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Congratulations! You sold your home and now you’re on to bigger and better things. But before heading out to your new house, you need to pack up and get everything out of your old home. And that requires boxes. Lots of boxes. But determining how many boxes are needed is a formula more difficult than what was on your 9th grade calculus test.

Most people buy their initial boxes from a hardware store or a place like Home Depot, but no matter how many you get, you’ll probably realize it’s not enough. People always underestimate how many boxes they truly need for a move.

But you don’t need to buy every box. There are plenty of places to get what you need cheaply or even for free, as long as you take a little initiative.

Freecycle
This is a community recycling site that allows people to post their wants and keeps items from going in the landfill. It’s also a great place to find boxes. Everyone who moves has boxes and most hold on to them because they simply don’t know how to get rid of them easily. Passing them on to a fellow “mover” is a great way to unload them. This site often has posts from people who have boxes to spare, so take advantage of their kindness and collect what you need.

Craig’s List
Another website known for people selling wares and services, it’s also a great place to find boxes. Some people will simply give away their boxes while others may look to recoup some of what they may have spent on boxes for their move. Even so, it’s a cheaper option and an easy way to get more of what you need.

Book Stores
Every book store gets shipments of books regularly and once they unload all the books, the boxes are usually folded up and discarded in the recycling bin. Take a visit to your local book store and ask the owner if you can have them. Find out the day they unload the books so you can get them off their hands quickly so they’re not taking up space.

Grocery Stores
The amount of boxes that come into a grocery store on a given day is mind blowing. But these boxes are quickly put in a machine in the back that crushes them and makes them useless for a move. That’s why you need to talk with someone at the store about collecting boxes from them. Most will be happy to help, as long as you come at a convenient time and don’t let the boxes take up needed space. You’ll want to stay away from produce boxes or other food items that can leave spills or get boxes wet, such as dairy. Aim for boxes that held cans or cereal boxes, as these are often large and strong.

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