Moving 101: How Many Boxes To Stockpile

One of the hardest parts of moving is, well, the actual moving. Packing up an entire house takes time and elbow grease and, above all, boxes. So how many boxes do you actually need to stockpile to safely move all of your belongings? While it would be great if there was a handy online calculator to answer that very question, this is one of those “it depends” scenarios. Fortunately, there are a few ways to make an educated guess, and I’m sharing them right here.

How to Guesstimate Box Count

Having a general idea of how many boxes you’ll need to beg, borrow or steal will save you time and money. Here’s how to work up a reasonable number:

  • Number of rooms. This is one of the easiest ways to figure out how many boxes you’ll need at a minimum. More rooms? More boxes.
  • Square footage. Same reasoning applies here—the bigger a home, the more boxes you’ll need. If you’re in a small condo, say, 500 to 800 square feet, you might be able to get away with 25 boxes. A 2,000-square-foot house, on the other hand, is going to need quadruple that (at least).
  • Room type. Different rooms are magnets for different types and amounts of belongings. A little inventory in each room can help you figure out how many boxes (and more specifically, their size and type) you’ll need per room. Kitchens and master bedrooms tend to require the most boxes. If you’re moving with kids, teens may have more stuff than toddlers.
  • Lifestyle. Maybe you’re a hobbyist and your closets are filled with pottery, sketch pads and musical instruments. Maybe you have very active children involved in all sorts of sports. Maybe you Marie Kondo’d your whole house just a few months ago. Factoring for your personal lifestyle and what it means in terms of your belongings is one more important consideration when it comes to box count.

Packing Tips

Don’t make the mistake of overfilling boxes just to cut down on how many you need. More likely than not, you’ll end up with torn boxes and damaged or outright broken belongings. It’s also better to have more boxes than not enough, so pad your estimate generously when you’re building your stockpile. 

Moving is a prime time to declutter, so use this opportunity to sort through your things and donate those you no longer use. And the most important tip of all—label your boxes clearly so you know what goes where!

Packing Checklist

It’s easy to get laser focused on stockpiling that mountain of boxes, but you’re going to need a few other things to safely and securely box up all of your belongings. Make a point of grabbing these essentials while you hoard boxes:

  • Packing tape
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing paper

The Bottom Line

A little planning and strategy goes a long way when it comes time to pack up your home, and having a general idea of how many boxes you’ll need is a good first step. Prefer to leave it to the experts? I have some recommendations, so feel free to reach out!

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