Wow! I just wrote a whole chapter about the importance of obtaining plenty of boxes, and did some research on how to find free boxes. I thought I was the expert on hunting them down, but I was WRONG! But I am on my way to being the expert after doing the research. This link has a bunch of good suggestions, including going to Starbucks and MacDonalds.
I would add the following:
Find the stores that always have boxes on hand. Locally, we have Harps and IGA. They store the boxes in the back. You just have to talk to the manager. When you are in the area–stop buy and see what they have. Or ask them to save them. Some stores have separate box storage–at harps, you find egg boxes at one end, and produce boxes at the other. Ask the manager.
Call moving places and other places. You might be able to “rent” the boxes–the ones you don’t use you can bring back.
Check your health food stores. They have some nice small boxes, often–as well as produce. Our local co-op usually smashes them pretty quickly, but if you call and ask them to save, they might do so.
Gift stores and cosmetic stories. They have a variety of sizes that can nicely nest within each other. I find that a large variety always makes sorting easier.
Aldis: They have the best shallow boxes around, and shallow boxes are a whole topic in themselves for usefulness. I guarantee you, if you follow my Downsize Fast! system, you will want shallow boxes for easier sorting and separating. I always go to the produce section, and spend a little time re-sorting produce so that boxes are empty–and do the same with boxes all around the store. The employees are grateful! You can also ask a clerk where to get boxes–they may have some in the back or in large cage like carts that they pull around the store.
Sometimes, if you are very lucky–you will find boxes with removable lids, or lots of boxes the same shape. Ask the manager what they have available. They are more than happy not to have to break down boxes.
Walmart: They usually break down boxes quickly, but I got very fortunate one time because their box smashing machine was broken. I got a variety of wonderful boxes, including shallow ones the closed. Remember–you just never know what size item you want to pack up–the more you can pack and stack–the better! You can also ask someone in customer service or any associate where to get boxes–they will most likely call for you and direct you.
Wow! I didn’t realize I knew so much about boxes. No wonder I thought I was an expert! But there is always more to learn–and I hope you will add your comments to this one. No more shortage of boxes!