Where to get Cheap Moving Boxes in Chicagoland

cheap moving boxes in Chicagoland

Now that it’s moving time, you are asking “
where to get cheap moving boxes in Chicagoland?” Am I right? Sure I am. Because when it comes time to pack up your stuff, it can be tricky to find just what exactly you must pack your stuff with.

Hence, an article entirely devoted to moving boxes. So let’s clear it up once and for all…

So Tell Me Already, “Where to Get Cheap Moving Boxes in Chicagoland?”

How exactly are you going to pack up your clothes, records, books, dishes, and trinkets? In a box of course. And I bet you have tons of stuff to pack up and tote out of your “just-sold” house. While the average cost to move hovers around $2,000, you can do it for a bit less by answering the question, “where to get cheap moving boxes in Chicagoland?”

No doubt your move is gonna need lots and lots of the brown cardboard variety. If you are vacating a 2-bedroom apartment, the boxes could cost several hundred dollars just on their own. If your home is a more standard-sized home, let’s say a 4-bedroom 3 bath home, then the price of your boxes just jumped to over $400 bucks. 

Crazy, huh? 

While those cardboard moving boxes may seem inexpensive on their own, when you buy what is required the price adds up, making a big dent in your moving budget. Because home sellers are on a strict timeline when moving out of their home, they don’t have much time to haggle over cardboard boxes. And anyway, who wants to haggle over the boxes when the seller and buyers may be recovering from tough sales negotiations.

But there’s a better way.

No reason to buy your cardboard boxes, you can go on a hunt. And this chase doesn’t take nearly as long as you would think. In just a day or two, you can literally be swimming in boxes - if that’s your thing!

Your Plan of Attack: Morning

When you’re on the hunt for where to get cheap moving boxes in Chicagoland, your day must start early. On the morning of, plan to visit the web for cheap boxes - heck, even free boxes - that are there for the early birds’ taking.

Before you even think about embarking on this venture, understand how many boxes you’re going to need for your move. For a medium house (3 bedrooms), you may need 25-30 medium-sized boxes, 15-25 large boxes, and 20 extra-large boxes. 

That’s a lot of boxes!

Now that you have an estimate on the number of boxes you need, it’s time to go on the hunt. Don’t worry if you end up acquiring more boxes than you need. You can also list the surplus boxes online and pay it forward to the next guy that is about to embark on a move.

Here are a few fantastic resources to look for your AM box hunt:


Visit the “free” section for free boxes. If you don’t have any luck there, go to the “For Sale” section. You can even post a query in the “wanted” section asking for free moving boxes. Who knows, you just might get lucky! 

The tail-end of the weekends are likely the best time to score boxes, as this is the time when people have wrapped up their move and ready to rid themselves of boxes. Heck, they probably never want to see another box again at that point. Am I right?


At your local U-Haul, take a gander of their drop-off location. Every U-Haul store has one. It’s here that people will dump their moving boxes, and you can have them for free. 

Offer Up and letgo Apps

There are a ton of apps you can leverage to source reusable cardboard boxes for your move. Simply list your zip code in the app and search for “free stuff.” Some apps even let you search for “boxes” in the search box. If boxes are available, then they’re likely posted here. 

Facebook Marketplace

We love the Facebook marketplace, it has everything you could ever need. Including cardboard boxes galore!

Simply search for your local Marketplace and connect with anyone who has extra boxes by searching for “cardboard boxes.” If you don’t want to pay a dime, mark the “Only show free listings” box to filter the results. If nothing comes up, you can unmark that search and see if cheap cardboard boxes are available in your area. 


This is a private social network where neighbors can connect. Create a post in the “General” newsfeed and specify what kind of box and how many you need. Who knows, your boxes may be located at a friendly neighbor’s house down the street. Imagine, this is access to boxes that are practically served to you on a silver platter.

Reach out to Friends and Family

You may even have a pack-rat friend or family member who carefully stores their cardboard boxes for future use. It doesn’t hurt to ask around, especially those who have moved recently. If they do have boxes, you may even be doing them a favor by taking the boxes so they can clear out that closet or garage space. 

Make the Box Rounds in the Afternoon

With all your internetting out of the way in the morning, you can now get active by making the rounds in your city to greet your boxes in person. There is a myriad of places you can find boxes, and all you have to do is ask. 

Where to get cheap moving boxes in Chicagoland?”

In your city, you’ll have the best luck sourcing your boxes at the following stores:

Liquor Stores: Boxes are necessary to ship bottles. Who better to ask than your local liquor stores. If you ask to speak with the manager and explain you would like some boxes, they’ll likely go out of their way to help you. 

Bookstores: Like jugs of vodka, books are another heavy item that requires a durable box to ship them in. Canvass your local bookstores and ask for their boxes. You may even find some interesting books to add to your library in your new home, yay! 

Target: Target stores move massive products. Hence, they’re a great source for cardboard boxes. Yep, it’s basically a goldmine. Call ahead to find out when they receive their largest shipments for the week. Generally, it’s midweek but call ahead just to be sure. And then head over there on the said day mid-afternoon. You can ask to speak with a manager. If they don’t have boxes to give you at that moment, they can put you on a box waiting list and call when the boxes, I mean “shipment” arrives. Yep, that’s a thing!

  • Starbucks stores generally get a huge shipment one day per week; this tends to be on a Friday. You’re not doing anything Friday, right? You’re moving. So get yourself over to Starbucks and tell them you need boxes. You probably need coffee too, you’re working so very hard. 
  • Recycling Centers: Many recycling centers have a designated area for the drop off of lightly used boxes. Scout your local recycling centers and get yourself some free boxes. The planet will thank you. 
  • Local Wineries: Liquor, books, wine… are you seeing a pattern here? Wineries have tons of the good stuff - boxes too - so visit your local winery and ask if they have any boxes. Often these come with dividers, making it a great box for breakables, such as glassware.
  • Grocery Stores: Trader Joes has a stack of boxes right at the front. You can give them a smile and those boxes are there for the taking. Visit other grocery stores and ask for the manager, they’ll run to the back and return with produce boxes galore. 

When the Sun Goes Down… Assess What You Need

It’s time to return home now and swim in your new cardboard heaven. You should be swimming in upwards of 50+ boxes, depending on your original ballpark figure. If you find you’re coming up short, don’t worry. At this point, you can rest assured that you have a knack for acquiring boxes. It’s in your blood… or maybe you just want to revisit that winery? Yeah… the pinot was pretty good…

Where to get cheap moving boxes in Chicagoland?” Now you know. I hope you see how paying for boxes is unnecessary, presuming you’ve given yourself a week or so to prepare for the box hunt. If you are pressed for time, you can likely score a good deal on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for cheap boxes. Otherwise, make those calls to local businesses and plan your day around amassing your cardboard box collection. 

Sure, it may take just a little bit of time… but it’s so much more rewarding than paying several hundred dollars for boxes you’ll likely just toss in the dumpster when it’s all said and done. You can use that extra money to buy a nice housewarming gift… or a book… or wine… or a shopping spree at Target. Whatever floats your boat!

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