All About Moving Boxes


Moving boxes are corrugated boxes or cardboard boxes of standard shapes and sizes that movers have found to be convenient.

We’ll describe about 10 different sizes of moving boxes. Other moving box sizes exist, but they are less common.

Moving boxes are generally the same weight and quality as ordinary shipping boxes. They sell at somewhat lower prices because the sizes are widely used — not because they are of inferior quality.


For the most part, choose small moving boxes. We feel it’s important to choose moving boxes that can be packed light enough to avoid back strains. Even if you intend to have professional movers handle the boxes, you’ll generally need to carry the boxes from where you packed them to a staging area.

Many stores offer over runs and misprinted boxes for use as moving boxes. Some of these boxes are good deals, but be careful not to buy boxes larger than the moving boxes described below. In fact, for ease of handling, we’d recommend not using boxes significantly different in shape from the first three moving box sizes described below.

The Most Important Ones

Small Box or Book Box or 1.5 cubic foot moving box — 16 x 12½ x 12½ Box is rated to safely carry 65#

The handiest size of all. This box was intended for holding books but it works well for all sorts of small fragile items like dishes and ceramics. Use it for general packing. Use this one for packing heavy garage items.

Medium Box or 3.0 cubic foot moving box — 18 x 18 x 16 Box is rated to safely carry 65#

A good, general purpose packing box. Use it for clothing or for large pots and for larger kitchen appliances. Use it whenever the 1.5 is too small.

Large Box or 4.5 cubic foot moving box — 18 x 18 x 24 Box is rated to safely carry 65#

Used for blankets, larger pots, board games and table lamps. Be careful! This one will get too heavy (about 70 pounds) if packed full of clothing.

The Big and Bulky Ones

Do not use these boxes for packing clothing. They will weigh 90 pounds full of clothing.

Extra Large Cube or 6.0 cubic foot moving box — 22 x 22 x 21 ½

This size is intended for pillows, cushions, stuffed toys and comforters.

Dish Packs

These are heavy duty doublewall boxes.

Dish Pack or 5 cubic foot — 18 x 18 x 27

This is a strong, large box with a very convenient shape. Works great for packing expensive lamps and statuary. Widely used for packing dishes, but it gets quite heavy. A great box for shipping clothing. –will weigh about 70 pounds. The size is OK for the post office, but may be too heavy. Will ship UPS and FedEx.

Hanging Wardrobe Boxes

These boxes resemble clothes closets. A metal hanger bar across the top permits hanging clothing in the box the same as in a closet. They’re great time savers, but they use a lot of space. (A few local San Diego movers lend these things out to their customers during a move. Check this with your mover before buying.)

Small Wardrobe Box — 20 x 20 x 45

There is a 20 inch long hanger bar across the top of this box. There are hand holds on the side. It is intended for hanging clothing, but you can think of it as a strong, large box for packing large, bulky items. Works great for packing large lamps and statuary. Will ship UPS and FedEx, but not post office.

Large Wardrobe box — 24 x 20 x 47 3/4

Same as a small wardrobe except the hanger bar is 4 inches longer. Too big to ship either post office or UPS. Ships FedEx.

Lay Down Wardrobe or Flat Wardrobe Boxes

Lay Down Wardrobe Box — 32 x 19 7/8 x 9

This box is about the proportion of a large dresser drawer, permits clothing to be folded with a minimum of wrinkling. It’s slow and tedious to pack, but it will save space. It will ship UPS and FedEx.

Mattress Boxes

We have 6 sizes of mattress boxes available. Enough to pack all sizes of mattresses. Mattress boxes tend to be a bit expensive. Many people use plastic mattress bags, instead. Plastic bags provide less protection but cost about 1/3 as much.

  • Crib
  • Single/Twin
  • Double/Full
  • King/Queen Combo
  • Extra Thick King/Queen Combo
  • King/Queen Pillowtop

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