Need Free Moving Boxes? Here's Where to Start

by Joe N. Pollifrone 04/18/2022

Cardboard moving boxes are everywhere. However, when you’re moving, you may feel you never have enough. While major retailers sell moving boxes, the price can add up quickly. If you’re moving a sizable amount of items or just want to recycle a few unused boxes, free moving boxes are the way to go. Luckily, there are many ways to get them. Here are some suggestions of places to look for free moving boxes:

Recycling Centers

Used cardboard boxes often end up at recycling centers. While they’re likely to be broken down, it’s common to find discarded boxes in great shape. You can use packing tape to rebuild them and repurpose them for your own move. Speak to an attendant or employee before grabbing anything, though.

Dorms & Apartment Complexes

If you live near college dorms or student apartments, you may be sitting on a cardboard box goldmine. Since these communities use large communal recycling containers, you can often find a ton of discarded cardboard boxes from students moving in or out. Try visiting during the beginning or end of the school year and speak to a property manager or student housing representative before helping yourself.


Local stores go through a lot of cardboard boxes. It’s worth asking if retailers have any extra boxes they don’t need. Some of the best sources of moving boxes are electronic and office supply stores, home improvement stores, bookstores and liquor stores. The worst that can happen is they say no. Otherwise, you can help a local business with their recycling and get the boxes you need.

Local Social Media Groups

Finally, look at various social media platforms for your area to see if anybody is giving away moving boxes. It’s very common for people who have just finished moving to offer their used boxes to the community. You can typically find these opportunities under the “free” section of your favorite marketplace website. Act quickly, though—these types of offerings are first-come-first-served and in high demand.

There are a lot of sources of free moving boxes as long as you know where to search and who to ask. However, always check with whomever is in charge of the area before taking boxes. Even though they’re just boxes, taking without permission could still be considered theft. Plus, a bit of courtesy can have enormous benefits.

About the Author

Joe N. Pollifrone

For over 30 years, Joe Pollifrone has practiced real estate full-time as a licensed Real Estate Broker in California. Joe’s vast sales experience includes duplexes, tri-plexes, four-plexes, apartment buildings, land, condominiums, townhomes, fixer-uppers, estate properties, and bank-owned properties (REOs). He also is active in selling non-owner occupied properties and is well-versed in 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, property management, tenant/landlord issues, and local laws. During Joe’s career to date, he has sold in excess of $200,000,000 of real estate, including over $32,000,000 in REOs. 

Joe brought his deep experience to Sereno Group Willow Glen as a Broker Associate in 2012. He was the Sales Manager and lead a top-producing office. Joe would mentor new Sereno hires, making sure that they’re comfortable with the ethos of the office, plugged into Sereno’s network of contacts, and well-versed in the technology required of today’s real estate professionals. 

Joe prides himself on his proven ability to negotiate, extensive knowledge of contracts, and securing close of escrows in a timely manner. Both he and his clients credit his success to effective communication skills, honesty, and hard work. Joe is a native of San Jose and resides in Willow Glen with his wife of twenty-seven years, Kimi, his daughters Milan and Micaela and their two Goldendoodles, Tony-Luca and Marco.