Should I Use Cardboard Boxes or Plastic Boxes?

A couple in their new home surrounded by moving boxes

Everyone has their preferences for preparing to move, but is there a correct way to pack and move belongings? The simple answer is no, but there are ways to efficiently pack while keeping your items protected against damage. When you rent with Prime Storage, you’ll find various packing supplies available for purchase onsite at many of our storage facilities. Here are some of our tips when it comes to choosing cardboard boxes or plastic boxes.

Benefits of Using Cardboard Boxes

A senior couple carrying cardboard boxes in their new home.

Cardboard boxes are the go-to for many movers because they’re inexpensive and lightweight. Although it takes effort to assemble cardboard boxes, they are durable and can be great for transporting breakable items, such as ornaments and drinking glasses. How? By using cardboard dividers made explicitly for these boxes, you can create individual “cells” that can keep fragile items separated from one another. You can use bubble wrap, packing paper, or foam pouches to add an additional layer of protection.

Cardboard boxes are quite affordable, too. They’re a cost-effective storage solution when you need to purchase many at once. They’re also readily available to purchase at most Prime Storage locations, so you can save an additional trip to the store (and gas money!) by purchasing your cardboard boxes at the facility.

Additionally, cardboard boxes are “easy”: easy to break down – so you won’t need to worry about finding even more space to store your moving supplies – and easy to label! Simply grab a marker and write the contents on the outside of the box. You do not necessarily need to invest in labels.

Disadvantages of Using Cardboard Boxes

Cardboard boxes typically need to be assembled, and while assembly can be quick, it adds another step in the moving process. You may also need to use tape to secure the bottom edges of the box.

Another consideration to make when choosing cardboard boxes or plastic bins is where you will be storing the boxes. Cardboard boxes are a great choice when storing items in a relatively dry space, such as an indoor storage unit or closet at home. Since cardboard is made up of paper fibers, it can become brittle after being damp. And it can be cumbersome to get the moisture out of a cardboard box.

Pros of Using Plastic Boxes

Plastic boxes or containers are not only useful while moving—they are also great for storage. With sturdy handles and durable material, it is easy to fill up tubs with your belongings and carry them from place to place. Plus, these boxes typically last longer than cardboard boxes, are more resistant to moisture, and are easy to clean to reuse.

Another advantage of plastic bins is that they can be multi-purpose. If you’re left with a lot of extra plastic boxes post-move, you can repurpose them in various ways, including a gift wrap storage station, under-the-bed rolling storage, or as overhead storage in your garage.

Cons of Using Plastic Boxes

While plastic boxes can be handy, there are drawbacks to using them for moving. First, plastic boxes can be expensive, especially if you need to buy quite a few.  Additionally, if you do not intend to use the plastic boxes after moving, they will take up space. In that case, cardboard boxes would be easier to flatten out and store for reuse or recycle.

Top Plastic Tote Features to Look For

A plastic storage box in front of a lavender background.

There are a variety of different plastic storage totes out there. Be on the lookout for a few key features to make your search a bit easier.

  • Stackability: Most plastic storage boxes are stackable, allowing for an easy move or to maximize storage space.
  • Wheels: Some plastic boxes come with wheels, which can help eliminate the burden of carrying heavy boxes during a move.
  • Heavy-Duty: If you’re looking to store or transport heavy items, such as camping gear and sporting goods, heavy-duty utility containers will help get the job done. They will also help protect items from moisture or dust.
  • Snap-Fit or Snap-Lock Lids: Keep your eye out for storage bins with “locking” lids. These lids will snap onto the container. This will help ensure that the top doesn’t get separated from the box and keeps everything tucked away inside.

How to Properly Store Cardboard Boxes

When you’re ready to stow away cardboard boxes post-move, there are a few tips to follow to ensure they stay in good shape. Some packing best practices include keeping cardboard boxes clean from any food scraps to prevent bugs and storing boxes in a dry place to avoid moisture damage.

Before putting away your cardboard boxes, make sure to flatten them. A safety tip to remember is to keep the boxes away from flammable items.

Find a Self Storage Unit with Prime Storage

Self storage is a great solution when you need a dedicated space to store items during or after a move. At Prime Storage, we provide moving and packing supplies available for purchase at most of our locations. Life Demands Space®, but the storage process doesn’t have to be complicated. Rent your storage unit today!

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Tagged as  Moving