When you’re moving, you likely buy three things to help with packing: tape, packing paper, and moving boxes. Each move, no matter how large, seems to inexplicably need dozens of moving boxes. They’re overpriced, bulky, unreliable, and require so much work even just to put together and take apart. That’s not to mention the fact that moving boxes are terrible for the environment, or that you might need to pay extra on your garbage bill just to get them taken away. Thankfully, we’re living in the 21st Century, and even though you might not have heard of them yet, we’re living in an age full of moving box alternatives.
There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to moving box alternatives. There are reusable boxes that you buy, services that bring boxes to you, and even services that will bring you boxes, and bring your boxes to storage.
Moving Box Rental Services
If you live near a major city, you likely can rent sturdy, plastic moving boxes from a number of companies that will even bring the boxes to you and take them back when they’re done. There are plenty of companies to choose from, so here are a few of our favorites:
HiveBoxx (Seattle area)
HiveBoxx prides itself on being the cost-effective alternative to traditional moving boxes. With a focus on reducing waste in landfills, HiveBoxx offers boxes based on how much you’re moving: a dorm room or studio apartment starts at $99, whereas a 5-bedroom home starts at $350. The downside? They’re only available within 30 miles Seattle right now.
Frogbox (Seattle, Boise, and Canada areas)
Even when you rent moving boxes, all the additional gear involved – like packing paper, sofa covers, and more – end up leaving quite a footprint behind in your local landfill. Frogbox seeks to be the true solution to the eco-unfriendliness of moving: not only do they offer moving box rental services, they’ll also provide everything from biodegradable mattress covers to recycled bubble wrap. You can also rent moving tools, like dollies and zip ties, with your Froboxes, making them a one-stop shop for all your eco-friendly moving materials. You can rent Frogboxes in the Seattle and Boise areas, as well as most major Canadian cities.
In addition to offering you rental trucks and traditional moving supplies, U-Haul now offers reusable moving boxes for rent in most major cities. Like Frogox and HiveBoxx, they’ll deliver and pick up the boxes from your home at an appointed time. Just remember to book early to get your hands on these – only certain U-Haul locations offer them, so inventory is limited.
Rent A Green Box (Greater Los Angeles area)
Rent a Green Box offers reusable moving boxes for environmentalists, by environmentalists. They’re serious about their mission to be the most eco-friendly moving experience ever, so much so that the head of their company is labeled the “Chief Tree Hugger.” But what really makes them stand apart is that, unlike their competitors, Rent a Green Box offers three sizes of boxes, giving you more rom to flex your money and moving logistics.
Redi-Box (Chicago & Portland)
One of the first companies to offer rentable moving boxes, Redi-Box is the industry expert. With solid, easy-to-use boxes and thousands of five-star customer reviews, Redi-Box knows how to make your move easy. And to make your move even easier, they can also drop off wardrobe boxes, bubble wrap, mattress covers, and other packing supplies along with your Redi-Boxes for a nominal cost.
Moving & Storage Services
Moving boxes don’t hold up over time – and if you’re putting your items in storage, that can be a problem. Between paying for reusable boxes of your own, going back and forth between your storage unit, and figuring out how you’re going to get in when they’re only open during the hours you’re at work, self-storage can transform from a helpful solution to another big problem.
But some companies are offering the chance to eliminate all of that. From the boxes themselves down to putting your items in storage and bringing them home, these companies make self-storage – and keeping your items safe while in storage – easy.
MakeSpace (NYC, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles)
If you’re storing boxes, plus some extras, MakeSpace is the right choice for you. MakeSpace lets you choose how much space you need, from space that can fit a closet’s worth of stuff to a room that’ll fit everything in your 2-bedroom apartment. Then, request as many boxes as you need – they’re free! – and MakeSpace will bring them to you. On top of all that, they’ll pick up more items to bring to storage and bring individual items back to you anytime you need it.
RedBin (NYC area)
If what you need to store can only be described as “stuff,” RedBin might be the right choice for you. They charge you a flat fee per box – $5 each – and will bring their sturdy boxes to you. They’ll take the boxes for as long as you like, and bring them back when you need them, plus they help keep you organized with an easy mobile app.
Box Butler (NYC area)
Box Butler is exactly what it sounds like: a butler for your storage boxes. They bring you boxes when you need them, you pack them, and they bring them back to your storage unit. Choose from a large closet sized-space, a studio-sized space, or a one bedroom-sized space to rent. They’ll take your furniture, too, and bring it back to you when you need to get it back. Easy on you and the boxes!
Buy Your Own Reusable Moving & Storage Bins
If you’ve got a few moves ahead, or perhaps just want to find the right moving boxes yourself, buying your own reusable moving boxes is also an option. While this can be expensive upfront, it’s a great way to know your items are protected, plus you can resell boxes when you’re done with them on local buy and sell groups.
Here are some options for plastic moving boxes you can buy:
- IRIS Weathertight Storage boxes: at 4 for $150, these are pricey, but worth it if you’re worried about weather or planning to store your items.
- Sterilite Latch Boxes: a tried and true classic, these bins are perfect for storing everything from shoes to toys to your kitchen utensils. Even after your move, you’ll constantly find reuses for these, whether its organizing your closet or storing your extra clothes.
- Rubbermaid Commercial BRUTE storage bins: $22 each may seem steep, but these bins will probably survive the apocalypse and then some. Plus, their tough handles make it easy for you to carry them to your new place.
Most quality reusable bins will do the trick, so you just need to decide if your priority is quality, price, or durability.
Whether you’ve decided to buy boxes or rent them, Dolly is here to help you move them. We can bring you a truck and some muscle to load up your bins and move them across town, or book a labor only Dolly for help loading or unloading a moving truck. No matter what kind of boxes you have, we’re here to help make your move a breeze.
Header image captured by Erich Ferndinand.
Miranda is the Marketing Coordinator at Dolly. She’s moved nine times in the past six years, and while she’s grateful for the moving expertise, she’s hoping she doesn’t need to move a tenth time anytime soon.