Congratulations on your new home! Now that you’re moving, you have a million and one things to think about and prepare for. Like renting a moving van. Or stopping your utility services and restarting them at your new place. Or hiring professional movers versus inviting all of your friends and neighbors over for free pizza and manual labor.

When you’re getting ready for a move, finding free moving boxes is probably not at the top of your list of things to do. so you might be surprised to know that the list of places where you can find free moving boxes is actually quite extensive.

  • Grocery stores like Walmart, Target, Costco, Winco
  • Pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid
  • Shops like Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Petsmart
  • Liquor Stores
  • Recycling Centers
  • Donation Centers
  • Online Communities like Facebook
  • Classifieds like KSL and Craigslist
  • UHaul’s “Take A Box Leave A Box” program

The list goes on. But instead of just walking into one of these places and hoping for some available free moving boxes, it helps to be prepared. Call ahead to see when these places will get new shipments. Then you can show up and save a few grateful employees the trouble of breaking down all those boxes.

So now you’ve got a truck-full of boxes waiting to be filled. What’s next? Here are a few tips for making your move a little faster and a little easier.

1. Start early

It doesn’t matter how often you’ve moved, it always takes longer than you remember. Two or three weeks before moving day, grab those free moving boxes you collected and start packing up the things you use the least. These could be things like books, fine china, or the workout videos buried in the darkest corner of your closet…

2. Set a designated moving area

It helps to have a designated area where you do all of your boxing, bubble-wrapping, and taping. This way the moving process doesn’t take over your entire house, and you’re not always wondering what happened to the scissors.

3. Pack strategically

Take a look at the free moving boxes you’ve collected. Your heavier items should go in smaller boxes, while lighter items should go into the bigger boxes. Also, don’t waste time by emptying out dresser drawers. Keep all those items inside the drawers. You can use Saran wrap to keep the drawers securely closed during the move.

4. Trash bags are your friends

Free moving boxes are great because they stack so nicely. Trash bags are great because they’re squishy. Use them for softer things like stuffed animals, clothes, bedding, etc. Bags can be stuffed into awkward empty spaces in your moving truck and help cushion more delicate items like furniture and lamps.

5. Use extra padding

Speaking of soft things. Don’t just pack a box or bag full of towels. Use those towels to pad boxes with fragile items like dishes, glassware or home decor.

6. Label everywhere

On at least two opposing sides of your free moving boxes, write what’s inside and which room it belongs in. You could also make note of fragile items so you or your movers know to take special care.

7. Keep clothes on their hangers

Don’t waste time pulling all of your clothes off their hangers, folding them and packing them into boxes or bags. Keep them on their hangers and stack them flat in the back seat of your car, then hang them back up at your new place.

8. Be ready

Movers charge by the hour; truck rentals by the day. Have everything packed and ready to go on time. Disassemble furniture as need – remember to put all the little pieces of hardware in a baggy and tape it to the furniture it belongs to so they don’t get lost. Roll up area rugs. Pack as much as you can into your garage so the movers can get in and out quick and easy.

Moving isn’t much fun for anyone. Gather up your free moving boxes in advance and follow these simple steps for a faster, easier move. Good luck and enjoy your new place!