Moving boxes: Paper or Plastic?
August 1, 2013 5:16 PM   Subscribe

Anyone have any experience with using plastic boxes to move? How did it work out for your stuff compared to cardboard boxes? How did your moving company react to them (like, did they think it was too heavy, clumsy, etc).

I'm in the Bay Area and moving locally. I heard about a company, ZippGo, that rents out plastic moving boxes. This sounds great, as I won't have to go out hunting for boxes and throw them away or Freecycle them at the end. Would love to hear about any experiences with this type of thing.

posted by vivzan to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
They refused to put the ones without lids in their truck
posted by thelonius at 5:18 PM on August 1, 2013

(to clarify, those were plastic storage tubs, like they sell at Target, not some kind of bespoke plastic moving box)
posted by thelonius at 5:24 PM on August 1, 2013

Those things are such a pain i the ass to carry. The tops fly off. They buckle really easily. When you try to use the grips, the grips fail.

Really, it sucks.
posted by theichibun at 5:45 PM on August 1, 2013

Best answer: I used BongoBox in DC and was really happy with them. They delivered, the movers moved them, and then they came and got them. For 16 boxes (10 medium, 6 big), I paid just over $70. ALSO, I got 2 wardrobe boxes, which was a great idea. It took me about 5 minutes each time to pack and unpack my closet and coat closet.


-didn't have to buy lots of tape and spend a long time setting up and breaking down boxes
- DELIVERY of boxes to my house
- boxes had handles included, so they were easier for me and the movers to lift than smooth cardboard
- mine came with 2 dollies, which I could wheel the boxes around on. This was a LIFESAVER for me, as I moved while healing after breaking damn near all my ribs. I had would put the empty box on the dolly, pack it, put another one on, pack it, etc. and end up with a nicely-wheelable stack of 5 boxes.
- rental was 2 weeks. You can pay more and get it for longer, but I appreciated having an enforced deadline to unpack. YMMV.

- even the medium boxes are kind of big, so you have to watch out not to make them too heavy. I moved my cast iron pans in the bottom of two boxes, with pillows making up the rest of the volume. For my books, I actually also got 5 rental cardboard boxes (also came with delivery and pick-up, YMMV), so they wouldn't be too heavy and I could just pack the box full.

My movers (in-town move) seemed to like it - one of them said I'd packed well. They didn't really bother with the dollies, just stacked them two at a time and carried them. But I was also moving from walk-up apartment to walk-up apartment, vs. a place with long hallways and elevators where the dollies might have been more handy.

I would 100% do it again. Various companies also rent cardboard boxes, for about half the price of buying them, so that's also an option.
posted by foodmapper at 5:51 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

We recently moved our office and the moving company had something like this.

They were sturdy plastic boxes that looked similar to the Zippgo boxes, except the lids were separate and they had holes for zip ties. The boxes stacked well, were crush proof and took a large amount of abuse and weight. It was very effective and scaled to a couple hundred boxes without issue. Make sure you have a fat roll of bubble wrap handy for boxes that aren't full enough.

I can't speak to Zippgo, but the concept is sound at least. Better for the environment too.
posted by tracert at 6:13 PM on August 1, 2013

Best answer: I used FrogBox in Toronto, which looks like it uses basically the same boxes as ZippGo. This is part of what I wrote in my Yelp review:

I found the boxes quite convenient for packing. Because they were all the same size and shape, they stacked nicely and very stably, so it was easy to get them out of my way while I was continuing to pack. If I had a quibble with the service, I'd say it's that the boxes are far too big to pack full of books -- they'd be way too heavy to lift -- and it would be nice if they added half-sized bins for books. I ended up just packing a layer of books in the bottom of each of my boxes so that none of them got overly heavy, but I'd have preferred not to do that. (It looks like ZippGo has different size boxes, so this might be less of an issue for you.)

The other interesting aspect of the service is that you're renting the boxes for a limited time. They'll easily and happily extend that time for an additional fee (which I did once, for a week, for an additional $20 for my 25 boxes) but it gives you a (not too scary because it can be moved if necessary) deadline for getting unpacked. Because you have to give the boxes back, there's no concerns about ever having that one box -- you know the one, the one that you've moved 3 times and never unpacked and you're not quite sure what's in it, but whatever it is, it can't be that important because you haven't used it in 8 years.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:21 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've used a whole passel of Akro Mils storage and distro boxes to help move across the country. The ZippGo boxes look similar, but may be the other popular brand (monoflo IIRC). These are pretty tough, and stackable. The lids are integral. Mine don't have any drainholes, so they can sit in water safely. When empty they nest well. They are also easily secured with locks or zipties.

They can hold a lot of weight, which means they are really easy to overpack. The 21.5x15x17 inch Akro Mils boxes (similar in cubic inches to the ZippGo size "L") will hold 100lbs each, and stack three high. This is definitely not something you want to do if you are moving. However, the flip side is that they move easy with a hand truck, so if circumstances are right, that may be a positive.

The boxes themselves are both good and bad for fragile materials. The box itself is hard will transfer shock right through the walls. You will want to wrap fragile items really well in bubble wrap or similar cushioning. The toughness of the box is good because it keeps things from punching though the box wall. They are pretty crush-proof.

If you are a quick packer and un-packer during a move, it seems like a viable deal.
posted by graftole at 6:59 PM on August 1, 2013

I used ZippGo when I moved a few months ago and I thought it was great. No finding/buying boxes, and tape, and then getting rid of them. As people have mentioned you just have to be careful not to make them too heavy. They were also really nice about picking them up at a time convenient to me but not so much for them. I would definitely go that route again next time I move.
posted by grapesaresour at 7:39 PM on August 1, 2013

My company used rented plastic boxes for our office move a few years ago and it was such a no-brainer. I am so glad you posted this question because I will be moving shortly and you reminded me of this option.
posted by Dragonness at 8:20 PM on August 1, 2013

I moved last year and if I were to do it again, I'd do plastic.

Less crushing
Easier to pack in truck because all the same size
posted by k8t at 9:31 PM on August 1, 2013

If I had the dough I would do Rentacrate in a heartbeat. So easy, especially with the dollies.

I found a recycled box store practically at the end of my driveway, so I'm using traditional boxes this move.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:39 AM on August 2, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I like the idea of this. Seems like the one thing to watch out for is the weight. I'm a really good packer, and the trick is to not leave any voids in the box. Seems like it might be harder to pack efficiently in these plastic crates with weight being an issue.

Thanks again!
posted by vivzan at 9:00 AM on August 2, 2013

My out-of-state move is behind me so here's what I can tell you:

I looked into renting plastic crates but they cost more to rent than to actually buy - medium-sized ones are $5 each at Home Depot, or $3.60 to rent plus delivery ($100) and take-away fees ($200 since out-of-state), plus an additional charge if I needed them for longer than 10 days.

I used movers and their truck gets weighed and the cost of the move calculated accordingly. So for me cardboard made sense even from that perspective.

I ended up buying just a few plastic crates and used them for last minute items that could just be thrown in (cleaning supplies, contents of fridge, toiletries).

Hope your move goes well.

(Unrelated but a big lesson learned worth sharing: I underestimated the amount of stuff I'd end up throwing out after the movers left, and had quite a bit of unnecessary stress figuring out how to dispose of a carfull of garbage bags on my last day.)
posted by Dragonness at 11:10 AM on August 22, 2013

« Older How do I tell my mom I'm getting married?   |   Cost effective way to enclose the rear or an open... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.