Is it better to move with boxes or totes?
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Is it better to move with totes or boxes?

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Asked by Chad

December 23, 2020 under Others

Is it better if I move with boxes or with plastic totes?


Answered by Staff Writer

July 9, 2021

Should you move your belongings in plastic totes or moving boxes? It's an important question, especially for a long-distance move. While both work just fine when it comes to carrying things around, you might want to consider what keeps your belongings safe over the long haul. Read on to find out what is best for the move - plastic totes or cardboard boxes.

Totes versus cardboard boxes

Plastic totes: Plastic containers are a great option for home storage. Whether it’s your Christmas decorations or any seasonal items, you can use these to store belongings all year round. These also come with handles so they are easy to carry and you can stack several units of the same size thereby ensuring optimum use of space.

Cardboard boxes: Cardboard boxes come in a variety of sizes and can be carried around with ease. They can absorb heavy weights and keep the load tight. You can also stack boxes of similar size much like plastic containers.

Now that we have discussed the utility of both options, let’s compare and understand whether it’s better to move with plastic totes or cardboard boxes. Here are some aspects you need to consider when making a choice:

  1. Durability- When it comes to transporting items, you need to choose a container that keeps your belongings safe. While both totes and boxes are durable for long term, boxes have a greater chance of not cracking and crumbling during transit. Besides, boxes meant for moving are made of corrugated fiberboard that protects the items packed inside.
    1. When it comes to shipping, totes may break easily over a long haul especially when they are stacked on top of each other, packed inside a moving truck. Totes have angled sides and are narrower at the bottom so, the weight is not distributed evenly throughout the stack, which may result in some pieces sliding around and cracking during transit. Although you may buy heavy-duty totes that are readily available in the market, they are way costlier than cardboard boxes.
  2. Nature of items: The kind of items you are moving also determines what’s best for your move. For example, if the items can be easily infected by mold, cardboard boxes are not a safe option. Even a little amount of moisture or infestation will damage your boxes as well as the things packed inside them.
    1. Besides, if you are moving something heavy and fragile, the boxes (if not seal packed properly) may fall apart. When it comes to containers, you can get a china barrel with double-wall construction and reinforced corners that will protect fragile items like dishes.

  3. Size: A great advantage with cardboard boxes is that these come in a variety of sizes so you have a definite size for each kind of item that you are moving. You have bigger boxes to move appliances and smaller ones to move books. When it comes to totes, you can only keep a limited number of items inside them.
  4. Space: If the moving company is charging you for space occupied in the moving truck, you may want to choose cardboard boxes. Since cardboard boxes can be stacked evenly, you’ll be able to make an optimum use of space. Plastic totes will take too much space. They are bulkier and cannot be stacked evenly.
  5. Eco-friendly: Since it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure less wastage, you might want to think about the nature of the material you are using for your move. While cardboard boxes can be recycled easily, plastic totes take years to decompose completely. So, if you prefer an eco-friendly method for your move, you might want to avoid the use of plastic totes or keep it minimum.
  6. Cost: Cost is a major factor when deciding between totes and boxes for a move. If you already have totes at home, you can use them for the move. However, if you are going to buy the supplies and packing material, it’s best to buy cardboard boxes. You can even get the moving boxes for free at local grocery stores or the moving company may rent them to you till the move.

What to choose: Plastic totes or Cardboard boxes?

Now that we have mentioned all the aspects of the move that will help you choose between totes and boxes, it's safe to conclude that both have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. So, you must choose what best suits the situation. If it’s a long-distance move and you have a lot of stuff to move, use cardboard boxes. On the contrary, if you are planning for storage or it’s a local move, and you already have totes, you’re good to go.

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