The One Thing You’re Throwing Away, But Definitely Shouldn’t

When it comes to moving, there’s a very delicate balance of organizing your belongings for packing and, you know, living in your space until move-out day. My trick to staying organized (and sane) is making sure you have proper packing materials ready to go when boxing day comes—but also finding sneaky ways of storing them so they’re not in the way. I love packing clothing in suitcases and I still have plastic bins from my college dorm room I keep in my closet. But my greatest moving secret? The black garbage bag underneath my bed with at least a dozen flattened cardboard boxes.

I learned this lesson after I tried packing up a studio apartment using tote bags and other small containers. When you need to make a dent in packing, small duffels won’t do it. There’s a reason boxes work: They’re large enough to fit your stuff, they’re easy to label, and they can break down and be stored away after you’ve finished unpacking. Having a stash of them means you’re saving yourself a schlep to FedEx in search of a big cardboard box, trips back and forth from your apartment to the truck. Your space also will feel less overwhelmingly cluttered, because, of course, they stack vertically.

If your mental health isn’t a good reason enough, you’ll also save a good amount of money during your next move. On Amazon, a pack of moving boxes costs around $30, and if you have to pick them up on a last-minute run FedEx, they’ll run closer to between $5 and $12 per box. Not to mention, if you’ve used the boxes before, hopefully they’ll already be labeled with what you’d like to pack inside, so you can get organized quickly.

If you have yet to start your box packing collection, not to worry! There are many places you can get moving boxes for free—my personal favorite place is to get them from my workplace, as copy boxes have convenient lids and handles that make it easy to move boxes around. (Of course, you’ll want to make sure the boxes are sturdy and haven’t gotten too much wear and tear.) When it comes time to store, the crease between the wall and the fridge is a great spot to keep them out of the way, or if you’re lucky enough to have a basement or large utility closet, those spots are perfect as well. Make sure to store them in a heavy-duty garbage bag or other plastic wrap to prevent any water or other damage.

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