Whether you hire a mover or rent a truck, expenses for moving can add up. Packing supplies is one of these major expenses. There are boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, packing paper, etc. to buy. While tape can't be re-used, the rest of these items can be had for free if you know where to look.
1. The best source for finding free boxes and packing items is Craig's List. Create an account, find your city, and start looking. Do a search for "Free boxes" or "Free moving boxes." Or create your own posting, asking for free packing materials. Often, people who moved themselves have plenty of boxes sitting flattened in their garage, just waiting to be picked up.
2. Visit Free Cardboard Boxes online. You can post a listing looking for/or to get rid of used boxes. Just keep in mind that they may not be in great shape.
3. Ask friends and family who have recently moved or will be moving before you. If they use a mover, then they might have to return the boxes for a refund. If not, ask if you can have them. They may also have bubble wrap and paper for you. Ask around before they move, so they don't throw anything away.
4. Start collecting materials months ahead of time when you know you are moving. Whenever you get something shipped, save the boxes and packaging. Keep small ones too, as they are good for packing delicate or small items inside larger boxes.
5. Visit your local grocer or liquor store. The produce and liquor boxes are very sturdy and great for books and dishes. Always check for insects in any boxes you pick up from your grocer, as they may have come in with the produce.
6. Look around work—either your own employer or friends/family's employers. Companies often get office supplies or other items shipped to them. Ask if they will put aside boxes for you.
7. Make your own packing materials. Save your newspapers for stuffing boxes, but don't use for wrapping anything that might get dirty from the newsprint. When you shred papers, save the shredding in plastic bags. Use the shredded paper for cushioning your breakables like platters, casseroles or lamps.