How to move without boxes

What’s one of the first images that will pop up in your head when you hear about the task of packing for a move? Cardboard boxes, right? Right.

It’s a well-known fact that cardboard boxes are often associated with the home moving process in general, and there are a number of good reasons for that too: boxes happen to be 1) practically everywhere, 2) relatively cheap, 3) extremely versatile, and 4) exceptionally useful. It’s little wonder then that, whenever the time to move house comes around, everybody starts looking for boxes made of cardboard for packing and transporting their stuff.

However, despite the indisputable advantages of cardboard containers, you may wish to learn how to pack without boxes. And if that is the case, then all you need to do is continue reading to find out how moving without using boxes is an option that could work out well for you.

Why moving without cardboard boxes may be a good option for you

Almost all packing tips and advice you’ll read online or hear from friends are based on the assumption that you will be using cardboard boxes to pack up your things. After all, we have already covered the topic of where you can find FREE cardboard boxes in decent condition. Moving out on a budget is the single reason you should ultimately follow the beaten path and get hold of free or cheap cardboard boxes like the majority of your fellow home movers. A price can’t get any better than free.

Well, it’s not always that simple. Here are a few possible reasons why you may choose to pack without cardboard boxes and decide to use alternate containers instead:

  • Insufficient time. There are several good ways to find cardboard boxes for free (specialized websites, friends, local businesses, etc.) but all of them will require time – time you may not have. If you must move out in a hurry, then somehow going around local supermarkets and home depot stores and bookstores and asking for free cardboard containers just won’t work for you. Searching for free boxes online on websites such as Freecycle and Craigslist can also take quite a lot of time.
  • Lack of hunt-down desire or recycling energy. It’ll usually take a lot of effort to carry out your strategic plan to find free moving boxes, and sometimes you may not be willing to invest that kind of energy for something that you can do without. Also, you’ll need to recycle most of the cardboard containers once you’re done with unpacking anyway, which means extra lost time and wasted efforts too. Soon enough, you’ll know how to move without boxes so that you won’t have to add another stressing task in your interactive moving checklist.
  • Brand new boxes can be expensive. Purchasing several new cardboard boxes won’t hurt your budget much, but buying 40-50 brand new boxes to pack up your entire home will cause a sudden surge in your moving expenses. Packing without boxes, that is packing with alternate packing containers you already have in your home or can get very cheaply, can help you keep your packing costs within reasonable limits.

What mistakes to avoid when packing for a move

How to move house without boxes

Packing things without boxes is only possible if you substitute the cardboard boxes for other types of containers. After all, you will still need something to put your household items into and transport them safely until you reach the new home. Be mindful that moving your stuff without any suitable receptacles will lead to a disorganized mess and many damaged items as well.

These 10 great substitutes for cardboard boxes will help you move… without boxes.

1. Suitcases

Suitcases are great for keeping your clothes intact, but they can do an even better job in transporting your heavy books, especially if you own travel suitcases with small wheels on the bottom. Suitcases can also hold compact yet heavy items such as certain kitchen appliances or computer peripheral devices.

2. Backpacks and travel bags

Backpacks and travel bags are perfect for keeping small valuables that you’d hate to see lost or damaged during the move. Use packing paper or bubble wrap to protect small and fragile items that you value very much, including jewelry pieces if you don’t have a jewelry box, and place them inside your well-padded hiking or city backpacks, or travel bags.

3. Briefcases

Use your briefcase to transport all important documents in your home – personal documents, employment documents, housing documents, financial and medical documents, and so on. Also, don’t forget to safeguard in your briefcase all the move-related documentation such as moving contracts, price estimates, inventory sheets, receipts, and so on.

4. Shopping bags

Shopping bags – heavy duty ones that are made of synthetic materials – can do a decent job of replacing standard cardboard boxes. If you have such durable shopping bags in your home, don’t hesitate to use them to pack almost anything you can think of. They are cheap, accessible, flexible, and can pack easily in your own car or on the back of a moving vehicle.

5. Tote bags

Large tote bags can really do an outstanding job in keeping and protecting your things if you’ve made a conscious choice to pack for a move without boxes. They can hold almost anything but you need to make sure the items you do place inside have been protected with packing paper and/or bubble wrap. Also, don’t forget to seal your tote bags well on the top.

6. Trash bags

Clean garbage bags are super cheap and they can be used for transporting soft items that are not breakable in any way – clothes, shoes, bedding, etc. Trash bags are ideal for quick packing of your hanging clothes straight from the wardrobe or dresser, together with their hangers and all. Keep in mind that garbage bags can get damaged (ripped) pretty easily.

7. Vacuum bags

Use vacuum bags to shrink down the volume of your bedding (pillows, comforters, blankets, towels, sheets, etc.), and clothes that take plenty of space (jackets, winter coats, etc.). This way, you can pack a good number of voluminous soft goods in a couple of large vacuum bags instead of using many big cardboard boxes.

8. Baskets and hampers

Baskets and hampers can be used for packing and moving all types of kitchenware – from small electric appliances to fragile items such as glasses and kitchen plates. Remember to wrap each breakable item in packing paper and then bubble wrap before arranging it in the basket. No need to wonder where to pack your shoes either.

9. Plastic bins

Moving without boxes can be a bit tricky… until you get your hands on plastic storage bins. Those bins can be purchased at many stores and the good news is that they can be re-used over and over again. They offer good storage capacity to organize your items, they are durable (made from tough plastic), they are water-proof and can stack really well inside a moving vehicle.

Other great substitutes for large cardboard boxes are (blue) recycling plastic bins.

10. Dresser drawers

Interestingly enough, a cool packing hack when moving house is to leave some dresser drawers or desk drawers full of the things they hold inside. As long as their content is not fragile, you can just use a bit of stretch wrap to secure the drawers and thus keep them from opening during transport.

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