Are cardboard boxes the best option for packing for a home move?

Are the days of the cardboard box for moving home numbered?

The humble cardboard box has always been the default mode of moving your household items from old to new homes.

They are sturdy, durable, and plentiful, but the downside is that they have to be constructed and deconstructed, they require packing tape which adds considerably to your home moving costs, and what do you do with the mound of boxes after moving day?

Yes, you can give them away, recycle or keep them for future use. But just the process of deconstructing and flattening the boxes after moving day is time-consuming and laborious.

So what if there was a modern, equally versatile, and cheap alternative to cardboard boxes for packing your goods when moving home?

You may also like to read: How to Choose the Right Boxes for Moving Home. In this guide, we look at the best sizes, thicknesses, and types of boxes to use when packing for a home move. There is also an interesting section on cardboard box trivia.

Which Boxes are Best for Moving Home? Cardboard Boxes vs Plastic Boxes

It may be that you use a combination of packing options on moving day

Do reusable plastic moving bins herald the end of the cardboard box for home movers?

There are now companies, such as Crate Hire UK, who will hire you, by the week, varying sizes of plastic totes for moving home.

This appears to be a great service and has many benefits over using cardboard boxes for your home move:

The Pros of Using Plastic Crates for Packing

  • They will deliver them to you, and then collect them when you have unpacked them.
  • Plastic boxes generally work out cheaper than cardboard boxes.
  • There is no packing tape to have to buy.
  • Packing time will be considerably reduced as you will not need to construct the packing boxes.
  • They are friendlier to the environment than cardboard.
  • Plastic will not be susceptible to insect damage or infestation.
  • No inconvenience of having to dispose of the empty boxes after your home move.
  • Tote boxes are stackable so the packing and unpacking process can be more organised.
  • Plastic will not get water-damaged as cardboard boxes would.
  • Unpacking time will be reduced as there will be no boxes to flatten. Just stack the plastic boxes inside each other ready for collection.
  • No more wondering what to do with packing materials after your home move.
  • If you decide to buy rather than rent plastic boxes they can be used for indefinite storage as they will not deteriorate over time as cardboard would.
  • Hired plastic boxes have a scheduled return date – which is a good motivator to ensure all your unpacking is completed in a timely manner.

However, they are not considered by some in the removal industry as a suitable replacement for cardboard boxes, but is this just a reluctance to accept change?

What is better, plastic or cardboard boxes for moving home, is a topic of hot debate in the industry right now.

The Cons of Using Plastic Crates for Moving Home

The perceived downside of plastic tote boxes is:

  • They are not as space-efficient as cardboard boxes due to their tapered shape.
  • Tote boxes can slide about in the removal van if not secured properly.
  • Some plastic boxes are not as sturdy as cardboard boxes so do not stack as well.
  • You have a set date to return the plastic boxes so are on a schedule to unpack them.

If you are using cardboard boxes, one of the key packing materials is the tape that you will use to seal the boxes.

This is really not something that you should try to save money on.

There is little point in having sturdy boxes and then sealing them with inferior-quality tape, the chances are that the moment you try to lift the box the bottom will open, spilling all its contents.

Of course, if you intend to use plastic tote boxes to move home this consideration is mute.

If you want to know how to securely close plastic tubs when moving home, just use zip ties, quick and easy.

The decision to use cardboard boxes or plastic totes to move home will probably be influenced by how you intend to move home.

If doing a self-move or self-packing, you will have the freedom to choose.

If the removal company is packing your home then they will probably supply the packing materials anyway.

But if you have a choice, plastic tote boxes would seem to offer you many advantages over the traditional cardboard box.

You may also like to know: How Many Boxes Do I Need to Move Home? In this guide, we suggest how many boxes, either plastic or cardboard, it takes to pack the average home as well as the average amount of packing materials you will need.

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What to Pack My Stuff in When Moving Home?

Vacuum storage bags reduce the bulk of soft linens and clothing considerably

There are plenty of alternatives to using cardboard boxes which are already in your home, which makes them cheaper than cheap.

 #1 Rubbish Sacks

When it comes to rubbish sacks there is a huge range of thicknesses and sizes available.

It is best to use rubble sacks from a DIY store if you can because they are so much thicker and stronger than normal refuse sacks.

However, thinner sacks can be doubled up to increase their durability, and when you have finished the home move, the bags can still be reused.

Rubbish sacks are great for bundling all your towels, clothing, and bedding into.

Roll the items before you put them in the bags to prevent creasing.

Use rubbish sacks as you would a suit cover for moving hanging garments, just pull the bag over the hanger so that the shoulders of the hanger are at the closed end of the sack. Poke the hanger hooks through the sealed bottom of the sack and bingo, they are ready to transport.

#2 Drawers

If you have items already in drawers why bother taking them out?

Leave them where they are, it will even save space in the removal van too.

Just make sure that the contents of the drawer are securely in place and will not move about in transit.

#3 Bags

Suitcases, holdalls, rucksacks, handbags, and carrier bags can all be utilised during your home move.

Bags are perfect if you are taking some things in your car to your new home as they can squash into spaces that boxes can’t

#4 Inside of a washing machine

The drum of your washing machine can be used to transport light, non-breakable items, like bedding and other linens.

Be careful not to overload the drum and be sure to use the retaining bolts in the drum so that it does not move during transit.

You may also like to read: How to Move a Washing Machine Without Getting in a Spin. From disconnecting to packing to moving, to reconnecting your washing machine, this is an invaluable guide if you intend to move it yourself.

#5 Bins

Rubbish bins can also be utilised for moving any number of things but are especially good for transporting cleaning items.

#6 Vacuum sealed bags

These are great for reducing the volume of your clothing or other textiles.

Once you have moved home the items can be left in their sealed bags so that they remain dust-free. This is also a great option for out-of-season clothing and bedding.

#7 Underbed plastic boxes

These are really useful for items that you want to keep permanently boxed up.

Toys, seasonal clothing, or bedding are all items that may be stored under a bed or in the loft.

Be sure to secure the lids for transportation as they have a tendency to pop off (zip ties are quick and easy for this).

Also, be aware that they are usually not particularly sturdy so care will have to be taken as to what is stacked on top of them.

You may also like to read: The Top 10 Most Commonly Damaged Items During a Home Move. Forewarned is forearmed, so if you know what is most likely to get damaged during your home move you can pay those items special attention when packing them.

Plastic totes and bins vs cardboard boxes, along with virtual in-home moving surveys, are probably the biggest changes taking place in the home moving industry today, who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Eco-Friendly and Free Alternative Packing Materials

If it has space within it, use it to move lighter things

Whilst we are looking at the best alternative packing supplies for moving home, we should also look at the sundry items such as expensive packing paper, and bubble wrap, and again there are items around your home that will do just as good a job, and this is another way to trim moving costs.

#1 Blankets, clothing, towels, bedding, and carrier bags

These can all be used as packing to fill gaps and to prevent items from moving around inside boxes. They can also be used as a free and eco-friendly alternative to bubble wrap to protect fragile items whilst they are in transit.

#2 Towels or blankets

These are ideal to pad the top and bottom of your packing boxes.

#3 Thick socks

Thick socks are a great substitute for packing paper for protecting glasses or other fragile items. Just pop the glasses straight into the sock.

#4 Pillows and cushions

Pillows and cushions also make great protective padding to line your boxes with fragile items in them.

#5 Packets of rice, dried beans, or pasta

Bags of dried pulses, for example, could also be used to fill those gaps to prevent your items from moving about in transit. Don’t forget to put the packets in plastic bags just in case they split.

#6 Free newspapers or junk mail

Old magazines and flyers can be scrunched into balls and used as gap fillers.

Try to avoid using newspaper to wrap items as the newsprint can rub off and cause stains or damage to your things.

You may also like to read: Eco-Friendly Ways to Move Home. From eco-friendly packing tips to choosing an eco-friendly removal company to eco-friendly cleaning tips, this is a really useful guide to doing your bit to help save the planet.

So as you can see, there are many good substitutes for bubble wrap and other traditional packing materials when moving home.

By utilizing the items you can find around your home, which you would have had to pack anyway, you will not only save costs on packing materials, space in the removal van, the added work of disposing of the packing materials after moving day, but you will also have a more eco-friendly way of moving home.

Things that are already around your home are obviously some of the most cost-effective packing materials.

Before you start your packing don’t forget the most important home moving task which is to declutter your home by disposing of all the things that you will not be taking with you to your new home.

This is another great cost-cutting exercise as you will not be paying removal costs for things that you no longer need or want in your new home.

You may also like to read: The Epic Guide to Decluttering for a Home Move. In this guide, we go room by room explaining the most efficient way to declutter your home before you start packing. We also look at how to emotionally detach from your possessions to make decluttering easier.

Whilst on the subject of cutting the cost of moving home, you should make sure that you get a number of removal company cost estimates before choosing a removal company.

That way you can compare removal company costs and services, and you will have the opportunity to read the reviews of those removal companies before making a decision on which removal company is right for your home move.

You may also like to read: How to Pick a Good Removal Company. The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide. Knowing how to choose a good removal company is so important that we have created a step-by-step guide to help you avoid the pitfalls and from becoming a victim of a scam.

Finally, be creative with your choice of packing materials and what you pack your goods into, and you will be guaranteed to reduce your home moving costs.

Just remember that the safety and protection of your precious items are paramount on moving day.

Saving a few pounds that results in the destruction of a family heirloom would surely ruin your home moving experience.

If you do discover some really novel packing tips when moving home, why not share them with us in the comments box below?

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