Looking for Free Boxes? Try the Post Office!

6-22-11: Initial release.

A few weeks ago I was at my local USA Postal Office, and I was asking them about what I would need to do to ship a gift to my friend in Canada. After learning a bit about the customs forms I would have to fill out, I then asked the post office worker what should I do about boxes.

He then told me about this flat rate program about cardboard boxes made specifically for this purpose, and he pointed me to a shelf of boxes behind me. As I looked at it, I then asked him can I take the box home ahead of time and package my materials there rather than try to do it at the post office and he said yes.

At that moment in time, I just had a revelation.  My brother told me that if he needed a free envelope for storing his school papers, he would stop by the local post office and just nab a whole bunch of expensive envelopes. He didn’t pay for them because the train of thought is you will mail it out and at the time of mailing, you will get charged for the postage (which includes the weight of the envelope).

However, if you are savvy, maybe you just take the envelopes for your own personal purpose and never mail anything out! In return, you got free envelopes! I didn’t believe it, but when I went to the post office and realized I can take home a bunch of boxes (which I could use for personal storage), I just had a great epiphany.

Say what you want. Am I cheap bastard? Perhaps. But do you want to go to the store and shell out a couple bucks to buy a big plastic bin to store your junk, or would you rather use a free cardboard box? >_>

So the next time you need a box for storage, or moving, look no further than your local USPS post office building. They have what you are looking for and you just hadn’t realized it!

Posted on June 22, 2011, in Advice, News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. For cardboard boxes, I’m pretty sure you can ask local retailers if they have extra boxes that they were going to throw out (the shipped products that are now on the shelf for purchase).

  2. If you are not using post office boxes for MAILING and SHIPPING but are using them for other purposes (moving, storage, etc), that is STEALING STEALING STEALING. Such actions will RAISE postal costs and the service will STOP giving away free boxes!!!!!!!

  3. I’ll be honest. I misused the postal boxes once. My family and I were being evicted, and I had just ordered a ton of the flat rate boxes (I have an online business and ship a lot using them).
    I, in my infinite wisdom, decided to use a few of the larger ones to pack up some things for the move. Only when I was unpacking them did I realize that you aren’t allowed to do that; and after having already used and written all over the boxes, I had no chance of ever using them again for shipping.
    So I have learned my lesson, and unknowingly cheated the post office out of a few boxes.
    From now on, I’ll just bring my stuff to the post office and ship from there.

    • Totally agree. I feel pretty bad about using boxes from the post office if not used for shipping purposes. This is not what they are meant for (other than shipping). Since then, I always ship from the post office.

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