How to Reuse Your Old Moving Boxes

One of the last steps in any move is deciding what to do with all of your leftover cardboard boxes. You don’t even have to have a lot of stuff to wind up with a lot of them. Even if you’ve moved into, say, a modest, one-bedroom apartment, you can easily be left with 60 boxes—or more.

Chances are you had to spend some time or money (or both) gathering your boxes, and if you’re like most people, you probably don’t want to just throw them away. However, if you need to get rid of them, we put together a few suggestions for you. (See end of the article.)

Cardboard boxes can be very handy, however, and if you’d rather repurpose (at least a few of) your boxes instead of recycling them, we’ve compiled a list of fun ways to do that, too.

Check out these ideas:

  • Cardboard boxes are great for upgrading and reorganizing your storage efforts. Consider keeping some for storing things like Christmas decorations, books, photos, personal documents, clothes, dishes, bedding, your kids’ art projects, Halloween costumes, keepsakes, or anything else you can think of. Just be sure to clearly label each box before you close, tape, and/or stack it.
  • Boxes can come in handy when you need to wrap hard-to-wrap birthday or holiday gifts.
  • Do you mail a lot of things throughout the year? Set aside some boxes for shipping purposes. You can also cut up some cardboard to help protect or secure any photos or other fragile items that you’ll be mailing.
  • Are you planning to have a yard sale anytime soon? Keep some boxes to throw similarly priced items into or to cut up and make signs.
  • Gather up your extra pantry items and make some food boxes to donate to a local shelter or charity. You can also use boxes to collect school supplies for local students or gifts for needy folks around the holidays.
  • Huge boxes can make excellent playhouses, dollhouses, or forts for kids. You can also use a big box to make a cool amusement park-style shootout game. Simply cut out a window and make a ledge with tape or glue. Kids can line up objects on the ledge, and then use a ball, rubber band, or foam bullet gun to knock them down.
  • Are you attending a Halloween party this year? Use several cardboard boxes to create the perfect retro robot costume.
  • No trip to go sledding down a huge grass hill is complete without a huge piece of cardboard. You can also use one to slide down stairs.
  • You probably can’t keep a big, wooden dog house inside your house, but your dog or cat would surely appreciate a big cardboard box to nap and/or play in.
  • Speaking of cats, if you want them to stop scratching your furniture or carpets, create some scratching posts and/or pads by spraying some catnip on a few strips of cardboard, and then place the strips around your house.
  • Make sure you put some cardboard down whenever you need to paint or spray paint something in the driveway or garage.
  • Do you change your own oil? Lay some cardboard down under your vehicle before you do. A piece of cardboard can also help you locate and identify any leaks that your car may have.
  • If you don’t currently have an emergency kit, grab a small box and fill it up with jumper cables, gloves, a flashlight, poncho(s), road flares, maps, and first aid supplies, and keep the box in your trunk.
  • If you spend any time catching rays on your porch or patio, use a piece of cardboard to create a tin foil tanning shield.
  • Do you do any gardening? A piece of cardboard can serve as a great mat for protecting your knees from pain and your pants from dirt. You can also use cardboard to cover and kill weeds.
  • You can use a cardboard box as a composting bin. Here are some tips on how to create one.
  • Cardboard boxes are great for protecting tables, floors, or other surfaces when you are doing crafts. If you’ll be working with paint, glue, or anything messy, put down some cardboard first.
  • You can create a temporary easel by attaching clothespins to a cardboard box.
  • Whether you frame them or not, you can keep your posters looking crisp by gluing them to some cardboard.
  • Cardboard is great for making decorative frames or baskets. You can find tons of examples on Pinterest.
  • Make some cool storage boxes by dress up some cardboard boxes with paint, markers, or other craft material. Click here for some ideas.
  • Need a place to drop your keys, wallet, or phone when you come home? Make this handy desktop organizer.
  • You can turn scraps of cardboard into cool, faux metal letters. Learn how here.
  • Last but not least, no home is complete without cardboard deer head hanging on the wall.

Prefer Recycling to Repurposing?
If you simply need to get rid of your boxes, here are some options:

  • Offer them to friends, family, or coworkers who might need some.
  • Perhaps one of your neighbors is planning an upcoming move. Post some flyers in your neighborhood or apartment building. You might be able to leave some box in your rental office.
  • Try to sell them, trade them, or give them away on Craigslist.
  • Do you live near a school? Donate them to the art program.
  • If all else fails, try to drop some off at your local recycling center.

Bellhops are handpicked, hardworking movers who make moving affordable for everyone. Book Bellhops online in minutes and save half the cost compared to hiring a traditional moving company.

We hope you found this article helpful. Is there anything you’d like us to write about? Email our editor at

Subscribe for weekly updates.