Top Common Packing Materials You Already Own & Can Reuse

You may think you need to invest in a ton of packing materials. However, you probably own plenty of things you can use for packing without buying cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, and other supplies.

Before we get into the many common packing materials you already own and can use during your move, it's important to consider how these materials will be used. It's best to use these materials with the green boxes for added eco-friendliness and protection of your things. Renting green boxes will provide a better solution compared to purchasing cardboard boxes.

Here are some of the packing materials you can use that you already own.


You probably already know this, but you can pack up your suitcases for your move. However, don't waste your time using these for just clothing items. Instead, pack heavy electronics, DVDs, books, and games into the suitcases.

The wheels make these easier to move with heavier items. If you have suitcases without wheels, they work great for shoes, boots, and clothing items. You can also pack fragile items between the clothing for added protection.

Plastic Bags

If you're like many people, you have a ton of those plastic bags you get from grocery stores and other stores. These are great for packing up your belongings. They can work to fill in space in boxes or to wrap items up.

In addition, you can use plastic sandwich bags for small items or hardware when taking items apart.

Magazines, Junk Mail, Newspaper, Wrapping Paper

Instead of spending money on bubble wrap or packing paper, use the old magazines, junk mail, newspapers, and gift wrapping paper you already have. All of these items are great for packing and will save you from spending money or creating more waste.


You should never pack an empty hamper as it's simply a waste of space. Your hamper can be filled with toys, shoes, boots and other items. You can secure the top by putting a pillowcase over it or with a plastic sheet.

Towels, Linens, Blankets, and Clothing

When you have fragile items needing to be properly packed and protected, consider the soft items you also need to pack. Blankets, towels, linens, and clothing can all be used as packing materials.

Instead of wasting money on cardboard boxes and bubble wrap, you can rent Green Boxes and use your soft items as the packing materials. Not only will this protect your items well, but it will also give you a sturdier box to pack compared to cardboard.

A few other common packing materials you already own and can reuse include:

  • Twist ties for cords

  • Trash pails

  • Beer/Liquor boxes

  • Tupperware container

  • Baskets

  • Duffle bags, trash bags, backpacks, gift bags, and other bags

  • Drawers

  • Yarn

Anything soft can be used to help protect items, while many of the things you will be packing offer unused space you can use as a "box", such as a hamper or drawers.

These creative solutions, paired with the right Green Boxes will go a long way to making your move more eco-friendly. Make sure you consider what you already own and how you can use it for packing.

Movers using a couch to move other items to save on boxes/supplies

How to Make Your Commercial Move be an Eco-Friendly Project

Moving from one commercial space to another is a big task. Maybe you're moving for a better location or for lower overhead. No matter the reason, you should be looking into how to move in the most eco-friendly way possible. Here are some of the best tips to ensure your commercial move is as eco-friendly as possible.

Use Eco-Friendly Moving Boxes

Your commercial move has to include eco-friendly; reusable moving boxes if you want it to be an eco-friendly project. Using cardboard boxes just won't cut it, even if you recycle those boxes after moving. Not only is cardboard much worse for the environment, but it's also not nearly as strong as green moving boxes.

When you choose green moving boxes, you're using a box that can be reused by many people after you before it must be replaced. You're choosing a box that's rigid and will better protect your business items as you move. It's simply a better choice for the environment and for your overall move.

Choose Eco-Friendly Packing Materials

While it all starts with the boxes, you want to make sure you also use plenty of environmentally-friendly packing materials. Instead of buying rolls of commercial bubble wrap, get biodegradable bubble wrap. You can also use newspaper, egg cartons, blankets, towels, and other reusable items as packing materials.

Hire the Right Green Moving Company

Some moving companies simply don't care about the environment, but others are very eco-friendly. When you choose a moving company committed to eco-friendly practices, they will use trucks running on cleaner fuels and they will provide reusable moving boxes as a part of their business model.

Take the time to look for a commercial moving company willing to go the extra mile for the environment. If they don't have eco-friendly moving practices in place, you may want to keep looking.

Limit the Number of Trips Made

Moving is a big deal and commercial moving usually doesn't mean you're leaving the city. Instead, you may be moving to a bigger location or a better location. You don't need to make a ton of trips in between these two locations to move, however.

Instead of trying to make small trips here and there, make the fewest number of trips possible. When you take fewer trips, you won't use as much fuel and it will be a more eco-friendly move. Don't move things little by little. Hire a moving company to move as much as possible on moving day and if you must move things ahead of time, pack your vehicle as full as you can to eliminate multiple trips.

With the right green moving boxes, the right packing materials, and the right eco-friendly moving company, you can make your commercial move an eco-friendly project. You don't have to let the environment suffer just because you're moving to a better location for your business.

Take the time to use these tips and put other eco-friendly practices in place. Once you're in the new location, you can also implement many new practices to ensure your business is as eco-friendly as possible.

Office Moving button on a keyboard

Make a Difference by Using Green Moving Boxes

Recycling your cardboard boxes after moving is good enough, right? You're still being eco-friendly and helping the environment, at least that's what you think.

You've seen the stats and you know that each ton of recycled cardboard and paper will save 17 trees, about 7,000 gallons of water and free up 3.5 cubic yards of landfill area. This is why you recycle your cardboard boxes after moving but are you really making the difference you think you're making?

Your Recycling Might Not be Recycled Anymore

Due to changes in China, as detailed in this article from The New York Times, when you recycle cardboard, plastic, and paper, it may still be going to the landfill. Since China no longer accepts "foreign garbage" and a large portion of recycled materials from the U.S. were sent to China for processing, your cardboard boxes from moving may end up in a landfill, even if you put them in the recycling bin.

Not All Cardboard can be Recycled

In addition to the fact that your recycling may end up in a landfill, not all cardboard can be recycled. If it gets wet or has something spilled on it, you may not be able to recycle it. This means if you move and it rains or snows on the day of your move, you may end up with boxes that have to go in the garbage, not the recycling.

A pile of destroyed cardboard moving boxes

Just because you plan to recycle cardboard moving boxes after your move doesn't mean you're moving in the most eco-friendly way. Not to mention, the process to manufacture cardboard moving boxes isn't even close to environmentally-friendly.

Manufacturing Cardboard

When cardboard is created, every step of the process produces hazardous gasses. These gasses are sent out into the air every single day. While recycling cardboard has helped to eliminate about half of these gasses, not using cardboard at all will eliminate even more.

Manufacturing companies are starting to look at the way they create cardboard to emit less of these gasses. However, they are not the only ones that have to do their part. When you move, you don't have to use cardboard boxes. You can choose green moving boxes made to be reused instead of recycled or thrown away.

Why Choose Green Moving Boxes?

When you use cardboard, you risk ending up with boxes you cannot recycle. In addition, a wet box could lead to damaged items. With green moving boxes, you don't have to worry about rain or snow, as they won't be weakened by moisture.

Green moving boxes are produced once and used hundreds, if not thousands of times before needing to be replaced. A cardboard box is only used once for moving, and then either tossed in the trash or in the recycling, which may end up in the trash, anyway.

If you want to move in an eco-friendly way, don't think that recycling your cardboard boxes is enough. While it may seem friendly to the environment, you may not be able to recycle all your boxes and your recycling may end up in a landfill, anyway.

Instead, choose green moving boxes to ensure you move in the most eco-friendly way possible. These boxes don't get recycled because they get reused. They are rigid and will better protect your belongings, along with better protecting the environment.

3 Tips to Live More Eco-Friendly After Your Move

After moving in an eco-friendly way and using Chicago green moving boxes, why not continue the trend? There is no better time than when you first move into a new house or apartment to live a more eco-friendly life.

You don't need to make massive changes to become more environmentally-friendly, either. Little changes to the things you buy and use can make a big difference, especially over time. Here are three tips to help you live a more eco-friendly life.

Conserve Energy at Every Corner

One of the best things you can do is set up practices in your new homes for energy conservation. For example, if you're not in a room, shut off the light. This may seem easy, but it's not easy if you're not in this habit.

In addition to simply turning off lights and other things you're not using, you can invest in eco-friendly devices and appliances. If you're buying a new house or remodeling the kitchen, buy the highest EnergyStar rated appliances to ensure you'll consume less energy. You can also do this with electronics and many other devices within your home.

Switching to LED light bulbs will also make a difference. LEDs last longer than a conventional bulb and they use less energy. This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to help make your home more eco-friendly.

Not only will conserving energy help you to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, but it will also help you to save money. With the right energy conservation practices, you may even see a noticeable difference in your monthly energy bills.

Recycle as much as Possible

Recycling is a great way to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle and many things can be recycled. Just about everything made of plastic can be recycled, along with batteries, paper, cars, and so many other things.

Before you decide you're going to throw something out, consider whether it can be recycled. If you live in a condo or apartment building and they don't offer recycling, find your nearest option for dropping off your recycling. You can also lobby the management staff to provide recycling, which would help to make your entire building more eco-friendly.

Along with recycling, be aware of the products you buy and what they are packaged in. Buying less plastic and less Styrofoam make a difference. When you shop, use canvas bags for your fruits and vegetables and bring reusable grocery bags.

Start Shopping Local

When you buy local, you're living a much more eco-friendly lifestyle than you might imagine. Buying local means the products were likely made and bought much closer to home, which means they didn't leave a carbon footprint to arrive in the store. Farmer's markets, local grocery stores, small businesses and artisans carrying goods they made themselves are all good options.

In addition, when you shop local, you'll be supporting the local economy.

These three tips are just the start of becoming more eco-friendly. There are several other small changes you can make in your new home to ensure you're living the most eco-friendly life possible. It started with your eco-friendly move with Chicago Green Boxes and now it can continue with your new home.

green living sign

5 Tips for Labeling Your Moving Boxes

Moving is one of the most disorganized times in anybody's life. The funny thing, it's one of the times you really need to be organized. For most people, however, this type of transitional period comes with disorganizing.

You don't have to have a disorganized moving day. With the right (green) boxes, the right packing supplies, and plenty of time to work, you can get ready to move in an organized way. One of the keys to moving organization is labeling your moving boxes. Here are five tips to help you label your moving boxes properly.

Create a System

Start by creating your labeling system. Choose a set of quality markers in different colors, specifically bright colors, if possible. Don't use an ordinary pen or something super simple when you can use a much better set of markers. Place tape over the box and write on the tape directly to not ruin the boxes!

Along with markers, you want colored tape and labels to make your life easier. You can use colored tape to help match the boxes and make them easier to spot. In addition, printable moving box labels can be used to make labeling each box easier. You can get labels for fragile boxes and more.

Color Codes Work

Assign a color to each room of the house. For example, you can use the blue marker for the MASTER BEDROOM and the red marker for the KITCHEN. Match your colored tape to the color of the marker and you'll be able to easily spot which box goes with which room when you arrive at your new home.

While you may know the color system, you need to let your movers in on the secret, too. Tape a piece of paper to the doors of your new home matching the color assigned to that room. This, along with communicating to your movers will make it really easy to deliver the boxes into the right rooms in your new home.

Create and Label an "Open First Box"

An open first box should have everything you need for the first night or two in your new home. This box should be labeled in big, bold letters as the OPEN FIRST BOX. It should be very easy to spot and if you need more than one don't be afraid to pack a couple of open first boxes. It's best if you pack these last so they are easy to get to when you arrive and they come out of the truck first.

Use Fragile on Anything Breakable

Labeling a box as fragile tells the person handling it to be careful. Don't just slap one sticker saying fragile on the top. Label the box as fragile on every single side to ensure there is no way the movers or yourself will miss the message.

Fragile Moving Box Label

Label Each Box as Soon as it's Packed

There is no better time than right after you put in the last item to label your box. If you wait, you will likely forget what's in it. Instead, you can label the box before you start packing it with the assigned color and room. Then, you can write down each item on the side of the box, as you put it in the box.

With these five tips for labeling your green moving boxes, you will be far more organized for your move. Organization during a move will help to keep the stress down and make the experience much easier.

How to Keep Your Chicago Move Eco-Friendly Beyond the Boxes

When it's time to move, you want to make sure you do it in the most eco-friendly way possible. Choosing eco-friendly boxes for moving is a start, but there are many things you can do, outside of boxes to make your move friendly for the environment. Here are a few of the ways you can make your move eco-friendly.

Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Using harmful chemicals is not a good idea. These chemicals are not good for you or whatever you're cleaning. Instead, choose eco-friendly cleaning products to leave your current home clean for the next owner and to clean your new home.

You can also use these products to clean things you need to pack. With the right eco-friendly products, you can clean everything from windows to countertops to furniture to floors.

Reuse Newspapers

Newspapers are great as a packing supply and it will save you money, along with saving the environment. If you have a stack of newspapers sitting around, use them for packing items. This is a great way to reuse something for another purpose and will keep you from buying plastic packing bubbles or Styrofoam peanuts, which are not good for the environment.

If you prefer to keep your items free of the ink from the newspaper, you can purchase packing paper made from recycled materials. Then, when you're done with it, it can be recycled again.

Hire an Efficient Moving Company

The right Chicago moving company won't waste space, gas or any other resources. They will recommend the right size truck to ensure you don't have to make multiple trips to get all your things moved. Make sure you choose a moving company using practices to help ensure the eco-footprint they leave is smaller.

Donate Anything You Don't Want

Moving is a great time to downsize your things. When you move, you can go through everything you own and get rid of things. Instead of throwing things out, however, donate them. You never know what you have that you consider junk that could be someone else's treasure.

Use Proper Planning

While planning your move may not seem like it's an eco-friendly moving practice it is. When you have a great plan, you have the ability to move without making multiple drives to different places, which uses up gas. You will also know exactly where and how to recycle any moving materials you use.

Put together a good plan from the minute you know you're going to move. This will help you to keep your eco-friendly practices in place because you've planned for them.

Along with all of these eco-friendly tips, you want to make sure you rent reusable plastic moving boxes. This is the most eco-friendly way to go as cardboard, while it can be recycled, it cannot really be reused after a move. Rent the right green moving boxes and you'll have completed your eco-friendly move in the best possible way without causing any more harm than absolutely necessary.

Child’s hands holding a house and plant - green moving solutions

How Plastic Boxes Improve the Packing Process for a Move

When you're ready to move, even if it's just across town, the right boxes make a difference. Traditional cardboard boxes collapse under too much weight, become worthless if they get wet and could be crushed. Do you really want to deal with those issues during your move?

Plastic boxes provide a better choice and they will actually improve the packing process for your move. In addition to improving the packing process, plastic boxes improve the overall moving experience. Here are some of the ways your move will be improved by using plastic boxes.

No Assembly

When you choose cardboard boxes, you have to assemble them with tape to use them. Plastic boxes come assembled and ready to be used. You don't need tape or anything else to put them together.

Delivery and Pickup Available

With cardboard boxes, you have to go find them, purchase them, pack them, move and disposed of them. Why go through that process when you can simply rent plastic moving boxes, have them delivered, and then have them picked up when you’re done with the boxes?

Stackable, Both Empty and Full

While cardboard boxes may lay flat before you assemble them, once they are assembled, they will take up quite a bit of space. They are also not as easily stackable as plastic boxes because they will slide around during the move.

With plastic boxes, you can nest them when they are empty, which means one will fit right inside the other. You won't have to worry about a bunch of assembled cardboard boxes getting in your way. Simply have one stack of plastic boxes in one area and get a new one when you're ready for it.

In addition, when you actually move, the boxes are made to sit inside the top of each other. They have a ridge in the design so they won't slide off the top during the move.

Easier to Reopen

If you pack a cardboard box and you tape it up, it's a pain to reopen it for an item you forgot to pack inside. Plastic boxes don't cause this hassle. You can easily reopen them, pack the item, and close it back up.

Avoid Moving with Unwanted Pets

Did you know that termites, beetles, silverfish, and roaches all love cardboard boxes? You could end up moving with these pests if you use cardboard. With plastic boxes, you don't have to worry because these pests won't eat plastic!

No Water Damage

Accidentally set that cardboard box in water and you'll wish you weren't moving. The box will fall apart and you may break something. At the very least, the box will need to be repacked.

With plastic boxes, you don't have to worry. They cannot be damaged by water in the way cardboard can, which helps to keep your items much safer.

When it's time to move, you want to make sure you get the right boxes. Plastic boxes will help to improve the packing process and the rest of your moving process, as well.

The Chicago Greenbox logo

How Much can You Pack in Plastic Moving Boxes?

Moving can be stressful. However, when you choose to move with plastic moving boxes, you will not have to deal with broken cardboard boxes, taping everything up, and the assembly of the boxes. You will also lose out on the worry of what will happen if a box gets wet.

Wet Moving Boxes

Plastic moving boxes certainly make it easier to move, but how many do you really need? Unlike cardboard, the sides won't really bend or expand to accommodate your items. However, this is a good thing. If you over pack a cardboard box, you could end up with a disaster on your hands.

Choosing to move with plastic boxes could make it a bit tricky to choose how many boxes you need. Typically, you can get quite a bit in one box, but you will need several for any type of move. In fact, the minimum order is 20 boxes because it's necessary to have this many boxes to move a studio apartment, in most cases.

Why a Minimum of 20 Boxes?

One of the reasons you need at least 20 plastic boxes for your move is the size. Plastic boxes aren't as large as the largest cardboard boxes for moving. However, this isn't a bad thing.

Large cardboard boxes can easily be over packed and become too heavy. This can lead to injury when moving, a broken box or another type of issues you simply don't want to deal with on moving day. With plastic boxes, there's less chance of injury and they certainly won't break.

The smaller size, however, does mean you will need more boxes. An order of 20 boxes will usually be enough for an average studio apartment. If you're moving a larger apartment, condo or home, you will need more boxes.

How Many Plastic Moving Boxes for an Apartment?

The number of plastic moving boxes you will need to move an apartment depends on the size. If you have a traditional one-bedroom apartment, you will likely be able to move all your things with 30 boxes. However, a two bedroom apartment will require 45 boxes and you will likely need 60 boxes for a three bedroom apartment.

The number could vary a bit, too. If you use the second bedroom as a home office and you have more items than a typical bedroom may hold, you may need more than 45 boxes. If you don't use the second bedroom anymore because your roommate moved out and it's just empty, you may not need as many boxes.

How Many Plastic Moving Boxes for a House?

Moving a house is a completely different ballgame compared to an apartment. Most apartments don't have the same amount of storage as a house and most won't have a garage. The number of plastic moving boxes you will need to move a house completely depends on the house.

If it's a small two-bedroom home, you may be fine with 45 moving boxes. However, if it's a large four-bedroom home, you may need 80 or more boxes. In addition, if you have a garage, basement or another storage area filled with things, you may need even more plastic moving boxes.

What's the Size of a Plastic Moving Box?

The typical plastic moving boxes will be 27 inches long with a depth of 17 inches and a height of 12 inches. This isn’t a huge box, but it's large enough to make moving easy. Any bigger and the boxes could get very heavy making it harder on you and your movers.

Consider the size of the box, along with the size of your home, apartment, or condo. Then, place your order for the right amount of boxes with a minimum of 20. It's better to order a few more than you think you need, just in case than not enough because you're trying to save a few dollars.