Best & least expensive way to ship bunch of empty boxes cross-country?
July 18, 2015 6:30 PM   Subscribe

Thanks to a recent move, have many lightly-used Uline cardboard boxes of various sizes (including big wardrobe boxes). Cost hundreds of $ to buy. Now need to move an apartment from NJ to CA. It might be less expensive to ship the boxes to NJ than buy new ones again. What's the best way to do that?

Moved a family member to CA, now need to move Ms. Pie and myself across the country from NJ. Thanks to the 1st move, have a large quantity of boxes of various sizes. It's a big and heavy pile (cardboard is surprisingly heavy, when there's a lot of it), so shipping via UPS or such would probably be too expensive. At the same time, the size is much smaller than (e.g.) a regular house/apartment/whatever move, so I'm not sure what kind of a service would actually be appropriate for this scale.

In other questions such as this one, people talk about Craigslist cleverness, but I just don't have the time to deal with that. I'd like a service that can show up at my door in CA, take the boxes, and deliver them to an apartment in NJ in no more than 4 weeks.

Other people in the same thread talk about using ABF. I'll check into that option, but are there others?
posted by StrawberryPie to Travel & Transportation around Hoboken, NJ (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Bundle them all up in plastic and ship them by Amtrak. Greyhound is another option.
posted by MsMolly at 7:18 PM on July 18, 2015

It might be less expensive to ship the boxes to NJ than buy new ones again.

I seriously doubt this is true. You can probably sell the old boxes on Craigslist in CA for at least half what you paid for them, within a day or two. Then, use the money toward new/used boxes in NJ. Then you can resell the second set of boxes after your move. I seriously doubt that shipping will be cheaper (or easier) than the net cost after all of that.
posted by decathecting at 7:20 PM on July 18, 2015 [7 favorites]

Try Friend just shipped a mattress using it, on the recommendation of another friend who'd shipped an antique the same way.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:49 PM on July 18, 2015

If you decide to buy new boxes, I've found that Home Depot has good prices.
posted by doctord at 9:08 PM on July 18, 2015

Amtrak is incredibly easy and pleasant. I recently shipped some stuff that way and was really surprised by how straightforward the whole thing was. They don't have a door-to-door service, but drop-off and pick-up were painless and didn't involve any waits or lines and there was very little paperwork. We just had to give our address and pay. It's cheap. $60 for the first 100 pounds, $0.69 for each pound after that. This worked out to about 1/4 the price of UPS.

If you really want a door-to-door service, check out Greyhound's shipping service. That makes it look like you need a business account, but I don't think that's necessarily the case. It's definitely not the case if you ship 6 or more pieces using Greyhound's bulk shipping service, Busfreighter .
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 9:41 PM on July 18, 2015

I just moved. 2nding the Home Depot for moving supplies at a good price. Ir probably would cost less to ship, but the logistics and hassle has got to be worth something to avoid.
posted by AugustWest at 9:42 PM on July 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I stopped using Greyhound when I discovered pallet shipping. You drop the shipment at a pallet hub and it is,shipped for a fraction of the cost. If you need boxes, look at using a procurement website who can help you buy in bulk through your work or own company. That can save tons against retail prices.
posted by parmanparman at 7:38 AM on July 19, 2015

Thanks for the great ideas!

Regarding boxes: yes, Home Depot and Lowes sell boxes, but in our experience they are cheaper in quality than Uline's, and in any case, Home Depot and Lowes don't offer the specialized boxes we now have, such as wardrobe boxes, boxes for dishes and glass, and boxes for paintings. Big wardrobe boxes are $22 each, but they are very convenient and speed up packing and unpacking, so they are worth it to us. And after moving my mother's house, we now have a lot of specialized boxes that are lightly used.

Errr, I don't mean to turn this into an ad for Uline; just explaining....
posted by StrawberryPie at 8:31 AM on July 21, 2015

Glad you got what you need at uline, but Home depot does sell boxes and inserts for glasses, does sell wardrobes and does sell boxes for flat screen TVs. Or, at least, they did to me 3 weeks ago. This time of the year, they have set up a whole section in the front of the store for moving and storage boxes.

Regardless where you get your supplies, may your move go smoothly!
posted by AugustWest at 1:22 PM on July 21, 2015

In fact, I was at Home Depot earlier today, and I noticed they do indeed sell wardrobes, but they are short (at least the stocked ones at the store near us) and they don't seem to have the range of sizes of other boxes either. But I stand corrected: they do indeed have some of these kinds of boxes.

Thanks for the note.
posted by StrawberryPie at 3:56 PM on July 21, 2015

« Older What tricks do you use on your brain to stop...   |   I want to build a digital catalog of my art... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.