Apartment Living BlogApartment Hunting › Cost Effective Alternatives to Moving Boxes

Anyone who’s tried moving from an old apartment to a new apartment without properly packing knows the value of good moving boxes. When you look at what a lifesaver they can be, they’re clearly worth their weight in gold —and when you look at the price most moving companies charge for them, you realize that estimate isn’t far off.

If you want to save money while moving, you don’t have to subject yourself to the damaged items and the tiring grind of moving things haphazardly or by hand. Instead, it’s time to get creative with alternatives that do the same job —better and for far less money.

Here are some top DIY moving boxes that have been tested in the field and proven miraculous:

Banana Boxes

When stores have their produce delivered, they unpack them and typically thrown out the boxes they came in —in droves. Since stores have no use for them, and most managers hate waste, all it will take is a friendly conversation with an employee to get ahold of banana boxes. Though they aren’t more or less special based on the produce they hold, banana boxes are usually in the greatest supply since the produce lasts longer and can be shipped in greater quantity. The boxes are designed to be exceptionally sturdy and are usually quite large, which makes them a great alternative to traditional moving boxes. You might need to lay down some grocery bags or paper to keep your items from smelling like bananas, but free is a very good price.

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Old Shipping Boxes

If you aren’t hoarding your Amazon boxes already, now is a good time. Whether they come from online retailers or friends over the holidays, old shipping boxes come in a variety of sizes and do the same job as professional moving boxes. Plus, hey, you already have them! If you save the packing material they came with, it’s an excellent way to pack up your dishes, glass knickknacks, and other items without worry of them breaking or being difficult to manage in the move. All this at an incredibly compelling price —free.

Grocery Bags

Working as excellent packing material as well as containers for your items themselves, if you don’t want to invest in somewhat pricy moving boxes, collect your grocery bags a few weeks before the move. You can fit knickknacks, office supplies, toys, bathroom items, and random table-top things inside without issue —even double bagging them for greater protection. As a bonus, if you don’t want to invest in packing peanuts or bubble wrap, just twist a few bags up and shove them in between items —it works!

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Garbage Bags

Don’t worry, your clothes won’t feel insulted for long. Garbage bags are designed to stretch against large loads. That makes them perfect for stuffing to the brim with clothing, since you can fit dozens upon dozens shirts and pants without having to fold them or worry about running out of room. Since they’re durable against rips or tears, go ahead and leave the hangers on to save yourself trouble. Then all that’s left is to pull them out and hang them back up —simple and easy. Garbage bags are cheap and come in bulk, so you won’t run out or break the bank. The only downside is your clothes might smell like plastic for a while, but that fades within hours.

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If you have cabinets or desks with drawers that are mostly empty, you can pull the drawers free and use them as packing boxes of their own. They need to be removed for easy transport anyways, and by wrapping them in some plastic or taping a makeshift lid overtop, you can pack them tight with other items to make them doubly useful. It’s a great way to save room in the moving truck and save yourself money.

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Gift Bags

Much like grocery bags but with a special advantage, gift bags you’ve received over the holidays or birthdays are great for more than just re-gifting. They’re often built sturdier than grocery bags and are easy to identify with bright colors, so it’s simple to remember that the flamboyant pink bag belongs to the kitchen, while the blue one goes in the master bedroom. These are especially wonderful for those last minute items you forgot to pack. No need to find a new box or open something up; just toss them in a sturdy bag that doesn’t need any packing material, and be on your way.



Once you’ve moved, stay in the DIY vein by checking out 12 DIY Art Projects To Fill Up Your Empty Walls in your new place.

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About :

Amber is the Social Media & Content Manager for For Rent Media Solutions™ and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber helps execute and optimize a social media strategic plan across multiple channels, as well as manages the company's social media product. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of For Rent Media Solutions brand. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.


  1. marisa lynn says:
    Hi, Amber, Banana Boxes and Grocery Boxes may have insects or fruit insects which may hatch in your clothes.


    Christmas tree bags with handles are a  much more cost effective method for apartment moving and storage.  You can purchase

    five or six at a time from Amazon or eBay.

    You, can also purchase them in colors to color code your move.


  2. If it’s a local move, I use pillowcases to organize within boxes, to carry items, or as padding for fragile things.

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