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

How many boxes to move a one bedroom apartment? Approximately 45 boxes. About 54 boxes are required for a two bedroom apartment.

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

How many boxes to move a house? Approximately 100, depending on the number of bedrooms, and of course the volume of belongings.

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.
  • 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, Washington D.C., Austin, or Philadelphia 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

Materials Movers Use to Protect Furniture & Your Home

Materials Movers Use to ProtectThe best defense for a damage-free move is hiring trained professionals, like those at Olympia Moving & Storage. The second best defense is properly protecting your furniture and home.

Our crew always comes equipped with the right materials to protect your property. Just like how you would want to use paper and bubble wrap to pack your fragiles in a box, it’s always a good idea to have your crew “pack” your furniture and home.

Here’s the materials professional movers use to protect your furniture and home:

Roll Up Floor Protection

Whether you’re trying to keep the origin in tip top shape for the new owners or keeping your new home as perfect as it was when you got the keys, we know it’s essential to protect your floors. This protection shields carpets to keep even the whitest carpets clear of dirt. This material rolls on easily and cleans up quickly.


Masonite sheets are laid onto hardwood floors to keep them scratch-free from moving furniture, boots, and dollies.

Door Jamb Protection

Cushioning to protect door jambs from scrapes during your move, even when the movers are getting the largest pieces out the door.

Wall Protection

Made of corrugated plastic that will not rip or tear, the crew will often put this on the walls of tight spaces to avoid nicks and bumps on the wall, especially since many clients freshly paint their home!


Plastic Wrap

The crew will quickly wrap upholstered furniture to keep it clean throughout the move. Wrapping furniture with drawers is also handy for keeping those drawers shut during transit.

Furniture pads

Essential for keeping furniture scratch-free, the crew will wrap the furniture in these padded blankets then secure them with tape.

Item labels

For items going into interstate or into storage, a detailed, numbered inventory will be made. The crew will also put stickers with the corresponding inventory number on the boxes and furniture to keep everything organized and avoid loss. While packing, we also recommend clients use our free, downloadable box labels. These color-coded labels help the crew identify what’s going into each room, expediting the delivery.

More Moving Tips in our Moving Resource Center

Watch our crew use these materials on real moves in these videos!

What Equipment Do Professional Movers Use?