The moment you’ve reached your new home, it’ll be time to start thinking about unpacking your things so that you can get one step closer to your ultimate post-relocation goal – to settle down in that strange place without having to cope with any symptoms of relocation depression.
Unpacking after a move is an important task that you shouldn’t underestimate – living among piles of unopened boxes will only make things worse in the long run, prolonging unnecessarily the post-move adaptation period. So, all signs lead to you rolling up your sleeves and getting down to unpacking.
Interestingly enough, one of the very first problems you’ll run into after initiating or resuming the unpacking job will be what to do with all the packing materials – cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper, and packing peanuts. Mainly, you’ll be asking yourself what to do with the MOVING BOXES as you keep unpacking simply because those excess cardboard containers will keep piling up, creating quite a mess and eating up the space in your new home.
That’s right, your biggest concern while unpacking your items is likely to be what to do with all the empty cardboard boxes lying around your new place. On average, around 60 moving boxes are needed for a single residential move, so your exact number of cardboard containers may be less or more depending on a number of factors.
Moving boxes take plenty of space so you’ll need to figure out what you’ll do with yours before the situation gets out of control.
So, what should you do with your moving boxes after a move? Should you keep them for a future move? Should you try to sell them? Give them away to friends or strangers in need? Or maybe just throw them away for recycling?
Option 1: Just KEEP your moving boxes
Consider keeping the best cardboard boxes for future use – after all, you never know when you might need them again, do you? Flatten out and store in a dry place all the moving boxes that have survived the house move without any visible signs of damage. Make sure you keep the sturdiest and cleanest packing boxes too. That way, you won’t need to look for cheap or free cardboard containers when another house move comes around the corner in a few years’ time.
Besides, you can use those the moving boxes in good condition for storage as well – to store away some of the things you just unpacked and won’t need right away. Don’t forget to label those storage boxes, again, so that you know what’s inside them at any given moment. Also, make sure the storage area is dry and there’s enough air circulation because water and high humidity can ultimately damage the cardboard boxes and the things they contain.
The good news is that cardboard boxes are very versatile, and as such, they can be easily re-purposed and used for various home projects around the home. Kids can unleash their creativity and create costumes, playhouses, castles, forts, and even mazes out of strong and clean cardboard boxes.
Keep in mind that even if some of the boxes have been damaged during the move, you can still use the cardboard material itself for all kinds of purposes, from sheer wall and floor protection during renovation projects to a long list of fun projects for the entire family.
Option 2: Try to SELL your moving boxes
If you have specialty boxes such as dish barrels or wardrobe boxes, then you should definitely keep them for your next house move.
Chances are that you won’t need to keep all the moving boxes, even if they are in good overall condition. So, one good way to get rid of used moving boxes, and make some money in the meantime, is to attempt to sell those containers to people who need them.
The idea behind this option is to try to get back a bit of the money you paid for some or most of the cardboard containers when you were preparing to pack your things for moving. In theory, it makes sense to try to sell your used packing boxes after the move is over.
However, in practice, their sale will mean that you’ll need to invest a considerable amount of time and efforts to make it worthwhile – not always the best course of action when you’re looking for good ways to get rid of your boxes after the relocation.
Here’s where to sell your used moving boxes:
- Craigslist. This is the website people go to when they happen to look for cheap packing supplies, so it makes a lot of sense to list your unwanted boxes there. Make sure the containers you offer are only lightly used to be able to sell them fast. In the majority of cases, it’s best to have potential buyers come directly to your home to pick those moving containers than to have to send them to another part of the country.
- BoxCycle. This is a specialized website that people check when they search for second-hand moving boxes. The good news is that the website will handle the sale hassle for you – for a small fee, of course. So, if you have enough boxes in good condition that you’re wondering what to do with, then register with BoxCycle and see what happens.
- NextDoor. A bit unusual way to sell your leftover boxes after the move is to access the popular smartphone app that will give you exclusive access to the social network of the new neighborhood you just moved to. It’s free to sign up and you can simply leave a short message to the new neighbors that you offer cardboard boxes in excellent condition. The thing is that you never know who might be looking for cheap moving boxes at that very moment.
Speaking of selling packing boxes after the move, it’s never a good idea to try to sell your boxes to any of your friends. It’s just not a cool thing to do. So, if you know a friend who’s looking for moving boxes and you have plenty to offer, just be a good friend and give them those cardboard receptacles for free.
Option 3: GIVE AWAY your moving boxes
It goes without saying that selling your used boxes will require time and efforts – two things you probably won’t be willing to make any compromises with right after the move. And besides, will the hassle of getting back a few dollars be worth it in the end?
If you wish to get rid of your unwanted used boxes really fast, then your best bet is to just give them away to anyone who might need them at that moment of time. After all, it’s a bad idea to throw away perfectly usable packing materials.
Make sure your moving boxes are in decent condition before you offer them to someone, be it for free.
Friends and colleagues. Tell your friends and co-workers that you have good cardboard boxes that you don’t really need. You can do this easily with a Facebook / Twitter post in order to reach as many of your pals as possible.
- Craigslist. Use the free section of Craigslist to list your cardboard boxes for free and watch them disappear with the speed of light.
- FreeCycle. List your excess packing boxes at FreeCycle – a non-profit organization with a website where each item is offered completely for free. It must be a satisfying feeling to help out strangers in need.
- Charity. Charitable organizations are often looking for cardboard boxes in good condition – like most organizations, they have their storage needs as well. So, if you’re still wondering what to do with your used moving boxes after the move, you may wish to contact the largest charities in your new town or city and ask them if they will be willing to pick up your leftover cardboard boxes.
Option 4: RECYCLE your moving boxes
It’s very unlikely that all your moving boxes will survive the house move in great shape – some of them will be rather damaged so they will only be good for one thing – recycling.
Luckily, cardboard is one of the most recyclable materials out there, so you’ve got a number of good options when it comes to recycling moving boxes after the move.
- Movers. Check to see if your moving company offers the extra service of taking the cardboard boxes you won’t need anymore and recycling them properly. If they do, then you won’t have to worry about that aspect of the unpacking task. Keep in mind that if you want your movers to unpack for you, they are expected to get rid of the moving boxes you don’t wish to keep.
- Recycling bins. Just leave the cardboard boxes you don’t need in a recycling bin, provided that there is one for various recyclable materials near the new home. In fact, that’s the quickest way to dispose of your cardboard boxes after moving – the waste disposal services in your area will pick the unwanted cardboard and take it to a designated recycling center for proper recycling.
If you’re not sure how the curbside waste collection works, then ask your neighbors or contact the waste management company in your new town or city. This is important because you wouldn’t want to be fined for improper cardboard recycling – in most cases, you can’t just leave your unwanted boxes out in the street to be picked by people who need them. So, be informed in order to stay out of trouble.
Have your cardboard boxes reached the end of their service life?
Recycling centers. If you really want, you can take all the cardboard boxes you won’t ever need straight to a local recycling center for proper cardboard disposal. That’s a good option when you do have plenty of cardboard to get rid of, and none of the options above has worked for you. Don’t forget that taking your excess moving boxes to a recycling center will cost you time and gas money, so you should definitely keep this solution as your last resort. If possible, get in touch with that recycling place in advance to work out the details.
Here’s a website where you can find a recycling center near your new home: Earth911.
Keep in mind that high-quality cardboard boxes can survive several house moves without sustaining any serious damage in the process. Therefore, you shouldn’t be too quick to throw away perfectly usable cardboard containers. Instead, assess the condition of each empty box while unpacking your stuff and decide what’s the best course of action – whether it can be used one more time, or whether it’s time to recycle it.