Self Storage for Everyone

Moving home

10 Easy Places You Can Get (Free!) Cardboard Boxes for Moving

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

  1. #1 Supermarkets
  2. #2 Coffee shops
  3. #3 Your local bookstore
  4. #4 Friends and family
  5. #5 Schools and colleges
  6. #6 Print shops
  7. #7 Local Facebook groups
  8. #8 Nextdoor
  9. #9 Recycling centres
  10. #10 Local discount shops
  11. Where to BUY cardboard boxes when time is ticking

Looking for free removal boxes for moving? We’ve written this blog to stretch your budget even further. Moving house is an exciting experience, but the cost can add up, especially considering things like stamp duty and estate agency fees. If you plan to move your belongings yourself or rent some temporary storage, packing boxes will ensure you can transport your items securely. But how can you get them for nothing? Read on to find out. Here’s where to get cardboard boxes for free in the UK.

  1. Supermarkets
  2. Coffee shops
  3. Your local bookstore
  4. Friends and family
  5. Schools and colleges
  6. Print shops
  7. Local Facebook groups
  8. Nextdoor
  9. Recycling centres
  10. Local discount shops
  11. Where to BUY cardboard boxes when time is ticking

#1 Supermarkets

If it’s cardboard boxes you need, Tesco, Asda and Lidl are great places to start. As most supermarkets receive items in bulk, the boxes will be sturdy and large, especially those used to transport heavy items such as alcohol. Just head down before 8am or late at night and speak to a staff member in charge of replenishing stock. They’ll undoubtedly be happy to help since the cardboard boxes would only go in the bin. Wholesalers like Costco are also worth a shot too.

supermarket boxes

#2 Coffee shops

Places like Costa Coffee and Starbucks are often forthcoming, plus it’s a good excuse to get a Chocolate Mocha whilst you’re there. As their stock comes in large boxes, they’ll probably have loads of free removal boxes in the back. Here are some other places you can ask: 

  • Local bars and pubs
  • Restaurants
  • Fast food chains like McDonald’s and KFC
  • Deli’s and sandwich shops

#3 Your local bookstore

Another place to find decent boxes for moving is local book shops, whether independent or well-known retailers like Waterstones. Their boxes are intended to carry a large number of books and so will be strong enough to survive to keep your things safe and sound. Once you’ve managed to wangle some moving boxes for free, you’ll want to pack them just right to ensure nothing gets damaged during the journey. Moving home can be nerve-wracking enough without your cherished possessions breaking – here’s how to pack fragile items in boxes.


#4 Friends and family

Has someone you know recently moved? Go on, give them a call. They just might have a few leftover boxes for moving house. Alternatively, they may suggest someone they know, like a co-worker or friend. Even if you only get one or two, it’s still a result. 

Remember, when you’re done with a box, return the favour. This way, you’ll be helping out and getting rid of any old boxes simultaneously. Many websites allow users to advertise items for free, which we’ll cover shortly, or you could always keep them for storing items like old books.

#5 Schools and colleges

If you have children in school or if there’s one located nearby, you could always speak to their reception about securing free cardboard boxes. With the need for writing materials and books, they won’t be short of a few, and they should be happy for you to repurpose any they have.

magazines cardboard box

Why look for somewhere to buy moving boxes when you can get them for free? Because no one wants to break the bank with packaging. So, if you have a local printers near you, it’s worth speaking to them; print shops get reams of paper delivered in large cardboard boxes. Office buildings are also a must and on a weekly basis, will most likely have several that they need to recycle. Most businesses will gladly let you take any boxes you need if you ask the right person, such as an office manager or receptionist.

#7 Local Facebook groups

If the search term ‘cardboard boxes near me’ isn’t getting you far, Facebook is great for finding second-hand items. Start by joining a few community groups and then post an update. You’d be surprised how many people in your local area might be able to help. Then there’s Facebook Marketplace, which you can use to filter your search. A lot of people actually list packing supplies here for free. If this doesn’t work, you could always try a Facebook status shout-out – you never know who on your friend’s list has spare boxes at home.

giving box

#8 Nextdoor

Ever heard of Nextdoor? It’s a great place to seek out local recommendations. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to eat, a cardboard box or support, the app allows you to tap into your neighbourhood. From here you can post a request or search for packing supplies in a specific locality. This means somebody giving free boxes away could be just down the road. Here are some other places you can check too:

  • Gumtree – a hotspot for cardboard boxes and more; Gumtree is great for finding items free of charge. Remember to check any old boxes for damp, as it might make them too weak. You don’t want your valuables falling out of the bottom.
  • Freegle – an organisation that aims to cut waste, Freegle allows users to give and receive unwanted items. Their motto? Don’t recycle; reuse, and that goes for cardboard boxes as well. There’s only one rule – it must be FREE.
  • Freecycle – another way to find cardboard boxes for free is with Freecycle, another nonprofit organisation that aims to keep items out of landfills. So far, over 5000 towns have signed up, so there’s a good chance you’ll find what you need. But, again, just remember to inspect your boxes before use.

#9 Recycling centres

This is where most cardboard boxes end up when they can no longer be used, and it helps if you find one that accepts the corrugated type. The majority will be flat-pack for storage, but you can return them to their original shape, so keep an eye out for any that look dry, clean and undamaged. Packing Tape will also strengthen their hold to ensure they’re secure. You can’t take any chances when it comes to second-hand boxes. Use with our Packing Tape Gun for a much quicker result. Click here to find a recycling facility near you.

recycling cardboard boxes

#10 Local discount shops

Some other worthwhile places to check include discount retailers like Home Bargains, B&M and Poundland. Stocking an extensive collection of goods, they should have packing boxes galore and, hopefully, will be happy for you to take a few off their hands. Again, you might find them a little battered, but it’s not the end of the world – simply use a bit of Packing Tape to strengthen any boxes you get. It also means they’ll have less to recycle, so it’s a win-win for them – here are some other places that you can ask:

  • Charity shops
  • DIY stores
  • Off-licenses
  • Greengrocers
  • Pharmacies

Where to BUY cardboard boxes when time is ticking

While freebies are great, it’s not the quickest process, especially if you need to get organised now. Our Box Shop has various different-sized options of cardboard boxes that offer value for money, plus Safety Gloves, Transit Blankets and more. We also provide handy Self Storage Units for those bigger items – you can’t put large pieces of furniture in a box. With facilities in Northampton, Tunstall and Leeds, you’re bound to find a self storage centre near you. Check out our Size Estimator or speak to our team on 0800 321 3211.

Self Storage for Everyone