8 ways to use empty cardboard boxes after your move (that kids will love!)

After you are moved into your new home and unpacked, you will to find yourself with an abundance of cardboard boxes! Before you break them down and leave them out for recycling, here are some fun ways to keep the kids happy when you continue to unpack (and a few for you too).

1. Mini house competition

Channel the inner creativity, set out two boxes with some materials such as markers, clip ons, and rubber bands – the most creative designer wins! For more decorating tips, check out our blog on building a box fort!


2. Design your own treasure chest

Decorate the outside and let the kids put their own personal treasures inside.

3. Halloween costumes

Everybody knows most creative wins the best costume competition. Robots and gumball machines, oh my!

4. Puppet Stage

Decorate boxes to use as a back drop, add a blanket or curtains, and put on a show!

5. Puzzle making

Paint a nice picture on the box then cut the pieces up for the kids to put together

6. Attic organizational system

Once everything is put away use the boxes, labeled, as an alternative storage system in the attic, basement, garage, or closets. If you start the organization right away it will avoid problems down the line when you can’t find the Christmas table cloth.


7. Homemade Stationary

Cut up cardboard boxes to make your own post cards. Use ink stamps to decorate and write a message. No envelope needed!


8. A Natural Embellishment

Dress up a cardboard box with a design of your choice, line it with a plastic bag, poke several draining holes, and you have a new home for a small plant!

Still have leftover boxes? Check out our blog on recycling or repurposing boxes.

How to Label Moving Boxes

During a move, the easiest way to keep track of your things is by labeling boxes. Olympia Moving & Storage has some tips on the most efficient ways to label.

Moving can be an exciting time. You’ve found a new home, a place to make new memories. Then comes the draining part: packing and labeling all of your boxes. Whether you purchased boxes online or from a moving company, your boxes will need some type of labeling system for transport between residences. How are you going to tell which box has your first night supplies and which box has your high school yearbooks? We have some tips for labeling your boxes so you can find your belongings easily during the move process.

To begin, you will need a pack of at least five permanent markers, preferably in different colors; clear and colored tape; and labels. The markers should be permanent and waterproof, if you can find them. Weather is unpredictable, and you don’t want your label to become illegible due to rain or normal wear and tear.  

You will want labels on at least two adjacent sides of the box, and one on top. It’s going to be easier to unpack or store boxes if you can see what is in it from at least one angle.

Use the same color for all boxes going to the same room, such as red for kitchen or brown for living room. Write the main things on each label, such as books, power cords or place settings. If you have colored tape to correspond with the markers, use the tape as an additional way to easily identify the box’s room by taping the corners of your box. Use clear tape over the labels to add another means of security to the marker. The clear tape will prevent water from getting on the label and block rips and tears. A great resource is to download Olympia’s free printable moving box labels which are color-coded and labeled by room and include an area to write a short inventory.

If you are packing a box of fragile items, make sure it is labeled “FRAGILE” on each side in marker or a fragile label sticker, with THIS END UP written near the top of the box.

You should also make sure to pack and label a First Night box filled with the essentials you will need right away.  Read our blog post for a checklist of items to put in this box.

Another great tip is to use a numbering system to easily find items and identify that all your boxes have been delivered safely.  Write a large number on your boxes or packing labels, then create a chart with each box number, the room it belongs in, and a brief description of its contents.  

Finally, make delivery smoother for your movers by taping a label next to bedroom doors and other rooms that might be easily confused.  You may know which bedroom is little Sally’s and which room is the library vs. the family room, but the movers won’t. Use the same colored marker, tape, or label on the sign as on the box to make it easily identifiable as well.

If you need help packing and labeling your belongings, Olympia Moving & Storage offers several packing plans from full or partial home to fragile items. You may reach Olympia at 800-222-4744 or request an estimate online.

The First Steps to Organize a Pack to Move

When you start to pack your home it can be overwhelming. It is hard to know where to start. To minimize the chance of losing something the best thing to do is take a step back and plan. The key to success for the steps leading up to move in day is organization. Here are some tips on how to execute a smooth pack from the start.

1. Walk around the house with a pad of paper and pen and make a plan on what rooms you’re going to pack first. The office full of stuff you haven’t touched in a few months could be first, and maybe the kid’s room one of the last. Prior to packing it is essential to have a solid plan.

2. Acquire packing materials before you dive in to packing. Olympia has excellent packing materials available for purchase & delivery. Click here to order.

3. Learn how to pack using Olympia’s “How to Pack” video series. In these videos Olympia’s training manager, John, demonstrates how to pack even the most fragile items to arrive at your new home safely and in one piece. Click here to view them now.

4. Pack one room at a time. While this sounds like an obvious solution, it is crucial for when you move in to your new house. You will have boxes labeled by room and you’ll be able to find things quickly. If you’re really feeling organized keep a running list of what is going inside the boxes and place it on top. Utilize Olympia’s free printable box labels to help keep organized.

5. Pack the most important items separately: When you’re in the process of packing it is hard to gage what you will and will not need. To be safe, make a separate box of all of these things and label it “IMPORTANT” for now put everything you might need in there, from laptop cords, TV cords, remotes, headphones, and passports. If you may need it, put it in there for now. Learn more about packing what you need right away in our blog about the “First Night Box.”

If you don’t want to pack at all, no worries! Ask about a quote for Olympia’s full-packing services by calling 800-222-4744 or request a quote online.

How to Recycle or Repurpose Your Moving Boxes

After moving and settling into your new home, there are always going to be those empty cardboard boxes left over. Olympia Moving & Storage has some ideas for how you can reuse or recycle these used boxes.

So you’ve finally moved and began the process of unpacking your life in your new home. Soon everything is going to have its place in your new space, but what to do with the moving boxes you painstakingly collected for weeks or even months? Inexpensive boxes can be hard to come by, but you probably won’t want to keep them after your move. The most eco-friendly way to dispose of your boxes is to reuse or recycle them.

Give boxes to a friend. Do you have a friend or relative that’s close and moving soon? Save them time and money and gift any boxes that are up to another move. The boxes will be out of your home and you’ll save your friend the hassle of finding their own boxes.

Use boxes for storage. You’ll still need storage in your new home. You can continue to use moving boxes as storage in closets and basements, or even on shelves or in corners with some redecorating. You can use fabric or colored paper to make the boxes more aesthetically pleasing.  Yes – really!  Check out this DIY.

Sell boxes. If you want to try to profit off your materials, you can try selling moving boxes and other packing materials on a variety of websites. Just keep in mind that this could be more of a headache than it’s worth: demand could be low, and people may be unwilling to pay even a small amount of money for used boxes. Some good sites for selling used boxes include:

Recycle your packing materials. Any boxes that have been damaged in the moving process will ultimately need to be recycled. If you visit your town’s website, there should be a link about how your town handles recycling, and what can and cannot be recycled. You will need to break down the boxes before recycling them, in order to make them easier to transport. Oftentimes, they can be left in your regular recycling bin on pickup days. If you live in an apartment complex, you may have a specific cardboard recycling bin. You should contact your local recycling service to be sure of the specific requirements for your area.

Schedule a debris pickup.  If all else fails, an easy solution is to schedule a debris pickup with your moving company.  Many moving companies will come by your home to pick up the used boxes for recycling for a small fee.

To order moving boxes or to schedule a debris pickup, you can contact Olympia Moving & Storage at 800-222-4744. Just starting to plan your move?  Request an estimate online.

Estimating the Number of Boxes For Moving

Estimating number of boxes for movingOur moving consultants are all experts in estimating the weight, volume, and costs for a move, but even they will agree that estimating the number of boxes for moving can be tricky. Truthfully, the number of boxes you need to purchase to start packing is completely variable and unique to every relocation. Some homes are sparse, some families are pack rats, and even the types of boxes needed are unique to what you own.

Therefore, the most accurate way to determine how many boxes you need will always be to have a professional moving consultant do an in-home survey and produce a cube sheet. The cube sheet will include the number and types of boxes you will need to start packing, and that list will be completely customized to your items.

However, sometimes you just need a rule of thumb to purchase boxes and start packing. Here are some averages and generalizations we use for estimating the number of boxes needed for a move:

Before you get started, click here to learn more about the types of boxes sold for packing for a move.

 

Average number of boxes needed to pack an apartment or condo:

ROOM 1.5 cu. ft. small box 3.1 cu. ft. medium box 4.5 cu. ft. large box 5.1 cu. ft. dishpack box Wardrobe Boxes
Kitchen 2 5 4 4 0
Living Room 2 3 2 1 0
Dining Room 0 1 0 2 0
Master Bedroom 1 5 5 0 4
Bedroom #2 1 3 3 0 2
Bathroom 2 0 2 0 0
TOTAL 8 17 16 7 6

Average number of boxes needed for a single family home move:

ROOM 1.5 cu. ft. small box 3.1 cu. ft. medium box 4.5 cu. ft. large box 5.1 cu. ft. dishpack box Wardrobe Boxes
Kitchen 4 6 4 6 0
Living Room 4 4 4 2 0
Dining Room 0 2 0 4 0
Master Bedroom 3 6 8 0 6
Bedroom #2 2 5 5 0 2
Bedroom #3 2 5 5 0 2
Bathroom #1 2 0 2 0 0
Bathroom #2 2 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 19 28
28 12 10

These estimates only take into account an average home set-up.  Think about which things you tend to have more of than the average household, then add boxes based on that.

  • Don’t forget about adding boxes to pack hall closets, basements, attics, garages, and sheds.
  • If you have many books, papers, or records, add more 1.5 boxes.
  • For more knick-knacks, small appliances, and miscellaneous, add more 3.1 boxes.
  • For more clothes, blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals, add 4.5 boxes.
  • For additional kitchenware, add 5.1 boxes.

Paper and Tape

  • Tape: purchase 1 roll of tapes for every 10 boxes
  • Packing Paper: purchase 25 lbs of packing paper for every 2 dishpack boxes, this is enough to cover those dishpacks and additional fragiles in the other boxes

Other tips and rules of thumb for estimating boxes:

  • Don’t forget your mirrors and artwork!  Add 1 mirror carton for every 2 large frames in your home.
  • Do you have bookcases?  Add 6 additional 1.5 boxes for every bookcase in your home.
  • For closets with hanging clothes, a wardrobe box will hold 2 feet worth of hanging items, so just measure the width of your closet to determine how many wardrobe boxes you need.
  • Moving.com has a handy packing materials calculator that is also a good guideline for estimating boxes.

Ready to purchase boxes? If you’re packing for a Boston move or Washington D.C. move, you can request a free box delivery by filling out this form.

Need more packing help? Be sure to check out:
Packing Resource Center
Free Printable Moving Box Labels
9 Items You Shouldn’t Bring When Moving

A Quick and Easy Solution for Finding Moving Boxes

So you have contracted a mover and have a scheduled moving date…what next?

Moving Supplies Delivery

If you have not already done so, setup a moving supplies delivery through your moving company. Deliveries are free (provided you are within a certain radius of the office), and obtaining materials from a moving company is usually less expensive than one of the “big box stores”. Most moving companies will also be willing to deliver materials to your residence; even if you are moving yourself. Moving Supplies Boston MA

Ordering Moving Supplies

When ordering materials, consider the following:

1) People always underestimate the number of boxes required to complete their packing. Be conservative in your estimation.
2) Find moving supplies here to help you determine what kinds of boxes you will need. The basic rule of thumb is that heavier items (books, canned goods) should be placed in smaller boxes.
3) Order one role of tape for every 8-10 boxes.
4) Order one “ream” of paper for every 10-15 boxes (the more fragile items you have, the more paper will be required).
5) Ask whether the moving company has any used or recycled packing supplies that they could provide at a discounted rate. This is an environmentally friendly way to save money.

Organize Your Moving Boxes

Once you receive your packing supplies, keep them organized in a specific area to avoid unwanted clutter. Label each box carefully and stack the boxes in tiers against the wall so that the movers have access to all of your goods.

Now that you know where to find moving boxes, let us help you pack them. We have quite a few videos that show you how to pack common household items.

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