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Common Types of Boxes for Moving

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Finding Your Right Moving Box
  2. Choosing the Right Size and Type of Box for Your Moving Needs
  3. Using cardboard boxes for moving
  4. Using plastic boxes for moving
  5. Box Sizes
  6. Small boxes/cartons (1.5 cubic ft)
  7. Medium boxes/cartons (3 cubic ft)
  8. Medium-large boxes/cartons (4.5 Cubic ft)
  9. Large cartons (6 to 6.5 cubic ft)
  10. How Many Boxes Will You Need to Move?
  11. Specialty Moving Boxes
  12. Mattress box
  13. Special crates
  14. Dish barrels
  15. Picture boxes and mirror boxes
  16. Moving Box Tips
  17. Protecting fragile items
  18. Where to get boxes for your move
  19. Conclusion
Common Types of Boxes for Moving

Moving boxes are a crucial component of every move. Having the appropriate boxes on hand can make your move easier and more productive, whether you're moving across town or across the nation.

Knowing what kind and how many moving boxes you need is essential because many different moving boxes are available both online and in stores.

Read this handy guide about boxes to help with your relocation.

Finding Your Right Moving Box

Moving can be stressful, but having the right boxes to pack items can make it much more manageable. When selecting moving boxes, consider the size and type of box needed for the packed items. A few things you should contemplate are:

  • Will you dispose of the boxes or reuse them?
  • Do you have many tiny items to move?
  • How many fragile items do you need to put inside precisely fitted boxes?
  • How many boxes will your mover agree to take?

Choosing the Right Size and Type of Box for Your Moving Needs

There are a variety of sizes, but certain items are best suited to specific boxes:

  1. Books, DVDs, periodicals, collectibles, canned food, and small gadgets are best stored in tiny boxes
  2. Office supplies, records, toys, small appliances, and the majority of domestic things fit well in medium-sized boxes
  3. The ideal boxes to use for comforters, pillows, linens, vases, and large dishes are large and extra-large

Using cardboard boxes for moving

For those on a tight budget, cardboard boxes are an excellent solution. They are inexpensive since discarded boxes are sometimes free, and new ones cost between $1 and $2.50.

Cardboard boxes are simple to pack, transport, and arrange in the moving truck while offering decent item protection.

They are an environmentally responsible option because they are very simple to recycle after use.

Using plastic boxes for moving

Moving with plastic boxes is a terrific method to keep your possessions safe. They are strong and offer excellent protection.

Plastic boxes are great for movers as most come with handles. You may also stack them conveniently on top of one another.

These days, many plastic boxes come from recycled materials so that they can be environmentally friendly. You can also reuse plastic boxes, so it's unnecessary to discard them after the move is complete.

Seasonal clothing, electrical equipment, fragile things, cords, and other objects pack well in plastic containers.

Additionally, objects are shielded from rain and other bad weather while in transit, thanks to the waterproof nature of plastic bins.

Box Sizes

Learn about box sizes below to choose which ones you can use for your items.

Small boxes/cartons (1.5 cubic ft.)

A safe way to store and move products is in small boxes or cartons. Several sizes are available, but 1.5 cubic feet is the most common.

These boxes are ideal for packing household goods like clothing, towels, pots and pans, electronics, and other stuff.

Medium boxes/cartons (3 cubic ft.)

Due to their compact size and generous capacity, medium boxes and cartons are popular for packing and transporting things. The standard size of a medium box is from 1 to 3 cubic feet.

Medium-large boxes/cartons (4.5 Cubic ft.)

When moving or storing products of varied sizes, medium/large boxes and cartons are versatile options. These 65-pound capacity and 4.5 cubic-foot boxes are ideal for carrying linens, heavy lamps, children's toys, clothing, and other kitchen equipment.

It's vital to keep in mind that the heavier the products you load in a box, the larger it is; generally, we advise against packing boxes heavier than 50 pounds.

Large cartons (6 to 6.5 cubic ft.)

Bulky or awkward objects are best packed in large cartons. These containers, which have a 6 to 6.5 cubic feet capacity, are ideal for transporting items like area rugs, coats, plush animals, blankets, and more.


How Many Boxes Will You Need to Move?

When it comes to moving, the number of boxes you need is often the first question that comes to mind.

Keep these factors in mind when estimating the amount needed:

  • It is always better to overestimate rather than underestimate when ordering boxes
  • Having a varied number of box sizes allows a lot of room for packing flexibility
  • To accurately estimate the number of boxes needed for a move, it is best to use a moving calculator
  • Order your boxes well ahead of your move

Specialty Moving Boxes

When you start to plan your move, you'll realize the bewildering amount of items you own that aren't designed with easy transport in mind. Whether you've got picture frames, delicate items, tall items, or any other combination, you might need a specialist box.

They offer superior security and fit for specific objects that might not be appropriate for conventional moving boxes. Fragile things, big appliances, and electronics all have unique needs that specialty boxes are designed to address.

Mattress box

If you're fond of your mattress, you'll want to protect it properly during your move. Mattress boxes are made to protect your mattress from elements like dampness, dust, filth, and other things that could harm it while being stored or transported.

They are constructed from sturdy cardboard or plastic materials that give the mattress more support and padding while keeping it safely enclosed in the box. Furthermore, the boxes include handles on either side, making it much easier for the movers.

Special crates

Special crates or custom containers can protect the more valuable items.

Custom containers are offered for larger or more delicate goods, such as sculptures or antiques, to provide additional protection during transit.

Dish barrels

Dish barrels, usually referred to as dish packs, are necessary for every journey. They are composed of robust corrugated cardboard with a double-wall construction for additional padding and security and are intended to safeguard delicate things during a relocation.

The double-wall shape of the kitchenware carton makes it perfect for delicate objects like crystal and glassware. Professional movers should provide these boxes when packaging kitchen contents to guarantee that any fragile items are moved safely from one place to another.

Picture boxes and mirror boxes

You'll need one of these if it's got a frame or glass. Picture crates are necessary for anyone who needs to move framed things like paintings, portraits, and mirrors.

While they are essentially the same thing, they also come in different sizes, and some will be more suited to mirrors, which generally tend to be long and thin.

You can connect these sturdy, adjustable boxes to provide a longer fit and suit larger frames. And you can use special frame protectors in conjunction with mirror boxes to provide additional protection while in transit.

Moving Box Tips

You can make your move easier and more efficient with the right tips and tricks.

  • Always put heavier items on the bottom of the box
  • Fill in empty spaces with packing paper
  • Keep all room items together
  • Label each box with the room it's meant for and what's inside

Make sure that each box weighs less than 50 pounds so that you don't strain yourself when lifting.

Protecting fragile items

When shipping fragile objects, it's crucial to use sturdy packaging materials like bubble wrap or foam peanuts. Additionally, putting labels on each box will make it simpler to unpack once you get to your new house and help you keep track of what's inside.

Where to get boxes for your move

You may buy professional moving boxes online or at most hardware stores. Also, consider the following:

  • Online marketplaces
  • Free boxes from store deliveries
  • Reusing friend's and neighbor's boxes

When purchasing boxes and packing materials, look for sales to help you save money for your relocation.

Remember to buy extra packaging supplies like tape, packing paper, paper cushioning, and plastic wrap. Your breakable items will thank you for paying attention to the packing material.

You can help your expensive items get to their destination undamaged by choosing the right-sized boxes that provide extra protection.



Moving is always stressful, but having the right information on hand will ease some of the pressure.

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of the boxes and packing supplies you'll need to make the packing process more manageable.

A-1 Auto Transport has been helping many customers move across the country for a long time. So if you want help with your move,

Remember, we've been doing this for a long time, so contact us today if you want help with your move.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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