Camelot Moving and Storage located in Santa Clarita, CA offers local and long-distance moves, commercial relocations, and local storage

How Many Boxes Will I Need?

How Many Boxes Will I Need?


With all the hassles of moving, you don’t want to add to your time crunch another 10-15 trips to a box store. But, how can you possibly know how many containers you’re going to need before you’ve started packing? Well, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Just check out the starter guide below.



First of all, the earlier you assess and amass supplies, the better prepared you’ll be. There’s no reason to wait until the week you move to set up your packing station. (Mover tip: Avoid packing fatigue and unnecessary time off work by beginning 6 weeks before moving day, packing 2-3 boxes a day.)


  • Packing Tape
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Padding
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Marking Pens

Some of these items (padding, bubble wrap) can even be obtained for free, if you’re okay with re-using boxes. Check bins behind department stores, dollar stores, and shoe stores, since such businesses receive items that are wrapped when shipped from manufacturers. Tissue, foam, padding and bubble wrap are often tossed in the trash/recycling bins behind the building.

Start acquiring boxes of various sizes for free also. Some of the best are those with lids, such as boxes from printing stores, like Staples or OfficeMax. Check Craigslist, classified ads, bookstores,, Facebook, and U-Haul Exchange. You will still have to purchase some, most likely, but you can cut your costs by collecting boxes from stores over time. (Mover tip: If you are planning on hiring professional movers, when booking your move inquire if the company offers used boxes at a discounted rate or for free to clients.)



Not only are there 3-4 basic sizes of cardboard moving boxes, there are specialty containers as well. Unlike previous generations, when your belongings had better fit into the number of trunks you owned, we have resources like heavy-duty wardrobe boxes, bike boxes, and nicely divided china/dish containers. There are even crates for grandfather clocks. Here are types you will likely need: (Note: Not all box sizes are identical—these are approximations.)


Small Moving Box (a.k.a. Book Box)

Approx. 16-3/8” x 12-5/8” x 12-5/8”

Approx. 1.5 cubic feet

Mostly used for books, music/media, canned goods, tools


Medium Moving Box

Approx. 18” x 18” x 16”

Approx. 3 cubic feet

Ideal for moving small items, appliances, toys

It has handles for heavy lifting


Large Moving Box

Approx. 18” x 18” x 24”

Approx. 4.5 cubic feet

Lightweight, large or bulky items such as clothing, electronics, lampshades


Extra Large Moving Box

Approx. 24” x 18” x 24”

Approx. 6 cubic feet

Lighter and larger bulky items such as towels, linens, pillows


Dishpack (or Dish Barrel) Containers: Safe and multi-layered in construction. Used to pack breakables, including china, crystal and kitchenware, as they have a thicker, more protective exterior wall.


Mattress Carton: These come in all sizes: crib, twin, double, queen and king sized boxes. (Mover tip: Some clients use old sheets to cover mattresses on moving day. While this isn’t a failsafe way to keep your mattress from getting dirty or torn, it does save money.)


Mirror Carton: Carries mirrors and artwork too.


Wardrobe Boxes and Cartons: Like portable closets, these accommodate hanging clothes and keep them from getting wrinkled in transport. (Mover tip: Movers highly recommend wardrobe boxes for safe moving of clothing from closets, but many clients prefer to enclose clothing in unused trash bags for transport.)


Total the Number You Need

Of course, there are factors that go into figuring out exactly how many boxes you’ll need. The size of your family, whether or not you’re a “collector” or a “tosser,” and whether you have a home business or you’ve accrued excess belongings for another reason are all circumstances that affect the size of your move. That being said, here are some suggested numbers of containers to get you started, using averages:


  • 1-bedroom, 1-bath/studio: 15 small boxes + 10 medium boxes + 5 large boxes + 6-8 wardrobes + mattress container + 3 dish barrel boxes
  • 2-3 rooms: 25 small boxes + 20 medium boxes + 15 large boxes + 5 dish barrel boxes + 8 wardrobes
  • 4 bedrooms: 70 small boxes + 50 medium boxes + 40 large boxes + 15 dish barrel boxes + 16-20 wardrobes


Which boxes go where?

There are a few “givens” that you can begin with. For instance, you can buy a mattress box and at least one wardrobe box for every bedroom. And the dish pack boxes go both in the kitchen and wherever you house your fine china. Also, book boxes can be stationed next to each bookcase. As for art/mirror boxes, only you can determine how many of those you need.

Check the return policy at the store where you purchase boxes. Many of them offer full refunds for unused boxes. That way, you can buy more than you need and return the ones you don’t use.

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *


Camelot Moving & Storage
28040 Industry Drive, Valencia, CA, 91355
Phone: (661) 255-3112
Powered by Santa Clarita Web Consultants