How to Choose the Best Sized Boxes for Moving

November 25, 2019 / Posted in How-to
Eva Johnson

Digital nomad born in New York but currently living online, Eva knows everything there is to know about packing and moving.

Relocation can be quite complicated, and the packing process itself can be very difficult and take a lot of time. If you know how to choose the best-sized boxes to keep your belongings safe, you will save a lot of time and resources. There are so many different kinds that you may find choosing the right box size rather confusing. Are you packing a fragile piece of glassware or are you moving furniture that you just disassembled? Will your expensive electronics be safe in a box you got for free, or will you need to spend a little extra on a sturdier container?

girl packing up the boxes
Different sizes fit different objects

How to Choose the Best-Sized Boxes for Moving – All the Different Sizes

Containers come in various sizes and many of them have a different purpose. Your choice will depend on what kind of items you want to pack. Maybe you’re preparing glassware which needs extra protection, or perhaps you’re packing books and are worried about the weight of your package as you’re moving on a budget.


Small Containers Are for Heavier Item

These ones are usually 16x10x10 inches in measure and are commonly used for small but heavy belongings. Stacks of books, small kitchen appliances, lamps, and dishes should all be packed into small moving boxes. It may seem to you that the most cost-efficient and the easiest way to pack would be to put them in a larger box. However, remember one of the most important tips: you shouldn’t ever overpack. Not only because of the weight which can add up in the blink of the eye, but for safety reasons as well. Remember that they may be stacked on top of each other when you pack a moving truck or when you place them in storage.

Medium-Sized Containers

A medium-sized box can vary from 18x14x12 inches to 18x18x16 inches and can carry up to 65 to 70 pounds. They can be used for packing kitchen appliances, electronics, larger lamps, as well as stacks of clothing and linens. They are the usual go-to box when it comes to relocating to a new home.

Medium Cartons for All Purposes

They can be used as a one-size-fits-all solution, but do remember that small and large containers also have their purposes and advantages. One of the biggest mistakes is overpacking, which is why small cartons are used for heavier but smaller items, and large cartons are great for lighter belongings which are big and take up a lot of space.

Large Containers

The largest-sized containers can seem like a good solution if you are relocating a home on a budget and want to stuff everything in one place. But this is a very bad idea as the package can get very heavy, and the items inside won’t be as protected as they would be in a smaller box. They are commonly 20x20x15 inches in size, and should ideally be used for large belongings which are light as well. Couch cushions, pillows, large comforters, and blankets should all be packed in large cartons.

Specific Box Categories

Besides being separated based on their size, there are also categories of containers based on their specific purpose. They can be very useful as they are often custom-made to suit the specific needs you may have when handling certain items. Kitchen crates come with separated compartments and inserts of various sizes for your dishes, china, and glasses. Picture boxes come in medium and large sizes and are used for storing standard-sized artwork and mirrors. There are also TV boxes that are large and sturdy and come in multiple pieces so that you can adjust them to fit your needs.

happy girl standing next to a pile of boxes
Some have specific uses, such as a wardrobe box

You Can Use a Mattress Box for Extra Protection

If you have hired professional movers for their moving and packing services, they will probably wrap your mattress before the relocation of your home. But in case you’re using storage services as well, it would be among the best tips to get a mattress container. Whether it’s long-term or short-term storage, you don’t want your mattress to get punctured, damaged or exposed for a long time after packing a storage unit.

Use Wardrobe Boxes to Pack Clothes

These are some of the most popular supplies as they are designed specifically for all types of clothing items. You can choose a hanging wardrobe box, which is shaped like a wardrobe and comes in various sizes. You will be able to hang your clothes inside, but remember that they can be very heavy.

The other type is the laydown wardrobe box – it’s somewhat lighter and shouldn’t be overpacked. You can use it for any clothing you want to fold and pack.

Search Online or Visit Your Local Store for More Options

There are many ways to find cartons, either for free or for an affordable price, which is good news if you’re adamant about saving money when moving. You can search online and find out where to get free boxes. For example, Craigslist is a good place to check out.

You can also check at your local grocery stores, as they get their goods in bulk and probably have some lying around. One of the most common tips is to also check a book store if there are any around you. Books are usually transported in sturdy containers, sometimes in bulk, and many book stores give those containers away if they don’t need them.

person researching on a laptop
Turn to the internet if you need help with your search

Contact Professional Moving Companies

I’ve you hired professional movers for the job, they could also help you out if you’re looking for moving boxes, relocation kits, or materials. Most reliable companies offer comprehensive supply sets at reasonable prices, especially if you opt for packing services. Contact your movers to get more information.

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