Stack of cardboard boxes on a meadow against sky, a house made of cardboard boxes
Date Published
May 16, 2019

Planning a move takes a lot of time and organization. The costs can also start to mount for things like temporary storage, fees to set up new utilities, and purchasing items for you new home.

Pro mover tip: If you need more help planning your move, check out our complete twin cities moving checklist!

Moving boxes are a great place to save a little money by finding free moving boxes in your area. There are a variety of places to find free moving boxes, especially if you get a little creative.

Explore our list of 17 places to get secondhand boxes for moving and get packing!

Where to Get Free Moving Boxes

  1. Friends and family
    Your immediate network of friends and family may have used packing boxes from a recent move or online shopping. You can put a post on your social accounts, but asking in person is also a good idea.
  2. Your workplace
    If you work in an office, your office manager might have empty boxes from supply deliveries. If there’s a mailroom, it’s worth asking there as well. Even if you don’t work in an office, your company likely gets deliveries of some kind, so ask around!
  3. Facebook groups
    There are groups on Facebook dedicated to all sorts of things, including box exchanges for people moving. Just type phrases like “free moving boxes” in the search box and see what pops up.
  4. Craigslist
    It’s easy to check Craigslist for free boxes. Pull up your city or area on Craigslist and click the “free” link under the “for sale” section. There are inevitably multiple listings for free moving boxes.
  5. Nextdoor
     is a free social networking service for neighborhoods. Sign up and select your location to submit and receive notifications about all kinds of things from safety tips to posts for free stuff and requests for items — like moving boxes!
  6. Freecycle
     is a worldwide network of groups that keep reusable goods out of landfills by offering them up for free. You can search by location and then view posts near you.
  7. OfferUp
    OfferUp is an app dedicated to people buying and selling locally, similar to Craigslist. The app (which you can view on a desktop computer or download to your mobile device) also has a “free” section.
  8. letgo 
     is yet another resource for buying and selling locally that allows you to browse on desktop or download the app. Simply select the “free stuff” icon and add your location.
  9. Liquor stores
    Liquor stores get product shipments multiple times a week, so they’re great spots to find boxes. Call stores in your area to find out when they get deliveries and either show up that day or ask them to set aside some boxes for you.
  10. Grocery stores
    Grocery stores in your area are another great spot to check for boxes because of the frequency of deliveries. You might want to avoid taking boxes that held items like seafood, however.
  11. Bookstores
    Bookstores get frequent shipments, so Barnes & Noble, Staples, or your local booksellers are another great option for moving boxes. These small, sturdy boxes are especially good for packing your own books or other heavy items.
  12. Office Supply stores
    Office supply stores like OfficeMax will have sturdy boxes as well. Boxes that shipped printers and other office equipment as well as printer paper boxes with their removable lids work well.
  13. McDonald’s
    The fry boxes from McDonald’s are a great option that most people don’t think of when looking for sturdy moving boxes. These boxes held frozen food, so you don’t need to worry about any unpleasant smell.
  14. Starbucks
    Another option that you might not think of is your local Starbucks. These locations get frequent shipments of frozen and dry goods, so ask when they get shipments on your morning coffee run.
  15. Large retail stores
    You can get free moving boxes from Walmart, Target, Costco, and other retail stores. Keep in mind that the boxes might be broken down flat for recycling, but you can easily tape them back together.
  16. Recycling dropoff points
    If you have a recycling dropoff point in your area, this can be a goldmine for moving boxes. Make sure to call ahead or check online for any rules about how and if you can pick up boxes.
  17. Local schools
    This one might seem unlikely, but schools get supply shipments too, especially in the early fall. Just call the head office and ask!

3 Tips for Getting Your Moving Boxes:

  • Be polite
  • Call beforehand
  • Arrive early when shipments do

These ideas for finding used boxes should yield all the boxes you need for your move in Minneapolis or beyond. If you still need more, or don’t want to do all the legwork, you can get boxes and other moving supplies from AAA!