Cardboard Boxes or Plastic Bins – Which Should You Use for Your Move?

When it comes to moving supplies, the first thing that pops into people’s minds is probably cardboard boxes. However, just because it’s the most common solution for moving doesn’t make it the best. In fact, depending on how much you have to move, the types of items you are moving, and any unique moving requirements, you might want to consider plastic moving bins instead.

So when should you choose cardboard boxes over plastic moving boxes and vice versa? Read on below. Regardless of which one you choose, most professional NYC movers (like us) can supply you with either option.

Plastic Bins - Movers Plastic Bins

Plastic Moving Bins

While not as popular as cardboard boxes, plastic moving containers are seeing a surge in popularity for a variety of reasons. It’s most popular for office moves, but more people are using them for standard residential moves. Plastic Moving Boxes provide several benefits over cardboard boxes:

  • Eco-friendly – if you purchase plastic bins yourself for a move, you can easily repurpose them into storage containers for your new home. You can also rent plastic moving bins from your local movers, which you will then return after you have finished unpacking. Since the lifespan of plastic bins is almost infinite, you can reuse them however many times you want without any degradation.
  • Durable – As a material, plastic is much more durable than cardboard. The tough exterior protects the packed items from any physical or weather-related damage.
  • Stackable – If you’re using plastic bins you already have, you might not be able to stack them on top of each due to the lips and handles on the lids. However, the plastic moving boxes you rent from a moving company are specifically designed to stack easily.
  • Waterproof – Moving during inclement weather is never fun, but it’s made even worse when you have to worry about your cardboard boxes getting soggy from the rain or snow. So long as you remember to close the lid properly on your plastic boxes, no moisture or dust will get inside.
  • Faster packing – With plastic bins, all you need to do is close the lid once you’re done packing. No more fiddling with tape or putting together boxes. It might not seem like a lot, but it can save you time in the long run.

Of course, there are some downsides to plastic bins. The biggest is the cost. Unlike cardboard boxes that you likely have lying around, you will need to buy or rent plastic moving bins. This can cost quite a bit of money upfront. Still, if you buy the bins and plan to use them for other purposes, the cost will decrease over the years. It can be quite a sticker shock initially, especially if you have a lot of things to move! If you rent the plastic moving pins, you will have to return them back to the moving company by a certain date. Make sure you don’t miss the deadline as you’ll have to pay for each extra day you have it!

Cardboard Boxes

Plastic bins might have a few big advantages over cardboard boxes, but they still remain the popular moving choice for many reasons. So what are some reasons why people might choose cardboard boxes for moving?

  • Easy to Find – you probably have a stack of cardboard boxes in your home right now! With online shopping becoming the most popular way to shop, cardboard boxes supplies have only grown over the years. Even if you don’t have any, you can easily find some by asking friends, family, or even local businesses for boxes. Chances are they have a lot just lying around. If that fails, you can always ask your movers for supplies.
  • Space Efficient – Cardboard boxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes making them perfect for storing and packing a variety of items. And once you’ve unpacked, you can easily collapse the boxes and store them anywhere in your house.
  • More sizes – In almost every place they are sold, cardboard boxes come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. Their actual dimensions are nearly universal across all moving boxes so you can find them almost anywhere!
  • Affordable – Compared to buying plastic moving bins, buying cardboard boxes is significantly cheaper. Heck, you technically don’t even have to buy cardboard boxes as you can often find them for free online or through friends and family.
  • Recyclable – Once you’re done with your cardboard boxes you can easily break the boxes down and put them with your recycling. Or, if you’re the creative type, you can transform your old boxes into planters, decorations, and other fun items.

If you plan on moving a lot of stuff from your old home to your new one, cardboard boxes are hard to beat as they are affordable and easy to find. Sure, they might have a short lifespan and require extra materials for packing and unpacking. However, they’re still a great value and a perfect option if you plan on packing yourself.

Plastic Bins - Movers Plastic Bins

Packing Your Belongings

Regardless of whether you’re using plastic or cardboard you should follow the same packing strategies to keep your items safe from harm. So make sure to:

  • Use packing paper to wrap and secure fragile and delicate items
  • Avoid overpacking
  • Label boxes so you know what you’re unpacking when you get to your new home
  • Keep important documents and items on your person
  • Pack items such as toiletries, pajamas, etc. in a separate bookbag so you don’t have to dig through all your boxes when you arrive at your new place


Ready to move? We can help you decide whether to use cardboard boxes or plastic moving bins. Regardless of which one you choose, we can supply them for you! We offer a plastic bin rental service where we will supply you with clean and sanitized bins before your move. You can also purchase cardboard boxes and other moving supplies directly from us. If you don’t have any time to pack, we also offer a full service packing service where we will take the entire packing and moving process of your hands.