Guest Contributor
November 7, 2023
Article type:
Moving Help & Tips
Applies to:
All Moving

Selecting Moving Boxes: A Comprehensive Guide

The following blog was written by Eddie Scoseria on behalf of CDS Moving Equipment Rockies

A great moving box is designed to provide durability, protection, and convenience during the process of moving belongings from one location to another. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the essential features that constitute a high-quality moving box, whether it's a Walmart moving box, U-Haul moving box, Lowes moving box, or a box gifted from a friend.

Let’s explore key aspects such as durability, protection, and convenience, and how they contribute to the efficacy of your local or long-distance move. Here are some key factors that contribute to making a great moving box.

Evaluate the Material Quality of Moving Boxes

The material of your moving box is crucial. High-quality, corrugated cardboard boxes are commonly used for local and long-distance as they offer both strength and flexibility. These cardboard boxes help protect your items from external impacts, moisture, and other potential hazards.
Investing in good-quality boxes can be a cost-effective measure in the long run. While cheap moving boxes might seem like a bargain at first glance, their susceptibility to damage and potential need for replacement could incur additional costs and unnecessary hassle. Thus, the quality of your moving boxes plays a critical role in ensuring a successful, stress-free move.

Size Variability of Moving Boxes: Choosing the Right Box for Your Possessions

Different items require different sizes of boxes. A great moving box collection should include various sizes to accommodate small, medium, large, and even specialty items. This helps prevent overpacking, which can lead to boxes being too heavy or items being damaged due to insufficient space.

  • Small Moving Boxes: These boxes typically measure around 16” x 10” x 10” and are ideal for packing small, heavy items. Books, DVDs, tools, and canned goods are commonly packed in small moving boxes.
  • Medium Moving Boxes: Medium boxes are generally around 18” x 14” x 12”. They are versatile and can hold a variety of items, such as kitchenware, toys, small appliances, and decorative items. These boxes are great for items that are too bulky to fit in small boxes but not heavy or delicate enough to require a large box.
  • Large Moving Boxes: With dimensions of around 20” x 20” x 15”, large boxes are suitable for packing lightweight, bulky items. Linens, towels, pillows, and lampshades often fit best in these boxes. They are also useful for packing larger kitchen appliances and pots.
  • Extra-Large Moving Boxes: These boxes, measuring around 23” x 23” x 16”, are perfect for packing the bulkiest items you have. They can handle items like comforters, blankets, coats, and large, plush toys.
  • Wardrobe Moving Boxes: These boxes are specially designed with a hanging bar for clothes. Wardrobe boxes allow for clothes to be transferred directly from the closet to the box, making packing and unpacking easier and keeping your clothing free of wrinkles.
  • Picture/Mirror Moving Boxes: These boxes are flat and slim, making them ideal for packing items like mirrors, framed artwork, and flat-screen TVs. They often come with protective padding or corners to keep your valuables secure.
  • Dish Pack Boxes: Dish pack boxes are specifically designed for packing dishes, glassware, and other fragile items. They include dividers and are often made of double-walled cardboard for extra protection.

Specialty Boxes Cater to Specific Moving Needs

Some items, such as electronics, fragile items, and clothing, might require special types of boxes with additional cushioning or compartments for protection. Specialty moving boxes provide customized solutions for packing odd-sized or delicate items that may not fit properly into standard moving boxes. They come in different sizes and shapes to accommodate a range of items, offering an additional layer of protection and convenience. Here are the most common types:

  • Mattress Boxes: Ranging from crib to king-size, these boxes protect your mattress during the move, keeping it clean and safe from damage.
  • Guitar Boxes: Designed to fit acoustic and electric guitars, these boxes provide extra padding to protect your musical instruments.
  • Bicycle Boxes: These large, sturdy boxes accommodate most bicycle sizes and types, safeguarding them from scratches and impacts during the move.
  • Lamp Boxes: Tall and narrow, these boxes are designed to protect floor lamps and other tall items.
  • TV Boxes: These heavy-duty boxes come in various sizes to fit different TV dimensions. They usually have foam padding for added protection.

Remember, the purpose of specialty boxes is to secure uniquely shaped, delicate, or valuable items that could be damaged in the moving process. While they might cost more than standard moving boxes, the additional investment is worth the peace of mind knowing that your items are protected.

Understanding the Weight Capacity of Moving Boxes

High-quality moving boxes should have a clearly-indicated weight capacity. The weight capacity of a moving box is a critical factor to consider when packing your belongings. This refers to the maximum weight a box can hold without risking damage to its structure or the contents within.
Underestimating the weight capacity can lead to overpacking, causing the bottom of the box to give out, and potentially damaging your belongings. Conversely, understanding and adhering to the weight limits of your moving boxes not only ensures their structural integrity but also enhances the safety of your possessions during the move.

Overloading boxes can lead to structural failure and potential damage to the contents. A good box will have a weight limit that is appropriate for the size and material.

How to Assemble High-Quality Moving Boxes

Setting up moving boxes should be straightforward and hassle-free when working with the right materials. Boxes should be easy to assemble without the need for excessive taping or special tools. Look for boxes that have pre-scored folding lines and easy-to-follow instructions for quick setup.

Let’s discuss how other elements such as reinforced handles and cardboard box closures can affect moving box assembly.

Reinforced Handles in Moving Boxes

Handles on the sides of the boxes make them easier to lift and carry. Reinforced handles are essential to have on moving boxes, especially when transporting heavier items. This is where cheap moving boxes without reinforced handles could have a negative impact on your move. If using cheap moving boxes from your local big box store, pay attention to the handles on the sides. They should be designed to withstand the weight without tearing or breaking.

Cardboard Box Closures

The closure mechanism of cardboard boxes, typically flaps that fold over each other, should be sturdy and secure. It's common to seal boxes with packing tape to prevent items from falling out during transit. Choosing a moving box with an easy yet secure closure system can further streamline the packing process and enhance the overall moving experience.

Stacking Moving Boxes: Maximizing Space and Ensuring Safe Transit

Stackability is a key feature to consider when choosing moving boxes. High-quality moving boxes should be designed to stack securely without collapsing under the weight of other boxes. Not only does this help to maximize space in the moving vehicle, but it also keeps your items safe during transit.

A box may not be stackable for several reasons, primarily related to its construction and design. Boxes with irregular shapes, rounded corners, or sloped sides are not conducive to stackability; they lack the uniformity to neatly align atop each other. Similarly, boxes made from thin or weak cardboard material are prone to collapsing under the weight of additional boxes, rendering them unsuitable for stacking. Additionally, boxes that have been previously used or damaged, resulting in weakened structure and compromised integrity, are less reliable when stacked. Lastly, a box overstuffed or poorly packed with items can bulge or deform, complicating stacking efforts. It's crucial to consider these factors when planning for a move to ensure the safe transit of belongings.

Tips for Labeling Your Moving Boxes

Proper labeling is essentially the final touch of the packing process, serving as a critical tool for identification and organization. Not only does it simplify the task for movers, but it also helps you keep track of your belongings during the transit, making the unpacking process more efficient.

  1. Be Clear and Specific: Always use a marker or pen that won't smudge or fade. Be as specific as possible when writing. For example, instead of writing 'kitchen', you could write 'kitchen - plates and glasses'.
  2. Color Code by Room: Assign a different color to each room. You can use colored markers or colored sticky notes to differentiate between boxes for different rooms. This system can make the unpacking process faster and more efficient.
  3. Label All Sides: Don't just label the top of the box. Make sure to label at least two sides so you can still identify each box, even if they're stacked.
  4. Use a Numbering System: Consider numbering your boxes in addition to labeling them by contents. You can keep a detailed inventory of what's in each box by number. This extra step can provide peace of mind, especially during a long-distance move.
  5. Indicate 'Fragile' or 'This Side Up': Any boxes containing fragile items should be clearly marked. Also, if it matters which way up a box should be, make sure to indicate that on the box as well.
  6. Label Boxes That Are Essential: Moving boxes containing essential items such as toiletries, basic kitchen supplies, and clothes should be clearly identifiable. Mark them as 'essentials' or 'open first'. This will make your first few days in the new home much easier.

Choose Eco-Friendly Moving Boxes

In an era of heightened environmental awareness, choosing eco-friendly moving boxes is a responsible, sustainable choice. These boxes, often made of recycled or biodegradable materials, are just as sturdy and reliable as their less recyclable counterparts while reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills. You should opt for boxes made from recycled materials that are recyclable after use. This choice is both environmentally friendly and responsible. So, not only do you ensure your items' safety during transit, but you also contribute to protecting our planet's resources, establishing a win-win scenario.

Choose the Right Moving Boxes With Confidence

Remember that a great moving box is just one part of a successful move. Proper packing techniques, using appropriate packing materials (such as bubble wrap, packing paper, and tape), and careful handling also play significant roles in ensuring your belongings arrive safely at their new destination. For more packing tips, check out this blog post on the subject.