Home buyers and sellers have several things in common. They both want real estate agents who will work hard on their behalf to get the highest (or lowest) price for a piece of property.
They both find themselves drawn to “For Sale” signs stuck in the ground of scattered homes in the area. Both buyers and sellers probably find themselves obsessively checking their real estate listing app to compare the price of these homes to the one they are buying or selling.
Finally, buyers and sellers both lose sleep from stress thinking about all they have to do to prepare for their move. Whatever side of the home buying equation you are on, you are probably facing a move sometime soon.
Moving is stressful and a lot of work. You may not think of yourself as a packrat until you have to touch each item in your home while deciding on whether to sell, trash, donate, or pack. Only after handling each item will you understand just how many boxes you will need for your move.
Experts in the moving industry try to help people determine how many boxes they will need depending on their household size and lifestyle. One moving website estimates that a family with two adults and two teenagers, living a moderate lifestyle, will need over 100 boxes to pack up belongings. This box estimate may be low if your teenager’s closet is like my 13-year-old girl’s.
If you purchase packing paper, bubble wrap, and heavy-duty packing tape, the supplies for your move alone is estimated to cost almost $600.
Selling or buying a home is expensive enough. Sellers have to pay a repair person to fix leaky faucets and caulk around windows. They have to pay for a professional to stage their homes. Depending on the state, they may have to pay real estate transfer fees and up to 6% of the home’s sale cost to real estate agents.
Buyers have to pay for inspectors, loan origination fees, home association payments, and other closing costs. Plus, they are going into debt for one of the largest purchases they will likely make in their lives.
Neither sellers nor buyers have extra cash sitting around to buy $500 worth of boxes they will need to recycle as soon as they complete move is completed.
How do you avoid paying for boxes? Here are nine ways to find cheap or free boxes to use for your move.
One of the first places to turn to in your search for free moving boxes should be Craigslist. Check out the “For Free” section of Craigslist to restore your faith in humanity. There are plenty of people out there who will give away boxes from their recent move to the first person who texts or calls.
If your boxes are in good condition after finishing your move, consider paying it forward and offering your moving supplies to the next desperate person who is trying to save a few bucks.
There are several ways you can approach finding free boxes off of Facebook. First, you can put out a plea to your friends and family members asking them to save packing boxes for you. If posting an appeal such as this opens up a can of worms that often occurs after a Facebook post, you may want to suck it up and buy new boxes at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
You can also check the Facebook local marketplace or swap and shop boards. You may be able to find all the boxes you need off this website, and at the same time find the perfect table for your new home’s entryway.
Before downloading this app to ask for free boxes from people in your area, you may want to assess your tolerance level on reading the ramblings of grumpy neighbors complaining about 10-year-olds “ding dong ditching” and first-world tirades about trash cans left on the curb overnight.
If you have thick skin and are able to ignore such annoying posts, the Nextdoor app is a great way to find moving boxes and get to know the people in your community.
If you really want to get your neighbors talking, you can get your moving boxes from your local liquor stores. Liquor boxes are usually sturdy, as they are required to move heavy, precious cargo.
Since liquor stores are often hit up for their boxes, it might behoove you to form a relationship with an employee before your move. Trust me, after going through the home buying or selling process, you will be at the liquor store often anyway.
U-Haul Customer Connect
Download U-Haul’s free Customer Connect App on your smartphone to connect with others who have boxes to share. This exchange service is part of U-Haul’s green initiative to reduce the amount of waste associated with packing supplies.
If you are lucky enough to have a brick and mortar bookstore in your neighborhood still, drop in to ask the manager about free boxes that he or she may have available. Bookstore boxes are the perfect size to pack . . . well, books. It would be a mistake to pack your books in liquor store boxes unless The Rock is helping you move.
Search for a Freecycle group in your local area to connect with others who may have moving boxes to share. You won’t just find moving boxes on Freecycle. Apparently, the site was set up to enable people to give things to others instead of throwing unwanted items in the trash.
You might want to share this website with family members who force you to take treasures such as old magazines and empty pill bottles every time you visit.
Some communities have local recycling centers that allow inhabitants to drop off unneeded cardboard, aluminum, and tin. If you have a drop off service near your home, see if they have a designated spot for recycling cardboard boxes. It’s always worth asking.
Other Retail Stores
It’s not just liquor stores and bookstores that get deliveries. Go to any store in your neighborhood to see if you can grab a few free boxes. It is always better to show up in person. Retailers are usually too busy to talk on the phone. If no boxes are available at the time, find out when the store often unpacks deliveries and go back at that particular time. You might want to purchase packing tape in bulk to reassemble broken down boxes.
You need the help of a lot of people when you are preparing for a move. Do you have the right people in your corner?
If you are selling your home, do you have someone who will help you stage your house for a quick sale? Do you know someone who will work at a discounted commission rate and will still offer all of the expected real estate services? Reach out to a Clever Partner Agent in your area to help you sell your house fast.
If you are buying a home, do you know someone who can offer you a home buyer rebate? Do you know an expert in the local real estate industry who will negotiate on your behalf? Find a Partner Agent to help you find the home of your dreams.