When it's time to move, there are so many decisions that you have to make. Pick the right type of storage container for you and your family's needs.When it's time to move, there are so many decisions that you have to make. Pick the right type of storage container for you and your family's needs.Moving Tips

Better for Moving Boxes or Plastic Containers

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When it's time to move, there are so many decisions that you have to make. How do you make your moving experience the most efficient and streamlined? Your packing materials matter, especially when you need to bring all your items to a new location in one piece. While larger items can be wrapped with blankets and plastic, smaller items should be protected in boxes or plastic containers.

Which type of container is best for moving — cardboard boxes or plastic containers? This guide will discuss the benefits of both materials like cost, size, and durability. Also, how can you repurpose these items after the move to be the most environmentally conscious? This information will help you decide which material is right for you.

Cardboard Boxes Pros and Cons

The cardboard box is one of the most classic moving containers. It offers many benefits and can even save you money if you gather enough free ones in advance. However, there are some drawbacks if you do not choose your cardboard boxes carefully. Here is the general rundown of a cardboard box’s benefits and drawbacks.

The pros of cardboard boxes

  • Can be obtained for free from local businesses. If you have connections with people in the restaurant or retail industries, you can always have a fresh supply of free boxes.
  • Come in a variety of sizes and shapes to accommodate different storage needs.
  • When fortified with the correct tape, boxes are strong enough to last in the moving truck and long-term storage.
  • Are biodegradable and recyclable, which are both good for the environment.

The cons of cardboard boxes

  • The availability of free boxes can be inconsistent, making it potentially inconvenient to collect “free” moving boxes over a set time.
  • Free boxes can be damaged with oil or water which can affect their durability.
  • Buying cardboard box sets can cost around $2 a box, which adds up when you need a lot.
  • When not assembled or sealed properly, cardboard boxes can open at the bottom and cause their contents to fall.
  • When cardboard comes into contact with water, it gets soggy and loses its durability. This can make moving during inclement weather difficult.
  • Any leaks or water damage that happens during a move can permeate a cardboard box and cause moisture damage to its contents.

Plastic Containers Pros and Cons

Plastic containers are highly versatile items that will help you on your moving journey. Many movers find them to be convenient and reliable in both local and cross-country transitions. Here are the main pros and cons of this container type.

The pros of plastic containers

  • Are extremely durable and can protect its contents from impacts, water damage, and pests.
  • Collapsible plastic storage boxes are available to those who are space-conscious.
  • They come in different colors and can be reused in storage units and homes as an aesthetic place to keep seasonal belongings.
  • Can be repurposed after the move to be more eco-friendly.
  • Plastic doesn’t lose its form when it comes into contact with water.
  • There is no risk of its contents getting water damage in transit since plastic doesn’t let in water.
  • Plastic boxes don’t need to be folded at the bottom, so there is no risk of the container opening from the bottom and spilling its contents.
  • Plastic boxes come in different sizes to suit your storage needs.

The cons of plastic containers

  • Plastic containers have a significantly larger upfront cost that can be prohibitive to movers on a budget. For instance, a set of 3 sturdy plastic bins can cost around $70 on Amazon. A single collapsible box costs $20.
  • Most plastic containers cannot be folded or collapsed, so they take up a lot of space after the move.
  • Plastic takes up to 450 years to decompose, so any discarded containers will sit in a landfill for over four centuries. This is bad for the environment and not a good choice for anyone who wants to be eco-friendly.

Repurposing Boxes and Plastic Containers After the Move

Whether you choose cardboard boxes or plastic containers, both materials can be repurposed in eco-friendly ways. Both can be used in environmentally-conscious ways with just a little creativity.

Plastic Bins:

  • Can be used as temporary nightstands and tables when you need some kind of makeshift furniture after the move.
  • Can be turned into a kid’s toy chest or shoe bin for easy cleanup and retrieval.
  • Can be used to store seasonal items like holiday decorations, clothing, sporting equipment, and more. Its waterproof nature makes it an ultra-durable choice for long-term storage.

Cardboard Boxes:

  • Can be recycled to be used again without creating more waste.
  • Can be repurposed into another storage box for odds and ends around the home. It’s especially good for protecting dishes and other items that aren’t sensitive to moisture.
  • Can be used as a temporary toy bin for kids or any type of makeshift furniture until your regular furniture arrives.

Which is more environmentally friendly: cardboard or plastic?

Overall, cardboard boxes are more environmentally friendly than plastic since it is more biodegradable and can be recycled easily. However, you can use plastic bins responsibly by repurposing them in your home and using them to store items in a secure spot for years.

Also, if you need to store items in a long-term storage rental unit, then plastic bins are a better choice than cardboard. They are waterproof, are stackable, and can protect your items from pests. You may also reuse cardboard boxes in any long-term storage solution as long as you can protect your items from water damage. Either way, just make sure that you find a new way to use your storage containers so that they stay out of the landfill.

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Storage Rentals of America is your convenient self-storage solution. So come into our office or give our storage experts a call at 1-800-457-5678. Our call center is available 7 days a week and can help determine which storage unit size best fits your storage needs.

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