It seems like my life has required that I move approximately every two years. So, over the course of 8 moves, I’ve learned a few tricks. One of my very favorite tips is using apple boxes instead of buying moving boxes:
Why apple boxes? Well, generally apple boxes are glued together instead of taped so they are incredibly strong- strong enough to fill with nothing but textbooks. They are also incredibly sturdy so fragile items won’t be broken by a smashed box. They have lids, most of them have handles, they are big enough to fit most household items and, most importantly, they are all the same size maximizing how they can be stacked and stored. Only down side? They can’t be flattened (due to the glue that makes them so strong).
But saying apple boxes are awesome is not the same as apple boxes magically appearing when a move is imminent.
So how do you get apple boxes? It’s actually not as hard as one might think but it does take some time and patience. So, when a move is upcoming, take note of your local grocery stores and be prepared to make several trips. I’ve tried this tip in several cities for several of my moves: simply call your grocery store and ask to speak to someone in the produce department. Request that they save apple boxes for you and, of course, be willing to meet their schedule (some employees need to have all boxes smashed before leaving so you may have to show up before their shift ends). I’ve also found big produce stores (such as Wegmans and Whole Foods) ironically are not your best choices. Stores with lots of produce usually have more produce workers so it is harder for them to coordinate an effort to save boxes. On the other hand, standard grocery stores with standard produce departments still sell a lot of apples (apples and bananas are the most purchased fruits) but they usually only have 1-2 produce employees so it is easier for them to accommodate your request.
It’s also amazing just how many boxes you can get from day to day. It was not uncommon for me to get anywhere between 5-12 boxes on a single trip to the grocery store and I made trips almost daily for a few weeks. And when you are finished with your move? Well, I think these boxes make great garage storage boxes, so I definitely kept more than I probably needed to. These boxes can also take a beating without losing their strength or function so why not pass them along to another mover when you are done? We listed ours for free on craigslist, set them out on our curb, and they were gone in a couple of hours.
Apple boxes are pretty much the only aspect of moving that I enjoy.