Should you buy new moving boxes?

New moving boxes have many advantages. More about Ethan Greenfieldby Ethan Greenfieldon Nov 9, 2022.

Moving is stressful and difficult, so you should take advantage of every possible way to minimize the stress and make your move easier. One unexpected – but very effective – way to achieve both is to invest in new moving boxes. 

Professional moving boxes are designed especially for moving, so they provide the best possible protection to household items during a move. When using new boxes, you will know that your belongings are well protected and the risk of damages is very small – so, you will have peace of mind and will be less stressed about your move.

What’s more, professional packing boxes are very convenient, very easy to use, and very easy to get – so they will save you a lot of time and effort, thus making the relocation process much simpler and easier.

However, when packing for moving, you will need a lot of boxes – if you buy them new, it will considerably increase the overall cost of your move. So, in order to save money, you may be tempted to use old boxes you can get for free from local businesses or people who have recently moved.

This may seem like a good idea, but using old boxes is risky and may lead to accidents and damages during the move. To avoid such unnecessary risks, you need to invest in new packing boxes.

Read on to find out why buying new moving boxes is worth it, how much it will actually cost you, and where you can find professional packing containers:

Pros and cons of buying new moving boxes

When asking yourself “Should I buy new moving boxes?”, you need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing brand new packing containers, so you can make an informed decision.

There are many good reasons to buy new moving boxes and one major drawback to doing so:

1) New boxes are very strong, so they provide excellent protection to the items packed in them

Corrugated cardboard boxes are very sturdy – they can withstand a lot of weight (so they won’t break or bend easily) and absorb shocks (so they protect the packed items from impact).

With each use, however, the structural integrity of cardboard boxes is compromised (as they’re tossed around, dropped, dampened by rain and snow, etc.) and they get weaker and less reliable.

This means that used boxes won’t provide as good protection to the items packed in them as new boxes and may even collapse during the move, causing their contents to get damaged and, sometimes, even leading to personal injuries (if a heavy item falls on someone’s feet) or property damage (if the falling items scratch or break the floor or other household items).

Therefore, packing in new boxes is much safer than packing in used boxes.

2) New moving boxes are perfectly clean, so there is no risk of their contents getting soiled – or of introducing pests, germs, or mold to the new home

New boxes have never been used, so they’re clean and free of germs and pests.

Used packing boxes, on the other hand, have held all kinds of items and have been stored in all kinds of places – so, they may be stained or covered in dirt and dust. Some old boxes may even have mold or mildew growing inside them. What’s more, cardboard boxes attract pests both as a hiding place and food (even more so when there are stains and debris in the boxes) – so, old cartons may be infested with bedbugs, moths, cockroaches, spiders, silverfish, or other pests.

If you use second-hand boxes, your belongings may get grimy – or may get ruined by pests or mold. Besides, you may bring various germs, harmful microorganisms (such as mold spores), or even critters to your new home.

New moving boxes are definitely the more sanitary choice.

3) New moving boxes stack well, so they can make you move safer, easier, and cheaper

Professional moving boxes come in several standard sizes. The uniform sizes make it very easy – and very safe – to stack the boxes on top of one another.

This means that when using new moving boxes:

  • Loading the moving truck will take less time and effort, as you (or your movers) will be able to stack the boxes on a dolly and take them to the truck quickly and easily.  Besides, the uniform boxes will be easier to arrange in the truck. If you’re moving short distance and using professional moving services, this will result in lower moving costs as your movers will complete the job faster (local movers charge by the hour). See also: How much do local movers charge per hour?
  • The boxes will stack securely on top of one another because of their uniform shape and size – so there will be no risk of them toppling over and getting damaged (or damaging other items in the truck) during transit;
  • The load will be tighter as the boxes will fit together like puzzle pieces – so there will be no shifting during transportation and the risk of damages will be smaller;
  • The boxes will take up less space as they will stack nicely in the moving truck – so, you (or your movers) will be able to optimize the space in the moving vehicle. In most cases, this will translate in lower moving costs. (If you’re moving yourself, you’ll be able to rent a smaller truck, so you’ll pay a smaller rental fee. If you’re moving long distance and sharing moving truck space with other people, your shipment will take up less space, so you’ll pay less.) See also: What to know when renting a moving truck; Can sharing moving truck space help you reduce moving costs?

If you decide not to buy new moving boxes and pack your items in used boxes you got for free, the cartons will have different shapes and sizes and it will be impossible to stack them securely in the moving truck. This will result in wasted space (and, therefore, higher moving costs) and higher risk of damages.

4) New moving boxes come in different sizes, so you can choose the best boxes for your packing needs

When buying new moving boxes, you can choose from several different sizes, so you can get the right packing containers for your packing needs. When you use the right size boxes, it will be easier to pack your items and they will be safer during the move.

If you decide to use free moving boxes, you will have to fit your possessions into whatever boxes you managed to get. This will make packing more difficult and will increase the risk of damage to your items:

  • If the box is too small, there may not be enough space for padding materials, so the items in the box won’t be well cushioned and will be at a greater risk of damage. Needless to say, larger items won’t fit in small boxes at all;
  • If the box is too big, it will quickly become too heavy (as it will fit a lot of items) and, therefore, more difficult to lift and carry and more likely to get dropped and cause damages and injuries. If you don’t fill the box to the top to avoid making it too heavy, the half-empty box may cave in when stacked under other items or heavy boxes in the moving truck and the things in it may get damaged. Besides, there will be too much empty space in the box, so the items in it may shift during transit and get damaged. To prevent this, you will have to put a lot of padding in the box – which will make packing more difficult and more time-consuming.

To ensure the safety of your items and make packing easier, you need packing boxes of the right sizes – and when buying new moving boxes, you can easily get the right size cartons.

Useful information: What to pack in what size boxes when moving

5) There are specialty moving boxes that make packing safer and easier

If you decide to buy new moving boxes, you’ll be able to get specialized packing containers designed to meet the specific needs of different kinds of items – wardrobe boxes (for hanging clothes), dish boxes (for chinaware and glassware), picture boxes (for framed paintings and mirrors), etc. These specialty boxes provide the best possible protection to the items they’re intended for and make packing faster and easier.

You’re unlikely to find specialty moving boxes for free, so if you don’t invest in new moving boxes, you won’t be able to pack your items in containers designed specifically for them – so, your belongings will be at a greater risk of damage and packing will be more difficult.

See also: What specialty boxes do you need when packing for a move?

6) New moving boxes are easier to label, so they can save you time and help avoid mistakes

When you get new packing boxes for your move, there will be no labels or markings on them, so you will be able to easily label them with their contents and destination rooms and write any necessary handling instructions.

Used boxes, on the other hand, will be already labeled and marked – you will need to remove any old labels (or tape the new labels over them) and scratch out any irrelevant handling instructions. It will take time and the new markings won’t be as clear, so mistakes may easily happen and result in wasted time (if the box is taken to the wrong room upon arrival) or even damages (if the box is turned upside down or not handled with enough care as the handling instructions were not clearly seen).

Related: How to label boxes for moving

7) New moving boxes are easily available, so they can save you a lot of time and stress

New moving boxes are available online, at moving companies, and at various stores, so you can get them quickly and easily – you can buy as many packing containers as you need with several clicks of the mouse or a single trip to the store.

Finding used boxes for free, however, is not so easy – you need to go around town and negotiate with people or visit various websites and deal with deliveries and such. It takes time and adds to the overall moving stress. (You can never be sure that you’ll be able to get enough boxes in good condition in time – nowadays most businesses recycle cardboard, so it may be really difficult to find used boxes.)

See also: Where to find free moving boxes

In counterbalance to all these advantages of new moving boxes, there is only one disadvantage – you will need to pay for the new packing containers. Moving boxes are not expensive, but since you will need a lot of them (about 10 small boxes, 10 medium boxes, and 7-8 large boxes per room), the costs will add up.

See also: How many boxes do you need for a move?

How much are new moving boxes?

Since money will be one of your primary concerns when planning your relocation (moving is indeed expensive), the dilemma of whether to buy new moving boxes or look for used ones you can get for free will ultimately boil down to the cost of the new cartons.

So, how much do moving boxes cost?

  • Small boxes start from $1 per piece
  • Medium-sized boxes can cost anywhere between $1.80 and $3.00
  • Large boxes are sold for about $3.00 per piece, though the price can go up to $5 at some stores

Specialty moving boxes are much more expensive, of course (wardrobe boxes cost about $12, dish barrels – approximately $6, picture boxes – $8-$10, etc.).

The cost of moving boxes depends on their size and type and can vary a lot from retailer to retailer.

Good to know: When wondering where to buy moving boxes, be sure to check online stores (like Amazon), department stores and office supply stores (like Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Office Depot, Staples, etc.), and local moving companies and truck rental companies (U-Haul is one of the most popular places to get moving boxes), so you can find the best packing boxes for your needs at the best possible prices.

Before buying boxes for moving, however, take a look at some clever ideas on how to move without boxes – they may help you save a lot of money on your next relocation. Good luck!


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