Roughly 100 billion cardboard boxes are created per year in the US alone. Many of these boxes will be recycled, but not all of them.
Eventually, all of your stuff will be in its proper place, but you’ll still have to figure out what to do with the boxes. The good news is that there are several ways to repurpose cardboard boxes.
1. Consult Your Move Coordinator
Many movers will take boxes away on the same day as the move. Check with your move coordinator ahead of time for more information. For boxes unpacked at a later date, it depends on the type of move, but generally for:
- Local moves, the moving company may be interested in taking them back. Check with the company; most companies will take them back if they are flattened and still in useable condition.
- Long-distance moves, the closest agent may come to pick them up for a fee.
2. Reuse Them
Cardboard boxes are a useful way to stay organized during a move, and they can keep things organized even after.
You may want to use some of the sturdier boxes to store various items in your home. Organize rarely used items in the boxes according to type or value.
Or, break down some or all of the boxes and store them for future use. For example, if you plan to move in a year, you might want to keep some of the boxes on hand.
These boxes might also come in handy for wrapping gifts during holidays or birthdays.
3. Sell or Give Them Away
If you don’t have anything to keep in storage, there’s a good chance somebody nearby does. It might be a good idea to ask around.
You might be able to make a small amount of money by selling your boxes online at websites like BoxCycle or ContainerExchanger. These websites help connect people who want to buy and sell used boxes. Or, consider selling your boxes on a general classifieds website, like Craigslist.
If you’re not particularly interested in making a profit off of your boxes, give them away — post ads for “free boxes” on Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, or the NextDoor app.
If your moving boxes saw some wear and tear and were damaged during the moving process, recycle them. Recycle dirty, worn boxes by breaking them down and taking them to a local recycling center.
Some cities will pick up recyclable materials upon request. Contact your municipality or local recycling center to see if they offer similar services. Check with the recycling center about any requirements they might have about acceptable boxes. For instance, they may want the boxes flattened, a specific size, or bundled.
5. Donate Them to a Charity
Local schools or libraries may need sturdy boxes for spring books or supplies. Call around your neighborhood or place an ad on the Nextdoor app to see if any organizations that need extra boxes. It might take a little effort to find an organization in need, but if you find one, you’ll feel good about donating some boxes to a worthy cause.
6. Give a Few to the Kids
If you have small kids, keep a few boxes for future creative art projects. Let them be creative and build a fort, a playhouse, or dollhouses from the large boxes. Or, perhaps decorate them and make Halloween costumes.
There are many ways to repurpose cardboard moving boxes without throwing them out. Whether you save them for another move or let someone else get some use out of them, keeping them out of the landfill is a plus. If you want more information and advice on a cost-effect move, check out our blog. We can help.