

Use your own suitcases and recycled boxes for a low-cost move

Most people forget to look for packing materials in the most obvious place -- the basement, garage, and closet. You'll probably need a few boxes to tote your stuff in, but pack as much as you can in containers you already have. Haul out your suitcases and plastic bins and fill them up. Instead of paper or bubble wrap, use your own towels, scarves or pillows to wrap breakables. This is environmentally conscious and efficient, plus your new basement won't be filled with packing supplies.

Once you've filled your existing containers, go the budget route for packing materials. While movers sell these, they're often much cheaper in office supply stores. Ask your mover while they're doing your estimate, and compare the prices to find the best deal.

You can likely get boxes for free around your community. Ask local businesses about giving you their packing boxes; most stores throw away their materials after they unload the contents.

You can also save your own bubble wrap, boxes and envelopes for your move. A little planning can help you save money, and you'll save some boxes from a landfill fate.

Don't have the time to scrounge around town for boxes? Let someone else do it for you. UsedCardboardBoxes.com collects boxes that are on their way to the dump from businesses around the country. They also use some new boxes that are factory misprints and overruns. Then, they pack them into handy kits complete with tape, packing paper and markers. Select the number of rooms you need to pack up and the boxes will be shipped to you in one or two business days.

Although it's cheaper than buying brand-new boxes, the convenience is still going to cost you. For instance, the three-bedroom home kit costs $154 from UsedCardboardBoxes.com. The same setup would be $212 and $238 at U-Haul.com and BoxBros.com, respectively.

No matter where you get those moving boxes, make sure to recycle them after the journey. Find a friend or fellow mover to give them to, or advertise online to find a taker. At the least, take them to the recycling center -- not the trash bin.


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