How to Care for and Reuse Cardboard Moving Boxes

Over the past 20 years I’ve moved seven times, soon to be eight! It looks something like this: condo to apartment to house to small house, to larger house to very large house, to town home to large house. In my current garage I have flattened cardboard boxes that have weathered several of those moves, and some that have been loaned out to friends and family movers, and then returned! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if good quality cardboard boxes followed me from home to home all of my life – with some TLC of course. With International Earth Day just around the corner (April 22nd) I thought it would be appropriate to write about the many benefits of reusing cardboard.

Reuse Cardboard Moving Boxes After Moving

Most of us purchase cardboard boxes for moving. While cardboard itself is not damaging to the environment, the ink on the cardboard is not as eco-friendly. We still have a long way to go before all box printing is using toxic-free ink. However, cardboard is recyclable and is incredibly versatile. For moving, there’s nothing better. Cardboard boxes are fairly inexpensive, easily stored for future use, and can serve numerous other functions in between moves.

Any Box Today has a list of 101 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Cardboard, some of which are ideal for people who are looking for multiple purpose uses for their boxes, in between using them for moving house: storage, clothing donation bin, decorated laundry hamper, or even goal posts in a pinch!

Other uses are more permanent, so if you are planning to stay in your house forever and have 25 boxes to find uses for, consider giving them away to someone who can use them for moving or storage, or some of these smart, and even unlikely, uses: ground mat for working under a car or gardening, tin foil sun-tanning shield, snow-fort bedding, shipping container, or surface mat for kids crafts. You Move Me has considered the fun that can be had with cardboard boxes and integrated a wardrobe box that doubles as a kid’s spaceship fort, into its line of packing boxes.

Once a Moving Box, Always a Moving Box

The first time you use your new boxes, label them with a dark, wide-tip marker so that movers and packers can clearly see where the boxes go. The next time you move, reuse each box for the same room and contents. If you find that this process isn’t practical and the label on the box no longer applies, an easy solution is to affix packing slip pouches over the old labelling and just update with the information on a piece of paper inside the pouch. Voila! Custom-label.

When collapsing boxes, the friendliest method for the longevity of your box, is to use a small, sharp pocket knife to cleanly cut the tape that connects the box flaps. Do not tear off the tape, tempting as this can be without a utensil nearby. This will only shred the box fibres and you won’t get the future use you’d like.
Happy moving!

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