The unfortunate reality is, there’s no way to move without cardboard boxes. Except your furniture and appliances, everything else will have to be packed in moving boxes to be adequately protected during transportation.

You started searching for moving boxes but soon found yourself wondering just how many boxes you need to move, and where exactly can you find packing boxes? Estimating how many moving boxes you’ll need is not always an easy task. However, there are a few things you can do.

Don’t get stuck not being able to pack up your books or spend extra money on boxes you don’t need. Instead, follow this guide on how many packing boxes you need for your move and save yourself the hassle.

When you move, it’s tough to know how many boxes you’ll need. Even though there is no magic formula to tell you how many moving boxes, here are a few ways to find out the number of packing boxes for your move.

What determines how many boxes you need?

How long have you lived in your home?

People by nature tend to gather things over the years, according to some. When a family collects all of these things and don’t have to move homes, they usually don’t go through their closets for a deep physical purge. The approximate price of total packing supplies can be determined by the cubic footage of your space and the length of time you lived there.

What is your lifestyle - minimalist, average, or a hoarder?

To be clear, we aren’t discussing bare mattress floor minimalism or pizza boxes stacked to the ceiling. But everyone has a threshold for how much stuff they can take care of in their home.

Understanding the differences between box sizes

Though there may be minor differences of an inch or two, boxes generally come in four primary sizes. If you want to know how many boxes you will need to move, you should be aware of the boxes that are available. The most common sizes of packing boxes are::

Small packing boxes: 1.5 cubic feet

These little boxes can generally hold about 20 magazines or 6 wine bottles. They’re good for small, heavy items such as books or cleaning supplies. They are ideal for packing things like books, CDs and DVDs, and small appliances. You can buy small boxes on our website.

Medium packing boxes: 1.5-3 cubic feet

Use or items that take a little more room. You’ll probably need the most of these, so you may need to stock up. They can normally hold 5-15 cans and boxes of non-perishables, making them great for packing your kitchen pantry. 

Large packing boxes: 2.5-3.5 cubic feet

Big boxes are the best for moving folded clothes and shoes. Large packing boxes hold up to 12 pairs of shoes. Please don’t put too many heavy items in these boxes, as it may cause them to become too heavy to carry safely.

Extra-large packing boxes: 3.6+ cubic feet

Since they’re the biggest, it’s a good idea to use extra-large packing cases for the lightest items in order to ensure easy transportation. Awkward shaped things, like toys, should be wrapped up in blankets so they don’t get smashed. It’s easy to go overboard so try not to make them too heavy.

What types of specialty boxes are available?

Do you recall that walk-in closet in the master bathroom? There are special boxes designed just for hanging clothes. Maybe you prefer to collect books. There is a packing box for you as well! Although they cost more, it’s worthwhile to protect your clothes, books, and dishes. Here are the best-selling specialty boxes designed to make packing easier:

Book boxes: 1 cubic foot

These are small, strong boxes made just for packing books. They tend to be 12”x12” so they can hold most sized books and you don’t have to worry about over packing them.

Dish barrel boxes: 5.25 cubic feet

You can feel safe packing your dishes in these specially made boxes. Their extra-thick walls help to absorb shock and reinforce the sides, keeping your grandmother’s china safe.

Wardrobe boxes: 11-16 cubic feet

Given their elongated shape and the built-in hanging rod, wardrobe boxes are the absolute best boxes to move your hanging clothes in. They’re available in 3 different sizes, so be sure to check the boxes’ dimensions before ordering.

How many boxes do I need to move based on square footage?

Now that you know the different shapes and sizes of boxes, let’s get to the specifics. Let us begin by looking at the square footage of your house. Look up the number of boxes that your home requires based on its square footage and get recommendations on box kits.

400-700 square feet

  • 7-15 small boxes
  • 9-15 medium boxes
  • 6 large boxes
  • 3 extra-large boxes

Recommended box kit delivered by 1-Bedroom

700-1250 square feet

  • 17-23 small boxes
  • 15-22 medium boxes
  • 7-11 large boxes
  • 4-6 extra-large boxes

Recommended box kit delivered by 2-Bedroom

1200-1700 square feet

  • 32-37 small boxes
  • 25-35 medium boxes
  • 16-20 large boxes
  • 10-12 extra-large boxes

1700-2200 square feet

  • 38-42 small boxes
  • 36-47 medium boxes
  • 21-26 large boxes
  • 13-15 extra-large boxes

How many boxes do I need to move based on the amount of rooms?

As a general rule of thumb, you’re going to want about 10 small, 8 medium, and 5 large packing boxes per room. This is just an estimate, of course, since rooms can vary in size and content fairly drastically. Here’s a guide for how many boxes each room requires on average:

Kitchen: On average, American kitchens are about 160 square feet. To pack up a kitchen of this size you’ll need 2-4 small boxes, 5-6 medium boxes, 4 large boxes, 2 extra-large boxes, and 4-6 dish barrel boxes.

Recommended Kitchen Moving Kit

Living room: Unless your living room functions as a mini-library or museum, it should be quite simple to pack up. You’ll want 2-4 small boxes, 3-4 medium boxes, 2-4 large boxes, and 1-2 extra-large boxes.

Dining Room: Do you keep fine china in the dining room? Make certain they’re secured in dish barrel boxes. For the full space, you should have 1-2 small packing boxes, 1-2 medium boxes, and 2-4 dish barrel boxes.

Master Bedroom: Your master bedroom will likely require the most boxes of all the bedrooms. Be prepared with 1-3 small boxes, 5-6 medium boxes, 5-8 large boxes, and 4-6 wardrobe boxes. The size of your closet also influences how many boxes you need to relocate your bedroom, so adapt the number of boxes to fit your clothes.

All other bedrooms: These numbers vary based on whose room it is. For example, your daughter being fifteen years old is likely to have more hanging clothes than your three-year-old. Generally, you should have 1-2 small boxes, 3-5 medium boxes, 3-5 extra-large boxes, and 2-4 wardrobe boxes.

Bathroom: Depending on your bathroom, you may only need 2-3 small boxes and one medium packing box.

Also purchase cardboard boxes in case you are taking items from the basement, attic, laundry room, and garage. You don’t want to rush out for specialty boxes to carry your art and china.

How many packing boxes do I need for my home type?

As we mentioned previously, a larger home generally require more boxes and packing supplies. Ask yourself how many boxes you’ll need to move your studio? Here’s a guide to get you started and recommendations for boxes to fit each place.

Studio apartment

  • 13 small boxes
  • 9-17 medium boxes
  • 5-6 large boxes
  • 2-7 extra-large boxes

Get Eco-friendly studio box kit delivered from $93

One bedroom home

  • 15-18 small boxes
  • 18-29 medium boxes
  • 10 large boxes
  • 4-9 extra-large boxes

Get Eco-friendly 1-bedroom box kit delivered from $99

Two bedroom home

  • 35 small boxes
  • 27-38 medium boxes
  • 15 large boxes
  • 6-11 extra-large boxes

Get Eco-friendly 2-bedroom box kit delivered from $135

Three bedroom home

  • 38 small boxes
  • 36-47 medium boxes
  • 20 large boxes
  • 8-13 extra-large boxes

What packing supplies do I need to move?

Packing tape

Running out of packing tape is something you really don’t want to happen. Tape rolls are 54-110 yards long. Tape the top and bottom of every box and you’ll quickly fly through it. Buy an extra roll for every 30-60 boxes you have and always get the kind with the dispenser. Trust us, you’re gonna love it.

Paper and bubble wrap

Do you have two sets of dishes and a bar’s worth of glassware? If so, you’ll want 14 lbs of paper and 80 feet of bubble wrap to safeguard your breakables. At a minimum, we suggest purchasing 3 lbs of packing paper and 20 feet of bubble wrap.


We recommend the usage of markers for easy labeling. And they’re great for more than just moving day, so you can never have too many. For packing, though, you should have 1-4 pens handy. If, however, you are packing with friends and family, this is crucial. Tossing the marker back and forth is fun, but having your own is better.


You should make sure that every box has at least one label. We advise that two be used so you have more than one side covered when it comes time to unload. Want to get the most out of your labeling experience? Use colored labels, and choose a different one for each room. This way, you won’t have to examine each label until you’re starting to unpack each box.

Move like a pro with these packing hacks:

Downsize first

It’s easier to move when you have fewer things so donate your clothes and have a garage sale to get rid of things you don’t need. Uncover a shirt you haven’t seen in years? Chances are you won’t miss it if you pass it along to someone who will get good use out of it.

Consider donating old furniture in good condition to Gracing Spaces, a local organization in Northern Virginia that furnishes apartments for families transitioning out of homeless shelters.

Prepare early and often to pack tricky items

Moving will save you time and frustration if you pack your jewelry and fragile items correctly. When packing up the electronics, take photos of all cords (or label them with some tape) before disconnecting them, and use plastic bags to keep them safe.

Always pack a “first things first” box

Here’s how to make your first night in your new home as comfortable as possible. Make life easier for you by preparing an open first box. Put the essentials in this box to get you through the first two days in your new home. Make sure to pack all important documents including those not suitable for traveling on the moving truck.

Don’t let simple cardboard boxes complicate your life.

You’re going to need special boxes to fit certain items like mirrors and artwork.. A wardrobe box, which you would use for clothes, will hold about three feet of wearables. Get a tape measure and measure your closets before moving so you plan to have enough wardrobe boxes on moving day.

Avoid running out of boxes. That will really put you in a bind on moving day and make you have to leave some of your things behind—or pay the movers to come back.

Additionally, it is better to have more boxes with fewer contents than too many heavy boxes with too many items in each of them which can break mid-move.

Are you worried that all those cardboard boxes might get too pricey? Here, how to find moving supplies—free of charge, and the best ways to save money while moving.

Packing boxes go hand in hand with moving. This guide and a little extra effort will get you answering that question, “How many boxes do I need?” in no time. Cheers to a quick and easy move!