Picture yourself before a move: You think you’re prepared because you’ve decluttered and even sorted through most of your things, right? But now it’s finally showtime and the most crucial moment has arrived: You need to get started with some actual packing. Cue dramatic music.

Suddenly, you find yourself unsure about your whole plan and panic while wondering how exactly you’re supposed to pack all your stuff safely and efficiently — and what you need to pack everything in. After all, you need to make sure all your things arrive in one piece . . .

Sound familiar? Fear not. Here’s everything you need to know about moving supplies. 

What supplies do I need to move? 

You’re probably already familiar with the essentials: boxes and tape. What you may not have considered is what other moving materials (such as special wrapping supplies) you could need, depending on how fragile and valuable your belongings are.

Depending on what you plan on moving with you, you could also need:

  • Mattress bags: People don’t usually think about this, but moving your mattress “naked” can easily get it dirty and even damaged. Don’t risk it (mattresses aren’t cheap!) Instead, protect it with a special bag.
  • Sofa and chair covers: Ditto for any other upholstered furniture. If it can get dirty, you better protect it well (unless you want to spend a small fortune on cleaning fees right before settling into your new place).
  • Moving blankets: These are perfect to put underneath your heavy furniture or against the walls of your moving truck or container to prevent damage. Not only do they keep floors from getting scuffed or scratched (keeping the value of your floors high and preventing any move-out charges if you’re renting), they make it easy to slide that dresser or wardrobe around. Save your lifting for the gym. 
  • Bubble cushioning roll: Essential for any ceramics, art, or other fragile decor (and random small items) you own.
  • Packing paper: Great for covering delicate items and also for stuffing boxes so things don’t move around while in transit.
  • Stretch wrap: The easiest way to wrap many items, as it saves you the need for tape. It’s also great for space optimization because it’s the least bulky of all the protective options.
  • Moisture-absorbent pouches: Not everyone needs this, but it’s always a good idea if you’re in a particularly humid location (hello, Southeast) or you think your things will be traveling or stuck in storage for more than a few days.
  • Rope: You never think you need it until you do, and it’s handier than you’d expect it to be.
  • Scissors and a thick marker: For obvious reasons . . .
Insider Tip: You can find moving packing supplies (and more!) at PODS Boxes, our specialized moving supply store for all your moving needs. The best part? We also save you the hassle of trying to figure out how much of each thing you need with our PODS Container Kits!

Where can I get boxes for free? 

If you want to recycle used boxes, the safest bet is to reach out to stores you frequent in your area. Grocery stores, bookstores, and liquor stores are some of the places where it’s usually easy to charm someone into giving you the boxes they free up when they receive new inventory.

We advise against trying to get boxes at large megastores, however, as they usually have corporate policies forbidding that sort of thing. A smaller shop in your neighborhood is a much better bet (especially if the employees already know you from being a customer there).

Another free option (or at least cheaper than a regular supplies shop) is looking in places such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. There are often people listing all sorts of things after a move when they no longer need them.

Be aware that used boxes may be dilapidated or damaged. Stores don’t have much motivation to keep their boxes in good shape, as they’re usually disposed of same-day. If you need sturdy, reliable boxes, a new one is your best bet.

What to use instead of boxes when moving 

Boxes are, of course, important for moving, and they’re usually the easiest and most convenient choice, but there are more options out there for you if you have specific needs or preferences.

Consider plastic bins and crates, for example. Even if you don’t want to invest in them (because they can get pricey fast!), there are places out there where you can rent some for your move. If you do want to invest in some more durable storage options, however, make sure to buy containers you can easily re-use to organize your garage and closets once you’re in your new place.

You could also use your regular travel bags to keep your essentials by your side. This can be especially important if your move is more logistically complicated and you won’t have access to all your things right away. They’re also designed to be easy to move around, so keep that in mind if you’re flying solo.

Close up of a man holding his cell phone and viewing the home screen of PODSboxes.com. He is about to order moving supplies and have them delivered right to his house. There is a PODS moving and storage container in the driveway which is visible through the window.

The best place to get everything you need

Want to know where to get moving boxes and other packing supplies? While there are plenty of places with moving boxes for sale, look no further than PODS and our very own PODS Boxes for all your needs! 

PODSboxes.com is your one-stop-shop for moving supplies. You can get a container kit with all the boxes and other supplies you’ll need to fill your PODS container, or choose from our wide selection of boxes, blankets, and other PODS moving supplies to personalize your selection. Everything will even be delivered right to your door — free of charge! Come on, you know you can’t beat that!

Pro Tip: Ready to get started? Make sure you don’t miss anything by using this handy essential moving and packing supplies checklist.

If you’re still looking for ways to make your move go as smoothly as possible, make sure to check out the PODS Blog for everything you need. From how to prepare for a move to how to decorate once you’re in your new place, we tell you everything you didn’t even realize you should know!


Ivonne Spinoza is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor to the PODS Blog. Her work has appeared in Matador Network, PBS’ Independent Lens, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. When she’s not snuggling her cats, she’s either Kondo-ing someone’s life or fighting jet lag at some airport.

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