Six Tips for Getting Packing Supplies on the Cheap

Moving into a new house or apartment is incredibly exciting, but it can also be a pretty expensive proposition. After all, you’ll probably need to buy paint, get some new window treatments, plant some flowers, buy new towels and a shower curtain, and maybe even buy some furniture to fill your place out and make it your own. Fortunately, when it comes to buying packing supplies – that’s one place where you can save, and save big, if you just know where to look, how to pack and who to talk to.

If you’re planning a move soon, be sure to try a few of these tips and save where you can – so you can splurge on more of what you want.

  • Don’t pay for boxes. Instead, hit your local grocery stores or liquor stores and ask them (politely) for boxes. Banana, apple and liquor boxes are particularly sturdy, but most of the boxes these shops have will be great for moving. And – if you work in an office, try to snag any empty copy paper boxes. Those are nice and sturdy, too.
  • Rethink your “stuff”. Paring down is always good advice, but that’s not what this tip entails. Instead, consider the things you’re moving and use them as packing supplies. For instance, a hamper can be used for moving odd-shaped items, towels and pillows can be used as protective materials in boxes, and dresser drawers can (sometimes) be moved with their contents still intact.
  • Use less tape. Unless you really need to reinforce your boxes, don’t tape them at all. Just fold the tops shut or, in the case of apple or banana boxes, just put their tops on and call it done. If you must use tape, discount and dollar stores often have what you need for less – so be savvy about your tape purchases and usage.
  • Reuse your magazines and newspapers. Instead of buying paper to help protect your breakables, you can use pages from old magazines or newspapers. If you do that though, be warned: newsprint may leave marks on your stuff, so choose what you wrap your things with carefully.
  • Ask your friends for a hand – or at least their keys. If you don’t have a truck and don’t want to hire movers, then you’ll either need to rent a moving truck or use the resources you have and borrow a truck from a friend. If you choose the latter, just be sure to fill the tank up and clean the truck (at least a little) before giving it back to your buddy.
  • Opt for other blankets. If you don’t already have moving blankets, you’ll either need to invest in some (which are sometimes sized right and stylish enough to be used as bedding later), or you can head to a thrift store and snap up some quilts for pennies on the dollar. If you won’t use them after your move, you can donate them to an area shelter – and feel good about giving them the heave-ho.

If you’re making a move across the country or across the state, and you need to hire a moving company, do yourself a favor and look for discounts in unexpected places. Some credit unions, employers and even membership organizations, like AAA, have relationships with movers that can help you save money. So run a search, check with your customer service representatives or just call the moving company in question and ask them point-blank. They’ll give you the skinny on the discounts available – and can help you save plenty.


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