The Moving Box Search   3 comments

This morning I made my second early morning mall run. No, I wasn’t joining the mall walkers (they were out in force), I was dumpster diving for boxes.

The thought of paying for moving boxes pains me. I’ve never had to do it and it is so “easy” to get free boxes. Even more so than the monetary cost of new boxes, I am not comfortable with the environmental cost of new boxes. Even though cardboard boxes for shipping have one of the best recycling track records (manufacturers and retailers like to keep their costs down, after all), there is still way more energy used in the transport and recycling of old cardboard boxes than the reuse of those boxes before they get recycled. Plus new cardboard boxes are not generally 100% recycled; they do contain some virgin fibers.

In the past, I’ve gotten cardboard boxes by going to stores like Wal-Mart or Target at night when they are restocking the shelves. You can literally troll the store collecting the empty boxes. I’ve even staked out a particular box until an employee came to unload the stuff inside. The problem with this method is that you have to drive around late at night hauling piles of cardboard boxes. When working full time, spending an hour or so every day cleaning the new house, taking care of regular chores, and taking care of the other moving stuff (utilities, new appliances, etc.) there’s really no time or energy left for box collection. I really should have started box collection at least a month ago, but I couldn’t psych myself up.

Instead, I planned on using to find someone locally with free boxes that I could take. Well, that website is now defunct. Craigslist didn’t have any used cardboard box listings, and I’m not a member of Freecycle. So my Plan B was to buy boxes from (at least that way I could avoid using new boxes, which is really more important to me than the cost). Then I went to the website and saw the cost. They are definitely competing with U-Haul and other places that sell crazy expensive boxes. There is just no way I am going to pay over $2/box! Not when I can get them for free!

So I called Target to make sure that I could pick up boxes and I was told they prefer people to come first thing in the morning rather than at night after the store has closed. Fishy, but I did that, and luckily I found a very nice employee who didn’t take no from her supervisor and went into the back to load a cart full of boxes for me. Half of them were not particularly helpful sizes, though. I also followed a suggestion that I had found on the internet: I drove across the street to the mall and searched for the recycling dumpsters. Gold mine! I was able to pack my car to the gills with clean used boxes. Of course, I wasn’t able to get as many as we will need, hence mall dumpster run number two this morning. I don’t have time to do it again, so if we still need more boxes at the last minute we’ll have to buy them from Home Depot where they are under $1/box. Yes, even I cave at the last minute.


Posted August 5, 2010 by mayakey in conscious living, home, resource use, shopping

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3 responses to “The Moving Box Search

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  1. Stop! Don’t pay for them! I have a bunch of boxes from the shop that I’ll bring tomorrow night.

  2. I know what you are going through. I got my first batch from Wall-Mart as soon as I started looking for a house but then stopped. Since it’s taking so long to find one, I’ll wait until I bid on on a house before I start again.

  3. If you don’t find enough free cardboard boxes, call me 323 724 2500, ask for Enigma. I’ll talk to the owner to see if I can get you a discount on the rest of your boxes if you order from us, ok ?:) Alternatively, another free place you could try for boxes is your local liquor stores and hospitals.

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