Guide For Purchasing Packing Supplies

8 minute read
Reading Time: 8 minutes

When hiring house packing services, you can expect them to come prepared with packing supplies you probably never seen before. Don’t think packing is just throwing things into boxes and shutting them down with tape is the only thing you need to do.

Packing is really an art form and it requires your time and dedication, and when you hire a professional house packing service, they will come with appropriate size boxes, tape, wrapping paper for your fragile items, labeling stickers, etc. You can’t move without boxes, but picking the right ones and getting enough for your move, that can feel overwhelming.

Pile of boxes

Using proper supplies for your move is important if you want to save your belongings from potential damage. You don’t know what happens to your stuff once they are in the truck, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Using the right boxes and finding them can sometimes be a challenge, if you don’t save enough time for it. With so many choices online and in stores, how do you know where to start? 


How many boxes should you buy?

Before you order moving supplies, you need to estimate approximately how many boxes will you require for your move.

If your home has more to pack than the average home, you should always buy a little bit extra, just to make sure you have enough.

Studio/One bedroom apartment

If you have a studio, or a one bedroom apartment, you should buy 8 small, 6 medium, and 4 large boxes. If you have an average amount of clothing, you would require 2 wardrobe boxes. One dish pack will be enough to pack the amount of dishes a small apartment can have.

If you have more clothing than a typical American, you can always buy more wardrobe boxes. Check with your moving company if they offer some for free.

2 bedroom apartment

The bigger the place, the bigger the number of boxes required. For a two bedroom apartment, you should have 10 small, 8 medium, 6 large boxes. As for the wardrobe, for a typical 2 bedroom place would require 4 wardrobe boxes, and 3 dish packs. 

person lying in a pile of boxes

4 bedroom apartment

18 small, 15 medium, 15 large boxes, and around 6-7 wardrobe boxes.

5+ bedroom apartment

30+ small boxes, 25 medium, and 20+ large boxes. Usually 8 wardrobe boxes are enough, but if you are not sure, get 10 and stay on a safe side.

Having a variety of boxes means you’ll always have the perfect one for every item. Here are some additional boxes you want to have on hand:

Speciality boxes are ideal for strange items, or those that need extra protection.

Wardrobe — A big box with a rod across the top for hanging clothes (tip: place shoes, belts and purses in the bottom). 

  • Dish pack — Medium-sized with partitions to hold fragile things like cups and mugs.
  • Mirror & Picture — Thin, flat and designed to hold artwork and mirrors. These are typically adjustable to fit a variety of sizes.  
  • TV — These are designed to protect flat-screen TVs — most will extend to fit a 32”-70” TV. 
  • Lamp — Made to protect lamps and other tall items.  
  • Office/file — Small to medium boxes that usually have handles and removable tops.

    Standard boxes usually come in sizes from small to large:
  • Small — Measure around 16″ x 12″ x 12″. These are ideal for packing things like books, CDs and DVDs, and kitchen gadgets. 
  • Medium — Measure around 18″ x 16″ x 18″ and are great for things like towels and decorative items. 
  • Large — Measure around 18″ x 18″ x 24. They hold items like small appliances, bedding, drapes, and smaller pillows.

Extra-large — Measure around 24″ x 20″ x 24″ to hold big, lightweight items like comforters, pillows and sports equipment.

woman lying in a pile of boxes

Where to get boxes?

You can buy professional moving boxes online or at hardware stores. If you are looking for free boxes, you can ask your friends to give you their boxes from their previous move, or you  can ask your local supermarket if they have some boxes they can give away. Purchasing boxes through a moving company is the easiest and most efficient way to obtain boxes for your move.

So in general, the number of boxes you require for your upcoming move depend on:

#Number of rooms

The more rooms you have in your home, more boxes will be required to pack them. The number of bedrooms in your home is typically a way to calculate to determine the estimate.

#Number of year living in your home

The longer you lived there, the more stuff will have to be packed. A house you have lived in for 20 years versus 2 years will have more items, which means more boxes. This might be a good time to declutter.

#Number of people

Again, it’s all about numbers. The more people living in your home, the more personal belongings there will be to pack.

#Square footage

Another great way to estimate the number of boxes for your move is the square footage. Consider the amount of overall space in your home.

packing paper in a box

Packing paper

It’s an economical and efficient packing supply that protects your belongings when packing them into moving boxes. It can protect everything from kitchenware and wine glasses to electronics and small appliances. It can also be used to fill in gaps and empty spaces between the box and items so that your belongings don’t shift while in transit.

Man finished packing a box

Packing tape

It’s important that you invest in durable, high quality tape. Otherwise, you could end up with broken boxes and belongings. Packing tape should be strong enough to hold a box together even in the worst of conditions.

It can also be used to secure packing paper and bubble cushioning around belongings packed inside boxes. Keep in mind, your belongings will move during transit and you need a strong tape to hold the box together.

Packing with bubble wrap

Bubble wrap

Packing paper isn’t the best to use on fragile items. Fragile belongings such as antiques, china, porcelain, crystal, etc, will need bubble cushioning to properly protect them. Bubble cushioning rolls tend to be a bit more expensive than packing paper, but you may only need a small amount to properly protect items. The air pockets in bubble cushioning provide a buffer between the item and its surroundings while in the box.

labeling summer clothes

Labeling stickers or a marker

Whether you prefer to label boxes with a marker or attach color-coded moving labels, or just use stickers, it’s important to have some labeling strategy.

Tool kit

It never hurts to have a tool kit nearby when moving to a new home. Whether you need tools to disassemble the furniture or hang art on the wall, you can bet that you’ll be using this tool kit at least once. Make sure the kit includes a screwdriver, a hammer, nails, screws, wrench and a drill.

tape and scissors on a box

Other helpful supplies and equipment

In addition to all the packing supplies listed above, there are other useful supplies you can use. When you hire a professional house packing service, they will come prepared and have all listed supplies.

Storage bins or boxes

In addition to cardboard boxes, you may want to purchase a few storage bins and plastic totes for moving and storing items after the move. Bins and totes are more durable, and can be used for moving and storing everything from clothes and linens to pantry foods and tools. Keep in mind though, that while incredibly useful, bins and totes do tend to be more expensive than cardboard boxes.

Moving blankets

Other helpful items to have when moving yourself are moving blankets. These thick blankets can be used to cover and protect furniture when moving items on and off a truck.

mover moving boxes on a dolly


Appliance dollies, furniture dollies and smaller hand-trucks are especially helpful when moving yourself. If you don’t have several helpers, then you’re going to need a dolly to move heavy items on and off the moving truck.

Furniture pads

Need to slide a chair, couch or table across the home? Attaching furniture pads underneath the legs/feet of your belongings makes it easy to move heavy pieces of furniture with little to no help.

Moving straps

Renting moving straps is an absolute must when moving heavy items during a DIY move. These straps will help you to use the right form when lifting large pieces of furniture, thus preventing bodily injuries.

Where to find moving supplies?

amazon box


You can always order a bunch of boxes, wrapping paper, and other moving supplies from Amazon. The online retail giant offers numerous cardboard box brands, including Bankers Box, Cheap! Cheap! Moving Boxes, AmazonBasics, Uboxes and more. It also sells every type of moving necessity and equipment imaginable. In addition, shipping is typically quite fast with most Amazon orders.

Home depot

Whether it’s a tool kit or a moving box you need, Home Depot has it all. They sell a wide variety of moving boxes – everything from regular cardboard boxes to wardrobe boxes – and numerous tools, household necessities and cleaning supplies.


Looking for moving box kits and DIY moving equipment? We recommend looking at U-Haul’s many moving supplies offered both in-store and online. Customers do not have to rent a truck to purchase moving supplies from U-Haul.

The store offers boxes, packing tape, tie-downs, plastic stretch wrap, packing paper, furniture pads and much more for sale. Customers can also purchase necessary DIY moving equipment, including dollies and hand trucks.


One of the most well-known big box retailers is also one of the best places to find moving supplies and equipment. The store offers numerous moving box brands at all different price points for every budget. Popular items to buy from Walmart include packing tape, shipping labels, cleaning supplies, bubble cushioning and moving boxes. The store is also a great place to stock up on storage bins and totes.

A smooth packing and moving experience requires gathering the necessary supplies. Get your moving supplies ahead of time so you can enjoy a safe, well-organized move. If possible, prepare for this step six weeks before your move date.

couple hugging near a pile of boxes

Where to find free moving boxes?

  • Ask your friends or family if they have any boxes to spare from their previous move;
  • Go to your local supermarket and ask them for boxes;
  • Facebook market;
  • Craigslist;
  • Freecycle;
  • U-haul;
  • From retailers;
  • Office buildings;
  • Yard sales;