Hit Up Bookstores For Great Moving Boxes

When you’re moving house, scrounging up enough boxes is one of the first tasks of the day. Lifehacker reader Jess suggests a useful addition to the traditional supermarket and bottle shop rounds: bookstores.

Jess explains why boxes from a bookstore (assuming your local one hasn’t shut) can be a good choice:

I’m moving house this weekend and thought I’d pass on a tip to share with my fellow Lifehacker readers. When packing everything up, the best (free) boxes can be had from book stores. The cardboard is nice and thick to hold the books steady and packed in tight, they’re not too big (too many books are heavy), and not too small, so you can fit a variety of things in without fear of the bottom falling out.

The book stores are just as happy to get rid of the cardboard as supermarkets are, but you have to time it right or call ahead to make sure you get them before they’re crushed!

The point about the bottom of boxes collapsing is well taken. I often use archive boxes to move stuff, and while they’re cheap to acquire from any office supplies store, you really need to add tape to the bottom to ensure they don’t collapse. If you can suggest other good locations for free boxes, tell us in the comments. Thanks Jess!


  • Having spent many years working in books I can confirm they’re awesome for moving and that most booksellers are glad to be rid of them.

    You’ll probably find they’re also all too willing to give away corn packing beads, which are great for transporting delicates.

  • If you have a local/favourite store and are looking for boxes, keep an eye out at the beginning of the month. That’s when most of the forward/planned orders arrive (for us at least) and there’s bounds to be tonnes of boxes. Most team members will keep them neat, if they know someone needs them.

    We always have heaps of boxes left over that we flatten out and recycle every week. Happy to help if someone wants some and are happy to pickup from Sydney CBD. Let me know.

  • McDonald’s restaurants go through at least 30 cardboard boxes a day. Mostly fries boxes which are about 20cm deep but a few quite large boxes too. Usually you’ll find a nice manager who’ll try and have some set aside for you.

  • This is possibly one of the best moving tips I’ve read in a long time! While I’ve known forever that local businesses would gladly surrender up their moving boxes to you, it never occurred to me that bookstores would have the sturdiest boxes available. This will be especially helpful in moving the many heavy items from my home office to my new home office!

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