By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
No matter how many boxes you beg, borrow, find, order, or scrounge for your big move, it never seems like enough. Yet by the time you unpack everything and make your new place look and feel like home, you have far too many boxes on your hands (and your floors and on your driveway) to deal with.
Saving the planet by keeping those boxes out of the landfill is a good idea for everyone. But beyond good intentions, what practical and positive uses do your cardboard moving boxes contain? As a professional moving company, we see a lot of boxes every year and have a few suggestions on what you can do with yours after your move has concluded.
You've arrived, now say goodbye: eight better uses for your moving boxes
Many large towns and cities offer recycling programs, where cardboard and other recyclable materials are picked up curbside once a week. Some smaller towns have a recycling center, where residents bring the materials to be broken down, processed and transformed for other uses. Check with your new location's city hall for their recycling program, pick up dates, and rules on box preparation (most programs request that boxes are flattened, and any metal clips and wires removed) and what materials can and cannot be disposed. Or, some moving companies offer box recycling, so check with your professional residential mover, as well.
Nest, stack, and store
If your job means you move a lot, you might consider keeping at least a few of the boxes for your next move. Buying boxes over and over isn't as cost-effective as saving them. If you send holiday gifts to faraway friends and relatives, the sturdy moving box is perfect for shipping your presents safely.
Sell or give them away
If you've got a friend who's moving, offer a few boxes. It may save you from getting that call that starts out, "Hey, we're moving, and we need some help moving the living room furniture. Could you possibly..." Since you've provided the receptacles; your work here is already done. No friends heading out of town? Many nonprofits are continuously in need of boxes for their incoming and outgoing donations and storage.
Make a trade, meet new people
Someone in your new town is moving somewhere, and they need boxes. You've just moved in, and there's at least a dozen things you realize you need. Post on the area's local Freecycle website, or Facebook Buy/Sell groups. Do the deal safely: meet responsibly in a public place when exchanging items and/or money, and everyone goes home happy.
Cover up while you work around the new house
If you plan to paint, put up wallpaper, drill holes, sandpaper a ceiling, remove molding, hang a light fixture or perform any kind of messy work in your new abode, cut up moving boxes work wonders for covering your floors, furniture and other surfaces you want to stay clean.
Keep a box or two for the kids
Kids' imaginations are limitless when it comes to boxes. They may love their smartphones, video games, and computers, but most haven't lost the innocent satisfaction found in building box forts, race cars, spaceships, and other "super" structures from cardboard. Hand over some markers and scissors along with the boxes, and it's amazing how much fun a few boxes still offer.
Boxes make good pet beds
For cats and dogs, you need to line the box with non-toxic bedding and cover the edges of the box, so the pet won't chew on the cardboard. It's a simple, safe pet bed that still carries the scent of your old home while introducing Fido or Fluffy to your new home.
Good gardening with cardboard
Because cardboard makes good compost, it's the ideal material to start the garden you've always wanted. Mixed with water and other compostable materials, such as dead leaves, hay, straw, fruit and vegetable peelings, and grass clippings, it provides nutrients for your plantings while holding moisture in the soil. And if the green thumb you have is caused by something other than a love of working outdoors, you can always donate your cardboard boxes to the local garden shop or composting center.
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