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The Ultimate Guide to Moving Boxes

Published by Chris Townsend

The Ultimate Guide to Moving Boxes

Moving into a new home in a new city, state, or somewhere across the country can be a fascinating idea, but when the processes involved start to unfold, you begin to see what a heavy burden moving can be, especially when it is not well-planned or handled by professionals.

Moving involves strenuous and energy-sapping tasks that the only way to make it smooth and simple is with comprehensive and effective planning. One of the aspects of a move that gets people worried is the issue of moving boxes.

People get confused and ask questions like, "What are the moving box sizes?" Where should I get moving boxes from? How many boxes do I need? There are many more questions that people ask when they are preparing to move. To help people out of the dilemma of moving boxes, here is an ultimate guide to moving boxes.

Packing with the Right Boxes

When planning for a move, there are different sizes, shapes, and styles of moving boxes that you can make use of and they all have different purposes. The type and size of box you need are dependent on what you want to pack. To be able to demystify the mystery of moving boxes, you will need to understand the different types and sizes available, how much they cost, how many boxes you would need for a move, and what their different uses are.

Packed in a larger box

Types and Sizes of Moving Boxes

Small Boxes

These are boxes around the size of 36 cubic liters. They are best used for packing books, picture frames, knick-knacks, canned goods, and other small items. Small boxes are also ideal for packing delicate items as well as small appliances that would be unsafe if packed in a larger box. It is very important to pack small appliances in small boxes that are of relative size to the appliances. This would reduce the risk of damage in the course of moving.

Medium-sized Boxes

These boxes measure about 52 cubic liters and are regarded as all-purpose moving boxes. You can use medium-sized boxes to pack just about anything, such as kitchen supplies, pots and pans, collectibles, kids' toys, lampshades, and several others. Two important factors to keep in mind while packing your medium-sized boxes are weight and distribution. Make sure you already have an estimated weight for each box and be disciplined enough to stick with the target. Exceeding the carrying capacity of a box is dangerous and might lead to damage to both the box and items inside.

Large moving boxes

Large Boxes

Large moving boxes are those that are 150 cubic liters or larger. They are large moving boxes and, as such, can accommodate some larger household items. Mind you, for large items with considerable weight, it's advisable to have them wrapped and moved individually instead of packing them in boxes. Large boxes are ideal for packing pillows, lightweight blankets, stuffed animals, toys, larger pots and pans, linens, etc. Especially for items that occupy so much space but don't weigh much.

Specialty Boxes

Dish Boxes

Dish boxes are corrugated boxes that are very sturdy. They are designed with special cell dividers, making them ideal for packing dishes like glasses, stemware, and plates. The purpose of the cell dividers is to separate each item from the other. This would ensure that they don't hit one another while in transit. To ensure the dishes are securely held in place, you should carefully wrap your dishes with packing paper.

Mirror or Picture Boxes

These boxes are precisely made for moving mirrors, large portraits, as well as other breakable items of larger sizes. These boxes are normally large and thin boxes, custom-made to precisely fit your mirrors or large portraits. It would be very embarrassing and unpleasant to arrive at your new home only to discover that your mirror had been broken or the glass in your beautiful portrait had been shattered. This is why using a mirror or picture box is the ideal way to pack your mirrors or portraits to guarantee their safety.

Wardrobe boxes have a pole across

Wardrobe Boxes

Understandably, you will want to take most of your clothes with you on your move to your new home. You want to be sure you have sufficient clothing when you get to your new home. While some of your clothes can be packed in boxes, suitcases, or dresser drawers, you have to be more careful with your special wears like your dinner gowns, suits, tuxedos, blazers, or anything else you do not want to get wrinkled on the way. To ensure their safe move, you need to get wardrobe boxes, which are precisely designed to move special clothing on hangers. Wardrobe boxes have a pole across the top where you can hang your clothes, eliminating the fear of being wrinkled in transit. The wardrobe box is more like a moving closet.

With the wardrobe box, you can easily and efficiently move your clothes to your new home in a clean, wrinkle-free manner, and more importantly, it is very easy to unpack on arrival, so that eliminates the risk of losing your clothes or getting them mixed up with other items

Mattress Boxes

While you are making plans to get boxes for other things in your home, ensure you get a box suitable for your mattress as well. Your mattress requires special protection as well because if not properly protected, it could result in damage. Don't make the mistake of moving it bare in a moving truck or just simply wrapping it with plastic wrap. Make sure a mattress box is used.

A mattress box is about the exact size, with little allowances on all sides to allow the mattress to slide into the box. It wraps the entire mattress, insulating it against dirt, tears, and rips.

Get to kick start the moving process

How many moving boxes do I need?

It is very clear now that moving boxes come in different sizes as well as different functionality. An average residential move requires about 100–150 moving boxes. If you are having trouble estimating the number of boxes to use and you are confused about how to get the process started, you should start small. This is a list of the number of boxes to get to kick start the moving process:

  • 15 small boxes.
  • 15 medium-sized boxes
  • Ten large boxes
  • 3 rolls of paper tape.
  • 2 packs of packing paper.

Tips On How To Pack Your Boxes

Here are a few pointers to help you pack your boxes to make the process go more smoothly:

  • Packing paper is very important. Ensure to use it to wrap your breakable items. It makes certain they are safely moved.
  • Packing kitchen items is different from packing other items. Sharp objects like your large kitchen knives should be kept in separate boxes, clearly labeled to prevent any risk of injury.
  • Make sure your boxes are clearly labeled. This will make your packing easier, and you can easily locate your items on arrival at your new home.
  • Ensure you use high-quality, sturdy, and heavy-duty boxes to pack heavier items.
  • Use sturdy dish boxes to pack your dishes and make sure you place your heavier dishes at the bottom of the dish box. This will help stabilize the box.
Moving boxes from several places

Where to Get Moving Boxes

You could get a lot of moving boxes from several places without having to spend a cent. These are just a few places you can check:

Facebook Community Groups

You can find several thousand people in local Facebook community groups who engage in selling, buying, and even giving away things online. You can get connected to people willing to give out free moving boxes by either searching for current posts or putting up a post.

Local Grocery Stores

Grocery stores usually receive multiple weekly deliveries, which come in sturdy boxes that you could make use of. You can get in contact with the grocer to help you with these boxes, and you might just be lucky enough to get quite a lot of sturdy boxes for free.

Office Building Complexes

What about the office buildings closest to you? You could try them out because most offices constantly get deliveries that come with boxes that are not usually needed after unpacking. So you could be doing the office a favor by getting rid of these boxes. Try to be friendly with the front desk employee; they should be able to lend you the help you require.

Craigslist website and post a wanted listing

Craigslist & Freecycle

You can easily find people who want to give out free boxes on community-based websites like Craigslist or Freecycle. You could just go on the Craigslist website and post a wanted listing, or simply search through the posts in the free section. On Freecycle, all you need to do is to join an online Freecycle group and simply post a wanted ad. You'll be amazed to get a response sooner than you expected.


Bookstores are most certainly the best place to get incredibly sturdy boxes. The reason for this is that books are quite heavy and so would require sturdy boxes to be able to handle the weight of the books packed in them. If you need strong boxes to help pack heavy stuff, this could be your chance. You can reach out to the bookstore's manager. You might be able to get all the empty boxes available.

Final Thoughts

We at Three Movers can help make sure that your belongings arrive at your new home safely by providing you with the right moving boxes. If you have questions about the right moving boxes for your move, or if you want an all-in-one moving package that includes everything you need, please call us!

Moving boxes for your

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving. Chris has a keen eye for detail and brings intelligence and passion to every project he’s involved with.

While getting his degree in communications from Santa Clara University, Chris started out with the company working in the field as part of our team of professional moving associates. Following graduation, he was promoted to our main office, where he has thrived in a role that involves increasing responsibility and requires him to wear many different hats. Some days, you may find him answering the phone and providing moving estimates, others he may be writing for our moving blog, and another day he may be coordinating a large corporate moving job or helping us with our marketing efforts. Chris has authored many of our in-depth moving guides, as well as provided our clients with information and advice to handle the complexities of their upcoming moving plans. Simply put, there’s nothing he can’t do and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

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