Remember the debate about paper and plastic in terms of grocery bags?

The debate rages on in storage and moving with paper actually being cardboard and plastic being plastic totes. Which one is better for moving and storage? Here are some facts and factors that should help you decide which is better for you personally. Like grocery bags, the rights answer is not necessarily universal.


When moving or storing their homes, most people are generally looking for the most economical way to do it. And that can often mean using cardboard boxes to store their things.
When preparing for a move you can:
Buy boxes inexpensively at many home stores or even Wal-Mart.
Collect sturdy boxes from various businesses. Art supply stores often have odd shaped boxes for packing artwork and liquo0r stores usually have sturdy boxes for packing heavy items or dishware.
Check Craigslist. Many times other people who have moved recently are re4ady to pass on their boxes.

Free or nearly free sources for plastic totes are less common, so plastic can be a more expensive option. It’s also harder to find plastic packaging for oddly shaped things or your flat screen television.

Durability and Protection

While expense is a good thing to consider when moving, another important consideration is the durability of your packing container and the protection it offers the things inside.

Heavy duty cardboard is good for all but the heaviest of your personal items when moving, but it also required you or your movers to be vigilant when packing the moving truck. Stacking a heavy box of books on top of a box of breakables can have heartbreaking consequences. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t also be careful with plastic totes, but a heavy tote is less likely to crush the tote underneath it that a heavy box is.

Where your items willbe stored during transit to your new home or storage facility is also an important consideration. If your stuff is going to be left on a moving truck for any length of time or in a drive-up storage unit, plastic may be a better consideration because it also deters insects and rodents and prevents some potential dampness issues. Cardboard acts like a sponge and soaks up condensation when there are temperature fluctuations in your storage area. If you are storing things just long enough to move, it should be okay, but if you are storing long term, it could lead to mildew on the things inside the box.

Environmental Issues

Both many cardboard boxes and most plastic totes are made primarily from recycled materials which can ease some of your environmental concerns about choosing one over the other.

Both are also fairly easy to recycle again in most parts of the country. In fact, you may find that your totes are used as garage storage or attic storage in your new home.

Final Answer?

Whether you choose to use cardboard boxes or plastic totes for moving is purely personal decision, but there are a lot of factors to consider. Don’t make your decision based on price alone or you may regret it.