What to do with Your Self-Storage Supplies After Use

If you’ve recently moved homes or out of a self-storage facility, and unpacked your belongings into their final destination, then you may very well have a significant pile of empty cardboard boxes and other moving supplies. So, what do you do with all this excess now?

At Real Storage, we do our best to look after every one of your self-storage needs, and so we’ve taken some time to provide you with solutions to aid your issue of excess packing supplies. Take a look here at our list of tips and ideas for making good use of your cardboard boxes after completing a move.

Flatten and organize

The first thing you should do is break down your boxes and get them into piles. Set up a station on a table top with a boxcutter. If you’ve used a lot of paper for wrapping your items inside boxes, then you will want to try to keep that paper as well: keep a few larger-sized boxes (still made-up) to the side, and slowly fill those with your crushed paper.

Go through each box, one by one, cutting the tape on either end so that it can be broken down into its original, flat form. Boxes that are in good condition, leave to one side for keeping; those in bad shape, pile on the other side.

We suggest leaning the piles against walls, rather than lying them on the floor, as leaning against the wall will take up less space and not leave a tripping hazard.

Storing the good boxes

Again, you will likely want to store your boxes leaning against a wall. Finding a dry place that is out of the way is the best solution. Basements, garages, attics – these are all good places to store boxes. Try to avoid places that may get extremely hot or cold, as drastic fluctuations in temperature can warp and destroy the cardboard.

Disposing of old boxes

With the good boxes stored safely out of the way for future use, you now will want to get rid of the boxes whose life is no longer capable of protecting contents properly. Recycling these boxes is the best strategy, of course, but know that tape cannot be recycled, so you will want to remove any tape from the boxes before recycling them.

Depending on the size of your move and how many boxes you need to dispose of, you may need to wait a few trips from the recycling truck before it is able to process all of your boxes. In the meantime, leaving the pile leaning against a wall in your garage or a spot near your recycling that is also out of the way is your best solution.

If this is going to take too long for you, then your next best bet is locating your local recycling plant, and bringing them there yourself to get rid of them immediately.

Repurposing the cardboard

Another option for getting rid of your boxes is to repurpose them for storage containers in the house, garage, or self-storage unit. They may be old and not in good enough shape to be used for a proper move, but they may be in good enough shape to house a few items that are not going to be moved but could use some organization. A box in your garage full of basketballs, soccer balls, tennis balls, hockey balls, and every sort of ball is a good example. An extra few conduits could go a long way to helping you declutter some spaces like these.

If extra storage space is your answer here, then be aware that the cardboard can be damaged if it sits anywhere damp or with a lot of temperature fluctuations, so avoid those types of spaces.

Alternatively, you could turn the cardboard into materials for art projects, especially if you have children. While the box itself may not be useable, pieces of the cardboard may still be in great shape – good enough for creating finger puppets, masks, swords and shields, drop-boxes for toys or a whole host of other creative projects (see this article for creative cardboard ideas).

Another option is to use the cardboard in the garden. Cardboard is actually good for compost, so if you compost, you can include old cardboard here. We suggest breaking it down into smaller chunks of cardboard before depositing it in your compost pile, so that it breaks down quicker. Cardboard has other possible uses in the garden: it can work as mulch for controlling weeds, or to line garden beds as well.

What not to do

Of course, one thing that you should definitely not do to get rid of your cardboard boxes is burn them in the fireplace or outdoor firepit. Cardboard is coated with chemical compounds, there to keep the cardboard sturdy and increase its durability, but these are hazardous chemicals that should not be set on fire. Burning the cardboard is certainly bad for the environment, and something that we should not do.

Food and grease will contaminate the cardboard, making it useless for recycling, so do not include carboard boxes that have been soiled by food in your recycling pile, and attempt not to soil boxes in this way.

At Real Storage, we sell every type of box and packing supply for your move: take a look at our online supply shop here. We work to make your stay with us as easy as possible, and we are happy to help even after your time with us.

If you have any questions or concerns about your moving supplies, or anything to do with self-storage, speak with your Real Storage agent today.