We live most of our daily lives blissfully unaware of the cardboard boxes sitting empty in supermarkets, pharmacies, the LCBO and lining the sidewalks on garbage day. This all changes once it’s time to plan for a move. Some of us start looking for empty boxes like they’re precious heirlooms. We collect and hoard, ask store staff if they have empty boxes in the back storeroom, even get friends and family in on the act. Others prefer to play it safe and purchase quality moving boxes of varying sizes and shapes from Rent-a-Son to help get the job done.

But how many boxes for moving do you actually need? If you under-calculate and don’t have enough boxes, things could get a little tricky on moving day. Ever tried moving stuff in garbage bags instead of boxes? That’s not a good alternative. Garbage bags tear. Garbage bags don’t stack like boxes do. Garbage bags are made to hold garbage, which you precious belonging sure are not.

If you over-calculate and have too many boxes, it’s not the worst problem in the world but it’s still a problem. You can’t leave the extra empty boxes in your old home. Home sellers are typically required to leave their home in a clean, broom-swept condition, which means you’re supposed to clear out all the closets and cabinets, remove everything from the freezer and refrigerator, and remove all the garbage – which includes those suddenly-useless empty boxes. In this case, your best bet is to cart them with you on your move and once the dust settles in your new home, post them on Facebook or Kijiji and give the boxes to someone else who needs them.

In an ideal world, you’ll want to properly estimate the number of boxes you’ll need so there’s one less thing to stress over. How do you estimate how many boxes for moving? There are a few criteria you’ll need to assess before you can get a clear picture. Don’t have the time or patience to predict the number of boxes you’ll need? You can always skip the tedious act of packing and enjoy Rent-a-Son’s worry-free packing and unpacking services.

What’s your lifestyle?

Different people have different volumes of stuff. While some families live an austere lifestyle, others have their homes filled to the gills with all the latest toys and technical gadgets. If you live minimally, you’ll have fewer belongings to move and thus require fewer boxes. If you’re more of a packrat, have loads of belongings and love everything you have unashamedly, you’ll need more boxes. If you think you’re somewhere in the middle then you’ll probably be close to the number of boxes we suggest.

What type of house?

There’s a huge difference between a studio apartment and a four-bedroom house with a spacious finished basement. The number of rooms you’re moving is going to factor in big-time. Another important thing to keep in mind is whether you’re moving up and down stairs. Stairs are actually the x-factor in moving homes. It takes a lot of muscle power to continually cart boxes down the stairs, then cart them back up again at the new address. For this reason, it’s better to pack all your boxes lighter and move more boxes instead.

How many are you?

The number of people in your home is another consideration. More people, more personal belongings, more boxes; fewer people, fewer personal belongings, fewer boxes. The good news with having more people, though, it’s you’ll have more hands to help with the move!

What’s your square footage?

One person’s four-bedroom home can be different from another’s. Think about whether your home has above-average dimensions, below-average dimensions or sits somewhere in the middle. Knowing the square footage of your home will give you a more precise picture of the number of boxes and box sizes needed.

How long have you lived there?

Typically, the longer you spend in a home, the more items you’ll accumulate. This number will be less relevant if you’re an empty-nester with just the bare necessities in the vacated room(s), or if you’re a literal pro at continuously de-cluttering.

How big is a box?

Just like all the homes and condominium towers across Toronto and the GTA, boxes come in varying shapes and sizes. Rent-a-Son carries a variety of sizes to suit every need. Our sizes are as follows:

Small moving boxes: Ideal for smaller, heavier items. We recommend small moving boxes for books, tools, canned goods, toiletries and even small appliances. These high-quality boxes are sturdy and compact so they’re also ideal for delicate and fragile items; just don’t forget to order cushion wrapping for your delicate items to keep them safe during the move.

Medium moving boxes: Ideal for items that have a moderate weight and size. These boxes are also solidly built and easily accommodate home décor items, crafts, toys, office supplies, knickknacks, shoes and medium-sized kitchen appliances.

Large moving boxes: Ideal for lightweight, bulky items that require more space. You’ll want large moving boxes for all your towels, bedding, blankets, linens, pillows, curtains, stuffed animals and lampshades.

Wardrobe boxes: Specially built, sized and designed with an integrated clothes rail so you can literally move your clothes from the closet to the moving box while leaving all your clothes on hangers. These boxes are tall enough to accommodate all your garments without crushing them.

Mirror and picture moving boxes: Specially designed to protect glass and artwork so you can move all your fragile frames with ease. These boxes may look thin and slight but rest assured, they’re super sturdy for extra durability.

Number of moving boxes by rooms

To provide a rough estimate on how many boxes for moving, we suggest 10 small moving boxes, 8 medium moving boxes and 5 large moving boxes per room. Keep in mind that the number of bedrooms and the number of total rooms are different counts, as every home has a kitchen and at least one bathroom while larger homes will have a dining room, living room and a basement. You’ll also want to factor in all the intangibles listed above. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to get more moving boxes than you think you need to save you from having to scramble on moving day.

House sizeSmallMediumLargeWardrobePicture

The honest truth

By now, you’ll realize that there’s an art and science to estimating the number of boxes for moving. Save yourself the time running all around town collecting used boxes and consult with us to provide an educated estimate on the number of sturdy, moving-quality boxes you’ll need. Better yet, leave the inconvenience of packing and unpacking to us. Your move with go smoother and you’ll be new-home happier.