A Guide to Finding Free Cardboard Boxes in the UK

On the hunt for free cardboard boxes? Luckily, they're not so hard to find and you can actually get them for free in the UK!

Ah, moving house - that exciting blend of new beginnings and the chaos of packing. If there's one thing you don't want to stress about - it's finding the perfect boxes.

We're here to give you some good news, we've compiled a list of places where you can get cardboard boxes for free. Because let's be honest moving houses is pretty bloody expensive on its own - you shouldn't have to buy cardboard boxes now too.

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Where Can I Find Free Moving Boxes Near Me?

Local Markets and Produce Shops

Farmers' markets and local produce shops bustle with activity and display a comprehensive range of produce boxes. These eco-friendly boxes are perfect for packing your kitchen essentials. You can consider visiting these markets early in the morning for the freshest packaging boxes.


Spirits aren't the only treasures in an off-licence; Large cardboard boxes often house these bottled delights. Pop by your local liquor store and inquire about available boxes. They're designed to handle precious cargo, and they guarantee that they will deliver your glassware and delicate items to their new home without any damage. Off licences may have more boxes available during weekdays.



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Stationery Shops

Back-to-school season unveils a plethora of sturdy boxes in stationery shops. These boxes, once home to pens and notebooks, are perfect for your move.

Tip: Visit stationery shops during the back-to-school season for a higher chance of finding small medium and large boxes.

Hardware Stores

Hardware stores, the fortress of tools, offer robust boxes that carried heavy-duty equipment. These sturdy containers are ideal for packing items that require extra protection. Head to your local hardware store and secure boxes that can weather the toughest moving challenges. Visit hardware stores early in the day for a better selection of boxes.


Every time I’ve asked a local supermarket near me for packing boxes, they’ve always been more than happy to hand them over to me due to the overabundance in which they’re kept. That being said, I’ve also heard that not all supermarkets give out free boxes.

Your best bet might be going to the local store just after opening hours at around 8 am or calling beforehand. Stores like Tesco even have a store locator to help you find the closest store near you.

Local Recycle Centres

As a child, my family often went to the recycling centre, which always had lots of useful things for moving - including a range of sizes for sustainable packaging. Dive in, save the environment, and score some boxes while you're at it. Remember, one man's trash is another's moving-day triumph!

Tip: Go to recycling centres early in the week for the best boxes, and choose strong ones for delicate items.


Offices are a goldmine for cardboard boxes. Drop by an office or local business and simply ask if they have spare boxes.

Avoid going early or late in the work day to find them at a time when they can't help you.

Friends, Family and Neighbours

When all else fails, turn to the tried-and-true method of knocking on your neighbours' doors or ringing up a friend or family member. They might have recently moved or received deliveries, leaving them with a surplus of boxes. Plus, it's an excellent excuse to meet your neighbours and maybe even share a moving anecdote or two. Who knows, you might even make a new friend in the process!



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Where Can I Find Free Moving Boxes Online?

Online Marketplaces and Community Groups

In the digital age, your next move could be just a click away. Check out local community groups on social media platforms or online marketplaces. Many folks are happy to pass on their boxes after a move.

I once found a trove of boxes from a friendly neighbour on a community group. Interacting with the online community not only helped me find moving boxes but also connect with some lovely people.


The clue is in the name – everything on Freecycle is completely free (including boxes). Join a local Freecycle group online and ask for free moving boxes. Wait to see if anyone responds. If somebody has any they’re willing to give away to you, you can then arrange a collection.

You can also put out a wanted ad or scroll through offers to see if anyone nearby has free boxes they’re looking to give away that make for the perfect packaging solutions.

The site may have the appearance of a 1990s creation, but we're seeking free boxes, not award-winning designs. And the community on the site is fantastic.



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Nextdoor is a treasure trove for moving essentials. Look up the "For Sale & Free" Or "Classifieds" section to find posts from neighbours looking to give away their cardboard boxes. People often share items for free and moving boxes are no exception.


Believe it or not, you can find free stuff on Gumtree, including cardboard boxes and bubble wrap to safely store your things. Search for free boxes in your local area and you just might find someone happy to give some away to you. Remember to clarify a few important things before collection though, such as damage and wet spots – you definitely don’t want cardboard packaging that end up being useless!

What Should I Do After Using My Boxes?

Once you've successfully completed your move, there are several thoughtful and eco-friendly options for your cardboard boxes. Consider recycling them by taking them to your local recycling facility. This ensures that we repurpose the materials for future use in a sustainable manner.

Additionally, consider repurposing the boxes for crafting projects. Whether it's creating DIY home decor, kids' play structures, or even personalised gift boxes, the possibilities are endless. Involve the whole family in a fun post-move crafting session to breathe new life into those boxes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Finding and Using Cardboard Boxes for Moving:

Q1: Where can I find free cardboard boxes in the UK for moving?

A: There are various sources in the UK, including recycling centres, local shops, supermarkets, and online community groups. Explore options like high street shops, electronics stores, and offices for a diverse range of boxes.

Q2: What box sizes are suitable for different items?

A: For heavy items like books, choose small boxes. For kitchen stuff, use medium boxes. And for light items like bedding and clothes, opt for spacious boxes. Electronics and fragile items may benefit from specialised boxes or extra padding.

Q3: How durable are free cardboard boxes for moving?

A: While free boxes are budget-friendly, their durability varies. Boxes from electronics stores and supermarkets tend to be sturdy, but it's crucial to check for wear and tear. Reinforce boxes with tape if needed, especially for heavier items. Check out our blog on how to reinforce and strengthen your cardboard boxes here.

Q4: Are there optimal times to visit places for free boxes?

Yes, visit recycling centres, supermarkets, and shops early in the week for the best choices. For office supply stores, weekdays towards the end of the week might yield more boxes.

Q5: What do I do with the boxes after moving?

A: After moving, consider recycling the boxes to contribute to environmental sustainability. Alternatively, get creative and repurpose them for storage, and crafting, or even donate them to someone else in need.

Q6: Should I store all my things in cardboard boxes?

A: While it may be convenient to store most of your items in a cardboard box, it really depends on where you’re putting your packing boxes full of things. If it’s going to be stored in a garage, it might get damp and even pick up mould. I suggest using a plastic box instead if it’s going into a damp location.

Q7: Any additional tips for a smoother moving experience?

A: Label your boxes with their contents and destination room to streamline unpacking. Utilise free boxes strategically, placing heavier items at the bottom and fragile items on top. Connect with local online groups for advice on where to get free moving boxes in your area.

Getting cardboard moving or storage boxes for free is super easy. All the places above will no doubt be pleased that you’ll be taking boxes from them. It means that boxes are not only reused but also lower the company's or building's disposal costs too!

Once you get your boxes, find a storage space easily from one of our dedicated, local Hosts – perfect for when you’re moving house or simply need more space for all your stuff.


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Choose from thousands of local storage spaces

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Updated 26th Feb 2024

Written 18th May 2022