Picking Box Sizes

by April Reinhardt
(last updated October 7, 2019)

The last time we moved, I let my co-workers know that I needed boxes for packing. Larry's wife, Linda, was a school teacher and it just so happened that her entire school was having a candy sale for the two weeks prior to our move. Linda asked if I wanted the large shipping boxes for my moving use. I gladly accepted them, since they are large and very sturdy. We had a vendor at work who used sturdy, wax-coated boxes large enough to hold books, and I asked if he had extra. Four days later, he delivered an entire pallet of them and I took them home a little at a time in the trunk of my car. I also visited grocery stores and asked for empty egg boxes, since they are the ideal size for packing household items for moving day. I found a drug store convenient to work that was throwing out smaller shipping boxes, and asked if I could have them. All tolled, I gathered in excess of two hundred various sizes of sturdy boxes, and didn't have to pay for them. After our move, I broke down the boxes, stacked them, and bundled them with twine, keeping them for our next inevitable move.

What prompted me to ask for free boxes? Several moves ago, I went to the local U-Haul company to buy boxes, since they advertised moving boxes for sale. I found their prices absurd, and left with only two; specialized boxes for packaging breakable dishes. Since then, I learned to use bubble wrap to pack dishes inside of standard boxes.

If you pack your boxes tightly, and cushion the contents sufficiently, your goods should arrive at your new home safely. Choosing the correct box size is imperative to safely moving your goods. Consider the following guidelines when picking box sizes for moving:

  • Small- and medium-sized boxes. When packing books, consider the weight. If you have a large box and cram it full of books, you'd need a dolly to lift it, and then the bottom might break from the weight. Always use small- or medium-sized boxes to pack heavy items.
  • Special-sized boxes. If you've expensive crystal or China, it's wise to invest in small boxes sold explicitly for packaging such items.
  • Extra large boxes. Find extra large, sturdy boxes for artwork.
  • Large boxes. Use large boxes and cut them down to fit your mirrors. Also use large boxes for very light items, such as plastic food ware.

You can also purchase wardrobe boxes for all of your clothes. While they are handy, I've always used a garbage bag to protect hanging clothes during a move. If you've moving a great distance, however, the wardrobes boxes may be a better option.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


Treating Dehydration

Many people think that dehydration occurs only when you are thirsty and only if the weather is hot. Those misconceptions ...

Discover More

Removing Beeswax from Fabric

Removing beeswax from fabric may actually be easier than removing paraffin wax, since it is more pliable and soft. The ...

Discover More

Checking for and Eliminating Drafts

An easy way to check to see where a draft is coming from is to stand with a lighted candle next to a window or door. The ...

Discover More

Find the Right Tool Right Away Finally, a homeowner's set that includes all the tools needed to complete basic DIY projects at an affordable price! The tools are stored in a molded case for security and portability. Check out Stanley 65-Piece Homeowner's Tool Kit today!

More Home Improvement Tips

How to Pack a Truck

Before you rent a moving truck, take a complete inventory of your home. When you decide the size of truck you need, rent ...

Discover More

Boxing Your Household Goods

Use your organizational skills to box your household goods for moving day. Record the contents of each box on a master ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)