How many boxes is normal for a move?

Moving to a new home can be an exciting but stressful time. As you start packing up your belongings, you may find yourself wondering just how many boxes you’ll need for the move. Determining the normal number of boxes for a move depends on several factors, including the size of your current home, whether you’re moving locally or long distance, and how many possessions you plan to take with you. Keep reading to learn what’s considered a typical number of boxes for various moving scenarios.

Quick Answer: 15-25 Boxes for a Local Studio or 1-Bedroom Move

If you’re moving locally within the same city and only have a small living space like a studio apartment or 1-bedroom unit, you can likely fit your belongings into 15-25 standard moving boxes. This assumes you’re not taking large furniture items like couches, beds, or dining sets. For a short local move, most items can be packed directly into boxes.

What’s Included in 15-25 Boxes

To give you an idea of what can fit in 15-25 boxes:

  • 5 boxes for a small kitchen – dishes, cookware, appliances, pantry items
  • 3-5 boxes for a 1-bedroom’s worth of clothes and linens
  • 3-5 boxes for bathroom items like towels, toiletries, medications
  • 3-5 boxes for living room knick-knacks, books, decor
  • 3-5 boxes for miscellaneous items like cleaning supplies, tools, seasonal items

You’ll also need packing supplies like tape, padding, and box cutters that can fit into a couple small boxes or reusable totes.

Estimate 30-40 Boxes for a 2-3 Bedroom Local Move

Moving within the same metropolitan area to a larger 2-3 bedroom apartment or house? Plan for approximately 30-40 boxes. This allows for about 10 boxes per bedroom – 5 for clothes and 5 for miscellaneous possessions per room. You’ll also need added boxes for larger kitchens, more furniture, and additional belongings.

Typical Supplies for a Local Move

For local and intrastate moves less than 100 miles, you’ll likely need:

  • 30-40 medium 1.5 cubic ft boxes for easy lifting
  • 5-10 large boxes for bulky items like bedding and decor
  • 10-15 wardrobe boxes for hanging clothes
  • 5-10 plastic tote bins for stackable, waterproof storage
  • Bubble wrap, packing paper, and tape
  • Furniture pads and moving blankets
  • Dollies and hand trucks for moving boxes and furniture

Estimate 50+ Boxes for Interstate Moves

When moving out of state or long distances over 100+ miles, the number of boxes needed increases. Plan for at least 50 boxes for a studio or 1-bedroom interstate move. A 2-3 bedroom apartment will likely need around 60-80 boxes to pack larger possessions.

Long distance moves require more boxes because:

  • You may move items normally left behind like outdoor furniture, garage/hobby tools, sporting goods, etc.
  • Interstate movers have weight limits per box, so lighter boxes are needed.
  • You likely need added protection like peanuts and bubble wrap for a long distance move.
  • Extra boxes may be needed in case anything breaks and requires repacking.

Considerations for Interstate Moving Box Estimates

Factors that can increase your number of boxes for an out-of-state move:

  • Larger homes with 3+ bedrooms, multiple levels, and basements/attics
  • Numerous furniture pieces like sofa sets, dining sets, bedroom sets, etc.
  • Multiple TVs, computers, and electronics
  • Large appliance items like treadmills, grills, etc.
  • Hobby and recreational items like bicycles, sporting goods, etc.
  • Workshop or garage items like tools, hardware, automotive supplies
  • Outdoor furniture, plants, and decor

To estimate boxes: assume you’ll need about 10 boxes per bedroom, 5 boxes per bathroom, 10 boxes for the kitchen, 10 boxes for the living room, 5-10 boxes for decor items, and 10+ boxes for the garage/basement. Easily 100+ boxes for 3+ bedrooms!

Average Number of Boxes for Entire Home Interstate Moves

Home Size Average # of Boxes
Studio apartment 50-70 boxes
1 bedroom apartment or condo 60-90 boxes
2-3 bedroom apartment or house 80-130 boxes
3+ bedroom house 130-180+ boxes
5+ bedroom house 180-300+ boxes

Types of Boxes for Moving

Having the right moving boxes can optimize space while protecting your possessions. Common types include:

  • Medium moving boxes (1.5 cubic ft) – Versatile for most items from books to kitchenware.
  • Dishpack boxes – Sturdy cardboard with dividers to protect dishes and fragile items.
  • Wardrobe boxes – Tall boxes with hanging rods for transporting hanging clothes.
  • Mattress boxes – Large boxes that fully enclose mattresses for protection.
  • Mirror/picture boxes – Specialty boxes with rigid frames to prevent glass damage.
  • TV/electronics boxes – Have protective foam buffers and cutouts for appliances and TVs.
  • Furniture pads – Quilted padding that wraps around furniture to prevent scratches.

Choosing the Right Moving Boxes

Selecting the proper moving boxes for your relocation helps ensure a smooth move. Some tips for choosing boxes:

  • Pick sturdy boxes rated for moving with botton and top flaps for stacking.
  • Variety pack boxes allow you to fit the right box to each item.
  • Pack heavy items in smaller boxes for easier lifting.
  • Use wardrobes and mattress boxes for large awkward items.
  • Get dishpack and mirror boxes for fragile items.
  • Make sure electronics boxes have protective foam.
  • Get different size boxes – don’t pack everything in large boxes.
  • Choose used boxes in good shape to save money.

Estimating Moving Boxes After Packing

The best way to estimate how many boxes you need is to actually start packing room by room. As you pack, make note of how many boxes it takes to pack each room’s contents. This will give you an accurate total number of boxes needed when moving day arrives. An alternate method is to do a visual survey of your home and estimate boxes based on furniture pieces and visible possessions in each room.

Don’t forget that after packing and creating your moving box estimate, you should add at least 10% more boxes in case you need to repack anything last minute or have extra possessions that arise. It’s always better to have leftover boxes than to find you don’t have enough on moving day!

Where to Get Moving Boxes

Once you’ve estimated how many boxes your move will require, it’s time to source those boxes! Here are some options:

  • Moving supply stores – Buy new boxes and supplies from retailers like U-Haul or local moving stores.
  • Online – Order moving box variety packs and supplies from web retailers like Amazon and Walmart.
  • Self-storage facilities – Many offer used boxes for sale or free.
  • Big box stores – Ask for used boxes from large retailers like appliance and furniture stores.
  • Liquor/grocery stores – Wine, beer, and grocery boxes are sturdy for moving when broken down.
  • Friends and family – Ask loved ones if you can have their leftover moving boxes.

For eco-friendly options, try sourcing used boxes from local classified ads, community groups, or recycling centers.

Moving Box Alternatives

If purchasing moving boxes is outside your budget, some alternative packing options include:

  • Laundry baskets and bins for light items like linens and clothes.
  • Garbage bags and bins for sturdy transport of laundry and toys.
  • Suitcases for clothing and personal items.
  • Coolers for fragile kitchenware like glasses.
  • Pillowcases for delicate knick knacks.
  • Tote bags and crates for books and files.

For furniture, blankets and sheets can be used for padding instead of foam. Be creative and use what you have available to transport your possessions on a budget!

DIY Moving Boxes

If you have some basic crafting skills, try making some DIY moving boxes! This takes a bit of effort but can save substantially on moving costs. Options for homemade boxes include:

  • Recycled cardboard boxes sealed with packing tape.
  • Cardboard sheets folded origami style into cubes.
  • Old shipping crates or wood scraps hammered into boxes.
  • Sewing fabric bags with handles using old sheets/curtains.
  • Hard suitcases or storage bins covered in moving blankets.

Get creative with available materials! Even boxes made from salvaged cardboard or sheets can securely transport possessions to your new home.

Tips for Packing Moving Boxes

Once you’ve estimated and obtained moving boxes, proper packing will keep items safe. Useful tips include:

  • Pack similar items together – books in one box, dishes in another.
  • Pack lightly – under 50 lbs per medium box.
  • Use smaller boxes for heavy items like books for easier carrying.
  • Fill empty spaces with packing material – paper, bubble wrap, foam peanuts.
  • Tape bottom and top box flaps securely closed.
  • Label boxes by room and contents for easy unloading.
  • Mark “Fragile” on delicate item boxes.

Taking time to carefully pack boxes makes a smooth, damage-free move much more likely!


Determining the number of boxes needed for your upcoming move depends on many unique factors like home size, moving distance, and possessions. For local studio and 1-bedroom moves, expect around 15-25 boxes. A long distance 3-bedroom house move may require over 100 boxes! Carefully estimate boxes needed room-by-room, obtain sturdy new or used boxes, and properly pack them to have a stress-free and organized relocation.

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