I know I don't know you that well, but wanna help me move?
June 13, 2009 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Can you tell me where to find cheap packing material for moving - bubble wrap, newsprint, peanuts, whatever. I've already seen this thread on where to get moving boxes, and if you have anything new to add, that'd be great. In case it matters, we're moving a standard 2 bedroom apartment across town in the far northwest Chicago suburbs. Nothing particularly valuable.
posted by desjardins to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if it happens in the US but UK supermarkets get bananas delivered in sturdy lidded boxes with carry holes. They are super strong, and stackable. Many stores leave them out and invite you to take them for free. I've used them in all six of my moves since college.

Good luck with the move!
posted by freya_lamb at 3:54 PM on June 13, 2009

Try a bookstore or a library. I work at the latter, and we always have tons of boxes and bubble wrap from all the shipments.
posted by jenny76 at 3:57 PM on June 13, 2009

I like Uline for a variety of packing and shipping supplies. They take online and phone orders, and will ship to you or you can pickup at Will Call at one of their warehouses. They have a location in the Chicago area, in Waukegan, IL.
posted by RichardP at 4:14 PM on June 13, 2009

Best answer: Use your clothing and linens to wrap packed items.
posted by applemeat at 4:17 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ask Starbucks if you can have their newspapers at the end of the day; usually they just toss their NYTimes- so Sunday ones are especially great.
posted by questionsandanchors at 4:27 PM on June 13, 2009

The local liquor store is your friend.

Around here, Wednesday is the day when they have the most boxes available.

Also, don't do what we've done. Get rid (whether by donation, recycling, or outright disposal) of stuff before you move instead of after you move.
posted by imjustsaying at 4:29 PM on June 13, 2009

You could try and sign up to your local freecycle branch and post a request there. Not sure of your time scale/volume but you can probably get some of the items - there's usually some requests/offers occurring in my local group. Probably best to post request for individual items, spaced out a little.

As you are moving, you might be able to get rid of things you don't want through the site also.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 4:36 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding freecycle. I received and gave away tons of packing materials on freecycle.
posted by All.star at 4:49 PM on June 13, 2009

Declutter before moving. Put on an energetic song and run around one room. Set a quota of 20 and then collect 20 things you no longer need in a bag marked "donations". Do this for each room in your house- one song, 20 items, per room. Then immediately put the donation bag in the trunk of the car and get it outta there, and breathe a sigh of relief that you just got rid of like 100 pieces of crap you didn't need.

Liquor store boxes are a great size for books. Bring home a bunch of them flat, then tape up the bottoms all at once before you start packing.

Move clothes on the hanger- just gently fold them into big (clearly marked) trash bags.

I also like to move things in big tupperware containers- the kind made for sporting equipment and stuff. They cost like $6 each and they last forever.

You can pack your dishes and your bathroom towels in layers in a big plastic tub. Just make sure to fill the empty space inside so nothing can move around and you'll be fine.

If you have some time you'd be surprised what you can sell on Craigslist- in a city of over a million people they will line up to take your crap. List one item per page, unless you're selling several items as a lot. Always include a photo, even if it's just a pic of a similar item, lifted from Google. Search for similar items and price most things lowish- you want to get rid of them, not earn a living. Set a single time slot- say this Tuesday from 6-10 pm, and have all buyers come during that time. Basically they'll pay YOU to take your crap away. It takes me about 10 minutes to make a Craigslist posting so I don't do it for less than $10 per item or lot... that way my time is still worth a reasonable amount of money.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:29 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I use paper shreddings as packing material. Very cheap, and assuming you have a paper shredder and a stack of junk mail, easy to make more. You can use either a cross-cut shredder or a strip shredder. If you use a cross-cut, you will need a lot more shreddings to fill a box, because they compact down more tightly. (However I think they protect things better.)

Sometimes I will run old newspapers through the paper shredder because it's easier to use shredded paper as "loose fill" that I can just dump into a box, than crumple up newspaper into balls and shove it into a box one piece at a time.

If you're not careful unpacking it can make a royal mess, but it vacuums up easily.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:46 PM on June 13, 2009

Some people use plain popcorn instead of packing peanuts.
posted by x46 at 7:15 PM on June 13, 2009

Best answer: The ink will rub off of the old newspaper causing everything, including your hands, to be black and smudgy.

I used paper bags purchased from the local Sams club. It was about $16.00 for 500 bags. They were wonderful! The size I bought was the short grocery bag. A dinner plate fit perfectly.
Not one thing was broken during the move. That is saying a lot as my son and his friends moved me.
posted by JujuB at 9:52 PM on June 13, 2009

De-clutter as much as you can before you move.

I never found newpaper ink ot be too bothersome to be honest. Bubblewrap seems to take more space than newspapers and generally won't stay in place unless you end up sticking it down with tape so my preference was always paper. Ask people to collect their newpapers for you.

Binliners are great for all clothes, soft furnishings etc. but don't buy the really cheap ones because they easily tear and your wardrobe ends up on the street.

Ensure you spread the weight into different boxes - it may be easier to unpack a box of books say but you may find you can't actually lift the box full with bookx (without hurting yourself).
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:47 AM on June 14, 2009

Best answer: I gave away my moving boxes/bubblewrap on craigslist, you could try looking there and try putting an ad looking for it if you don't see one. I was really happy to get rid of all that stuff after my move, and craigslist is free.
posted by Melsky at 5:14 AM on June 14, 2009

Call your local newspaper and see if they give out end rolls. At work we put a cart full of them out on Tuesdays. End rolls only have a quarter to a half inch of blank newsprint left on them. The press has to switch them on the fly before they run empty. While there's too little paper left for a press running at 50,000 copies per hour, there's still plenty for someome who needs to pack, usually a couple hundred feet on the roll. Free packing material and no ink to boot!
posted by azpenguin at 6:04 AM on June 14, 2009

Best answer: Nearly every day, in our local Craigslist's "FREE" section, someone lists "Moving Boxes/Supplies".
posted by peagood at 8:18 AM on June 14, 2009

Response by poster: Home Depot has builder's paper on a roll. It's not free, but it's expedient (we were there anyway) and it has seemed to work very well.
posted by desjardins at 7:44 AM on June 15, 2009

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